Acne is a common skin disease, according to MedlinePlus. Acne can also be referred to as blemishes and pimples -- which occurs on the face, shoulders, neck and back. Anyone can get acne. However, teenagers, pregnant women and young adults are the most common sufferers. Acne lesions are typically caused by clogged pores or inadequate skin cell turnover. Fortunately, there are treatment options that can help prevent future breakouts.
Wash skin twice daily with a gentle cleanser designed for acne-prone skin, recommends the Mayo Clinic. Avoid harsh facial scrubs, which tend to irritate acne-prone skin. Use warm water to wash the face and gently pat the area dry with a clean towel.
Use over-the-counter treatments to kill bacteria and get rid of oil. Look for products with the active ingredients sulfur, salicylic acid and benzoly peroxide, recommends the Mayo Clinic. Over-the-counter medications work best for mild cases of acne. Dryness and irritation is common in the first month of use -- however, this usually gets better over time.
Apply prescription topical medications. Acne that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter products needs a stronger approach. Your dermatologist can prescribe tazarotene, tretinoin or adapalene to treat acne. These medications speed up cell turnover and get rid of skin bacteria. Apply the products as directed by your dermatologist.
Request antibiotics from your dermatologist. Acne that is unresponsive to topical medications may require a short course of antibiotics, says the Mayo Clinic. Antibiotics are used up to four months to treat acne. Report side effects such as stomach upset, skin discoloration or dizziness to your dermatologist. The drug can also make oral contraceptives less affective.
Undergo laser and light therapies. This process damages oil glands without harming the top layers of skin. The treatment also minimizes skin bacteria. Laser and light therapies are used for acne that doesn’t respond to other treatment methods.
Use isotretinoin for deep cystic acne. This drug is reserved for severe acne, according to the Mayo Clinic. Isotretinoin is taken daily for up to 20 weeks, says the American Academy of Dermatology -- and skin typically stays clear. Pregnant women can’t use this medication because of birth defect risks.
Wear sunscreen when using acne medications. Most of these drugs cause increased sun sensitivity. Use an SPF 30 or higher to protect your skin.
Discuss coverage with your medical insurance company. Some treatments might not qualify for coverage, depending on your medical plan.