Patients with mild or occasional acne may be able to treat themselves without the use of prescription medication. Such remedies may include an alteration in diet and exercise habits, regular cleansing to remove residue and buildup on the skin, choosing the right cosmetics, and eliminating stress. But for some individuals, this simply isn’t enough. For those who suffer from moderate to severe acne, a stronger medication may be needed in order for that individual to find relief from their condition.
There are several types of medication that are commonly used to treat acne, each of which may contain the potential for certain side effects. As is the case with most over-the-counter acne medication, prescription medicines are usually available as gels, creams, lotions, or solutions. In determining which is the best choice for the patient, a physician will study the skin type, severity of acne, and the patient’s likelihood of having a negative reaction to any medication. Once a prescription is written, the physician will explain how often to use the medicine and how to properly apply it to the skin.
As mentioned previously, it is not uncommon for individuals to have a reaction to strong acne medication. For some, it is only temporary, but others may require a change in their prescription. The most widely seen reaction is that of the skin condition actually worsening. Many physicians agree that most medications will cause the skin to worsen before it actually improves, which may take 6-8 weeks of using a medication. However, additional side effects may include extreme redness, burning, stinging, peeling, soreness, scaling, or discoloration of the skin. If individuals notice these side effects becoming increasingly worse or if they do not go away after a specified period of use, which should be indicated by a physician, the medication may need to be changed.
Individuals who take oral medications for the treatment of acne may face an entirely different set of potential side effects, including an upset stomach, dizziness, and skin discoloration. Certain types of medication can be dangerous to women who are pregnant or children under a certain age, so individuals should report any possible conditions to their physician prior to accepting a prescription.
As with any medication, there are often risks and benefits of its use. The best way to learn of these is to speak with a physician, ask about any potential side effects, and completely disclose your current medical condition and any medications that you are currently taking. In some instances, medications may negatively react with one another and this can be very dangerous to the patient. Acne medicine is no different and the patient should have a complete understanding of how it operates before using it.
The information in this article is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be considered as or used in place of, medical advice or professional recommendations for the cause, diagnosis, or treatment of acne. If necessary, individuals should consult a medical doctor or dermatologist for information regarding the use of acne medication or other effective treatment methods.