You’re trying to find the right way to get your acne problem under control, right? Well, there are certainly so many options out there that it can be a bit daunting. First and foremost, if you are just starting to deal with acne then you may want to tackle the issue from the comfort of your own home before turning to a dermatologist for help.
At-Home Treatment Options
The first line of defense is usually to try an over-the-counter acne cleanser or topical cream that contains an active ingredient such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. It’s important to be patient when it comes to seeing results. No acne product will work overnight. In fact, it can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks of consistent use before you start to notice results from commercial acne products, so don’t give up on a product too soon.
Other tips to follow include:
- Cleaning your smartphone with disinfectant wipes at least once a day (imagine just how much bacteria your phone picks up every day).
- Washing your face twice a day, once in the morning and at night before bedtime, and immediately after sweating.
- Being gentle with your skin. Harsh scrubs and being aggressive won’t get rid of acne; it will actually just make it worse.
- Using cosmetic products that won’t clog pores (look for words like “non-comedogenic” or “oil-free”)
- Leaving acne alone (do not pick acne or try to extract it yourself, as this can lead to scarring)
- Washing pillowcases regularly to get rid of pore-clogging bacteria
When to See a Dermatologist
If you are having trouble getting your acne under control after weeks of trial and error, or if your acne is severe and painful then it’s time to enlist the help of a dermatologist who will be able to provide you with more effective strategies for getting rid of your acne. After all, there are different things that can cause acne and it’s important that your skin doctor figures out what’s causing your acne so that they can create the right treatment plan for you.
Dermatologist-Approved Acne Treatment Options
Depending on what’s causing your breakouts, a dermatologist may recommend these treatment options:
- Topical treatment: Prescription-strength cleansers, ointments, and creams containing glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and retinoids can target and eliminate acne.
- Topical or oral antibiotics: Antibiotics can reduce inflammation and kill the bacteria responsible for acne.
- Oral contraceptives: If you are dealing with breakouts that occur around your menstrual cycle then hormonal fluctuations could be causing your acne. There are certain types of birth control pills that have been FDA approved to fight acne.
- Isotretinoin: More commonly referred to as Accutane. This powerful oral medication is used for those dealing with severe cystic acne that can lead to deep scarring. This is often recommended when other treatment options haven’t been effective.