Any effective treatment of acne needs to reduce the underlying causes of acne. The main methods of treatments are focused on the following: normalizing shedding and sebum production into your pores to prevent blockage, killing bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes), reducing inflammation and balancing your hormones.
Topical Agents – are used to dry your skin and also provide anti-bacterial activity. Benzoyl Peroxide is a very effective topical agent for these reasons.
Antibiotics – oral antibiotics can be effective for killing the pathogenic bacteria that contribute to the inflammatory components of acne. Commonly prescribed antibiotics include doxycycline, tetracycline, erythromycin and Clindamycin. Some antibiotics can also be used topically and may have similar benefits without the “side effects” of oral antibiotics.
Exfoliative Therapies – a properly chosen and administered peel can help exfoliate the keratinized debris that can clog your pores leading to blackheads and whiteheads.
Extraction Procedures – extraction techniques performed by a skilled and experienced skin care specialist (esthetician) provides benefits by helping to unblock your pores from blackheads and whiteheads and removing pus from lesions. Extraction must be performed gently and carefully to avoid damaging your epidermis (skin) and producing scarring. Extractions are carried out after your skin has been properly cleansed and appropriate measures are taken to open up your pores (like gentle steaming). After your extraction, cooling therapies (like ice), or a soothing mask can be beneficial.
Nutritional Therapies – proper nutrition is probably the most confused and conflicted subject that you will ever come across and proper nutrition regarding acne is no exception. You have probably heard that chocolate causes acne and you have probably heard the exact opposite, that chocolate does not cause acne. If you want to have healthy skin you must have a healthy diet. This means you should avoid sugars (and other sweets including chocolate), vegetable oils (like corn, soy and canola oil) which cause inflammation and can distort hormone levels, foods that contain proinflammatory additives like nitrates, nitrites, aspartame, sucralose, msg and others.
Metabolic Therapies – If you suffer from hormonal or other metabolic imbalances like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) you will be fighting a losing battle against acne unless you can get your hormones under control. Many doctors will prescribe birth control pills or diabetes medications in an attempt to treat these types of hormonal imbalances. While these pharmaceutical treatments may offer temporary relief, in the long term, your imbalances are still there (just being covered up) and eventually will lead to some sort of health issue. The best metabolic therapy (in fact, the best treatment for any disease state) is to indentify and fix what is wrong. This requires an experienced and knowledgeable metabolic practitioner.
Vitamin A analogs (Retinoids) – these drugs are often prescribed by dermatologists for severe cases of acne. These drugs possess anti-inflammatory properties and may be useful in reducing excessive keratin production. However, retinoids must be used with extreme caution as they have many severe “side effects”.