Posts Tagged ‘scars’

Modern Acne Treatments

Written by Author on . Posted in Acne

Anti-acne drugs are medicines that help clear up pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and more severe forms of acne.

Benzoyl peroxide is found in many over-the-counter acne products that are applied to the skin, such as Benoxyl, Clear By Design, Neutrogena Acne, PanOxyl, and some formulations of Clean & Clear, Clearasil, and Oxy. Some benzoyl peroxide products are available without a physician’s prescription; others require a prescription. Tretinoin (Retin-A) is available only with a physician’s prescription and comes in liquid, cream, and gel forms, which are applied to the skin. Isotretinoin (Accutane), which is taken by mouth in capsule form, is available only with a physician’s prescription. Only physicians who have experience in diagnosing and treating severe acne, such as dermatologists, should prescribe isotretinoin.

Acne is a skin disorder that leads to an outbreak of lesions called pimples or “zits.” The most common form of the disease in adolescents is called acne vulgaris. Antiacne drugs are the medicines that help clear up the pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and more severe forms of lesions that occur when a teen has acne.
Different types of antiacne drugs are used for different treatment purposes, depending on the severity of the condition. For example, lotions, soaps, gels, and creams containing substances called benzoyl peroxide or tretinoin may be used to clear up mild to moderately severe acne. Isotretinoin (Accutane) is an oral drug that is prescribed only for very severe, disfiguring acne.

Acne is caused by the overproduction of sebum during puberty when high levels of the male hormone androgen cause excess sebum to form. Sebum is an oily substance that forms in glands just under the surface of the skin called sebaceous glands. Sebum normally flows out hair follicles onto the skin to act as a natural skin moisturizer. The glands are connected to hair follicles that allow the sebum, or oil, to empty onto the skin through a pore.

Sometimes the sebum combines with dead, sticky skin cells and bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) that normally live on the skin. The mixture of oil and cells allows the bacteria to grow in the follicles. When this happens, a hard plug called a comedo can form. A comedo is an enlarged hair follicle. It can appear on the skin as a blackhead, which is a comedo that reaches the skin’s surface and looks black, or as a whitehead, which is a comedo that is sealed by keratin, the fibrous protein produced by the skin cells and looks like a white bump.

In addition, pimples can form on the skin. Types of pimples include:
• papules, which are small, red bumps that may be tender to touch
• pustules, which are pus-filled lesions that are often red at the base
• nodules, which are large, painful lesions deep in the skin
• cysts, which are painful pus-filled lesions deep in the skin that can cause scarring

Pimples form when the follicle is invaded by the P. acnes bacteria. The damaged follicle weakens and bursts open, releasing sebum, bacteria, skin cells, and white blood cells into surrounding tissues. Scarring happens when new skin cells are created to replace the damaged cells. The most severe type of acne includes both nodules and cysts.

Acne cannot be cured, but antiacne drugs can help clear the skin and reduce the chance of scarring. The goal of treating moderate acne is to decrease inflammation and prevent new comedones from forming. Benzoyl peroxide and tretinoin work by mildly irritating the skin. This encourages skin cells to slough off, which helps open blocked pores. Benzoyl peroxide also kills bacteria, which helps prevent whiteheads and blackheads from turning into pimples. Isotretinoin shrinks the glands that produce sebum. It is used for severe acne lesions and must be carefully monitored because of its side effects. Antibiotics also may be prescribed to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation.

Acne Symptoms and Treatments

Written by Author on . Posted in Acne

SYMPTOMS

Acne is often not apparent to an observer. Inflamed pores, however, can cause pain or itching. The most troubling aspect of acne for many people is the scarring that can occur. And, while acne may not be very noticeable, individuals tend to be sensitive about their appearance. Teenagers especially may become concerned about the way other people react to them.

DIAGNOSIS

People with acne are often treated by family doctors. More serious cases are referred to a dermatologist (a specialist in skin disorders) or an endocrinologist (a specialist in hormonal disorders).
Because of its appearance, acne is not difficult to diagnose. A doctor takes a complete medical history, which includes questions about skin, diet, medication use, and other factors associated with risk for acne. He or she conducts a physical examination of the face, upper neck, chest, shoulders, back, and other affected areas. The doctor determines the number and type of blemishes, whether they are inflamed or not, whether they are deep or near the surface of the skin, and whether there is scarring or skin discoloration.
Laboratory tests are not done unless the patient appears to have a hormonal disorder. In that case, blood tests and other tests may be ordered. Most insurance plans cover the cost of diagnosing and treating acne.

ANTI-ACNE DRUGS
Brand Name (Generic Name) and their pssible common side effects:

Accutane (isotretinoin) > Dry skin, dry mouth, conjunctivitis
Benzamycin > Dry and itchy skin
Cleocin T (clindamycin phosphate) Dry skin
Desquam-E (benzoyl peroxide) > Itching, red and peeling skin
Erythromycin topical (A/T/S, erycette, t-stat) > Burning, dry skin, hives, red and peeling skin
Minocin (minocycline hydrochloride) > Headache, hives, diarrhea, peeling skin, vomiting
Retin-A (tretinoin) > Darkening of the skin, blistering, crusted, or puffy skin