Dealing with acne requires addressing the factors that contribute to its formation. As previously discussed, the four major factors are excessive sebum production, abnormal follicular keratinization, proliferation of Propionibacterium acnes, and inflammation. Treatment methods vary widely and can be overwhelming. First, it is necessary to determine the severity of the patient’s acne in order to effectively address it.
For mild acne, which consists of blackheads and whiteheads, skincare products containing AHA, BHA, or retinol can be used to reduce oil production, shrink pores, and eliminate blackheads and whiteheads. For moderate to severe acne, which includes papules or pustules, topical medications are usually required. These medications include antibiotics, vitamin A derivatives (such as tretinoin, azelaic acid, or differin), benzoyl peroxide, and others. If topical medications are not effective, oral medications may be necessary. There are three main types of oral medications: antibiotics (such as tetracycline), hormone inhibitors (such as spironolactone, which is only suitable for women but not recommended for pregnant women as it may affect fetal development), and isotretinoin, which is highly effective in reducing sebum production and inflammation. However, isotretinoin has significant side effects and should not be taken by pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant. Regular blood tests are necessary to monitor liver function, lipid levels, and blood cell counts, making it a last resort for severe acne.
In addition to medication, several types of medical aesthetic treatments are highly effective in treating acne, including:
- Chemical peels: Some types of chemical peels are particularly effective in treating acne by inhibiting sebum production and removing the accumulated keratin layer. For example, Jessner’s Peel contains salicylic acid and resorcinol, which have anti-inflammatory and sebum-reducing effects.
- Microdermabrasion: This is a physical exfoliation method that removes accumulated keratin layers on the surface, reducing follicle blockage.
- Blue light therapy: This treatment uses 420nm wavelength blue light to stimulate the skin to produce high concentrations of porphyrins, which destroy Propionibacterium acnes and have an anti-inflammatory effect.
It is best to consult a doctor to determine a long-term treatment plan to effectively treat and control acne.