The treatment of acne starts with the examination by a dermatologist, and then the dermatologist grades the acne according to the severity of the problem. The treatment measures may differ from patient to patient according to the type and severity of the acne. A patient with blackheads would not get the same treatment as one with mostly large, painful, and cystic acne.
The treatment discussed here is based on the International and Indian Consensus Group recommendations for dealing with acne. Most dermatologists follow these steps to deliver the best measures to achieve good improvement in acne. However, lifestyle and diet form a very important part of this treatment. So any acne treatment is incomplete without the patient’s compliance to the prescribed diet and exercise regime.
Treatment Step 1: Medical treatment with creams and face washes which contain alpha hydroxyl acids, topical antibiotics, topical benzoyl peroxide, and retinoid creams form the mainstay of all grades of acne. These products help regulate the oil secretion and remove blackheads, and dry out the pustules. These can be used in all grades of acne.
Treatment Step 2: The second step in acne management is the use of oral antibiotics. These are indicated when the acne has more red and inflamed lesions. These antibiotics are given up to 3 months, however, if the acne does not respond, then hormonal evaluation is done. The dermatologist then decides to treat with their gold standard of care for acne or with hormonal pills if the hormonal issues are associated.
Treatment Option 3: When the dermatologist chooses oral antibiotics or gold standard of care, often they recommend treatments such as chemical peels and comedone extraction. These treatments are beneficial in multiple ways.
Chemical peels exfoliate the upper layer of the skin thereby allowing the comedones to be removed without pain. This helps the skin to look better immediately and helps dry out acne. Also, the pigmentation associated with acne reduces. The need for higher doses of anti-acne medicines also reduces with peels. The common chemical peels used in most dermatology clinics are Glycolic peels and Salicylic peels. These can be performed for face, shoulders, back or chest, depending on the area of involvement. They can be safely performed as a lunchtime procedure in the clinic, and have little or no downtime. Chemical peels like TCA peel, Black peel, and Retinol peels are very helpful in reducing acne scars and pigmentation.
Photofacials are another excellent treatment when it comes to reducing acne. This either uses an IPL device or a Q-YAG laser device to reduce the oil secretion of the skin. These help to reduce the redness of the scars and acne and give almost instant results. These are the useful quick fix for that last minute party.