Your Complete Guide to Treating Acne

Acne, pimples, zits, blemishes—whatever you call them, we can all agree a spotted complexion can be frustrating—especially when you feel like you’ve tried every remedy under the sun to treat those pesky spots. As the most common skin condition in the United States affecting over 50 million Americans annually, chances are, you or someone close to you has battled with acne. 

Age is not a consideration when it comes to acne or its severity. In fact, the rate of adults suffering with acne is on the rise. With help from your dermatologist, you can establish the acne treatment plan that is right for your particular skin type and acne severity. Read on for the Advanced Dermatology Guide to treating acne.

Topical Treatments

  • Topical treatments can help manage the severity and frequency of acne outbreaks. Your physician will help select the right topical treatment for you depending on the type of acne you have (whiteheads, blackheads, pustules or cystic lesions) as well as the severity. Depending on the ingredients, topical medications work by either reducing oil production, increasing skin cell turnover, fighting bacteria or reducing inflammation. Look for: Retinol, AHAs, BHAs, Benzoyl Peroxide, topical antibiotics, or Dapsone. Ideal for mild, moderate & severe acne.


Oral Antibiotics

  • Systemic antibiotics have been a mainstay of acne treatment for years working by killing P. acnes bacteria. They are indicated for short-term use in moderate to severe inflammatory acne and should be used in combination with topical treatments prescribed by your dermatologist. Look for doxycycline, minocycline, or tetracycline. Ideal for: moderate to severe acne.


Oral Contraceptives

  • Combination oral contraceptives are effective in the treatment of hormonal acne in women. Birth control pills help decrease testosterone levels, which can in turn decreases the severity of acne in women. Look for Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Estrostep, or Yaz. Ideal for mild to severe acne. 



  • Under the care of a board-certified dermatologist, women with hormonal acne can benefit from taking Spironolactone. This androgen-blocker was originally formulated to treat hypertension and other cardiovascular issues, but when used in lower doses, can help with hormonal acne. Ideal for mild to moderate hormonal acne.


Isotretinoin (Accutane)

  • Originally under the brand name “Accutane” but now available only in generic form, isotretinoin is a derivative of vitamin A taken in pill form. Accutane curbs acne by limiting the skin’s supply of sebum, calming inflammation, reducing bacteria and unclogging pores. It also triggers skin cells to turn over more rapidly. All patients treated with Isotretinoin must adhere to the iPLEDGE risk management program. Ideal for severe nodular acne that does not respond well to other treatments.


Cortisone Injection

  • A cortisone injection from your dermatologist can quickly and dramatically reduce the size and severity of cystic lesions that are otherwise resistant to topical treatments. Ideal for severe acne (cysts and nodules).


Chemical Peels

  • Chemical peels help reduce acne through gentle, chemical exfoliation. Includes AHA peels (such as Glycolic or Lactic Acid) & TCA peels. Ideal for mild to moderate acne as well as acne scarring. 


Red and Blue Light Therapy

  • The use of Red and Blue light treatments prescribed by a board certified dermatologist can help reduce the appearance of moderate to severe skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, eczema and sun damage. Red light therapy is used for skin rejuvenation and blue light therapy intensifies the immune functions in the skin. Blue light therapy is ideal for killing the bacteria that causes acne and is always used with red light therapy (and infrared light) for its anti-inflammatory effect. Ideal for mild to moderate acne.


If you are suffering from acne, call Advanced Dermatology today to begin working on a treatment plan with your physician. With 3 convenient locations in the greater Houston area and a team of experienced, board-certified dermatologists; Advanced Dermatology makes it easy to achieve beautiful, healthy skin!


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