Acne is a long-term skin condition that occurs when the sebaceous glands (oil-bearing glands) in the skin, due to reasons such as hormonal changes, start producing more sebum (oil), or gets clogged due to the accumulation of dead skin cells and oil.
The areas most affected in the body by acne are the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms.
The different types of acne are blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts.
If you’ve tried over-the-counter (nonprescription) acne products for several weeks and they haven’t helped, your doctor can prescribe stronger medications. A dermatologist can help you:
- Control your acne
- Avoid scarring or other damage to your skin
- Make scars less noticeable
Acne medications work by reducing oil production, speeding up skin cell turnover, fighting bacterial infection or reducing inflammation — which helps prevent scarring. With most prescription acne drugs, you may not see results for four to eight weeks, and your skin may get worse before it gets better. It can take many months or years for your acne to clear up completely.
The treatment regimen your doctor recommends depends on your age, the type and severity of your acne, and what you are willing to commit to. For example, you may need to wash and apply medications to the affected skin twice a day for several weeks. Often topical medications and drugs you take by mouth (oral medication) are used in combination. Pregnant women will not be able to use oral prescription medications for acne.
Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of medications and other treatments you are considering.