The best remedy for acne?
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix or one-size-fits-all treatment for acne. Every skin type is different and every type of acne is different. That also means that no two treatment plans can be the same, or have the same effect. What works for someone else doesn't work for everyone. And that's hugely frustrating, but it's also ok.Fortunately, with patience (even if that's hard), there are options enough to help everyone. The first step to finding a solution for your acne is to address any causes. Further, your dermatologist will go step by step to find a cure for your acne.
Starting an acne treatment
Often, as a patient, you have been looking for a solution on your own for a long time and have tried all sorts of things before you see a dermatologist. From adapted nutrition to expensive skin care. Everything mixed together because you are at your wit's end. We get it, but we've also got your back.How does the dermatologist work? We like to give you their step-by-step plan that gradually builds up. Dermatologists will always choose the treatment with maximum effect and minimum side effects first. Where you start in the spectrum, from light to heavy treatment, depends on the severity of your acne.
"Through an effective treatment plan that proceeds in several phases, we as dermatologists can give you personalized help and follow-up to find the right customized treatment for your skin." - Dr. Evelyne Lodewick (Dermatologist)
We start with a local treatment: here we will fight the acne from the outside with external agents such as cleansers, gels or creams.
Benzoyl peroxide gel loosens the top layer of skin and inhibits the growth of skin cells. This makes the pores less likely to become clogged with skin cells. It also kills the acne bacteria that cause inflammation.
Azelaic acid has keratolytic and anti-inflammatory effects: this means that it prevents the formation of sebaceous plugs and suppresses inflammation.
Retinoids is the collective name for substances related to vitamin A acid. They help the maturation of superficial skin cells and thus prevent the formation of sebaceous plugs. In addition, they have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Examples of retinoids in spreadable form are tretinoin, adapalene, retinol, trifarotene.
Antibiotics such as erythromycin or clindamycin are added to acne creams because they have a broad anti-inflammatory effect, specifically fighting C-acne bacteria.
Often preferred are creams that combine several ingredients, such as adapalene + benzoyl peroxide or tretinoin + clindamycin. This increases both efficacy and ease of use!
After about six weeks we monitor whether the local therapy helps you sufficiently. If it does not seem to be the right solution for you, we look towards a treatment with tablets. For severe forms of acne, with a risk of scarring, we sometimes start treatment with tablets from the beginning. Initially, this is done via antibiotic tablets. Antibiotics of the group "tetracyclines" have an anti-inflammatory effect, and combat the typical C-acne bacteria. Unlike classical antibiotics, they are dosed only once or twice daily, but for several weeks (6 to 12 weeks). The classic discomforts of antibiotics such as gastrointestinal problems are fortunately less common.
Isotretinoin belongs to the group of retinoids and is thus related to vitamin A acid. It is reserved for the severe forms of acne with scarring, or for moderate acne that keeps flaring up despite good cream treatment and antibiotic tablets.It is going to suppress sebum production in the body. The pimples dry out and the sebaceous plugs disappear. So this is how you tackle the real cause of acne.
However, treatment takes a long time, 8-10 months. Although, after about 6-12 weeks you will already notice a clear progress of your skin. Moreover, it usually has a lasting effect, even after finishing the cure, and is thus the only remedy that can "cure" acne.Treatment requires proper follow-up by the dermatologist. The check-ups often include a blood draw. Girls and women must not become pregnant during the treatment, as the drug causes damage to the unborn child. In female patients, therefore, a pregnancy test will also be done during the blood draw.
What to look out for in acne treatment?
Acne treatments penetrate deep into the skin to address the problem at its root cause. However, this also ensures that there are some concerns that it is best to keep in mind during treatment.
- Your skin will become drier and more fragile. Your skin will demand a customized, personalized skincare routine.
- Your skin becomes more sensitive to the sun. A sunscreen that works well for you is your best friend.
- You should definitely not combine treatments with retinoids in pill form with retinoids in cream form or other drying treatments.
- A point to note for pregnant women: Retinoids in both pill and cream form should not be used in pregnancy or lactation.This also applies to tetracycline antibiotics.
Do you want to start treatment with isotretinoin? Then when starting treatment, it is important that you are not pregnant, not breastfeeding and do not wish to become pregnant for the first year.
How are acne scars treated?
The most common treatments to treat acne scars or remove acne scars are peels and laser. These treatments cannot be started until the acne has fully settled down. With an isotretinoin treatment, it is even recommended to wait at least 6 months after the end of the treatment to treat acne scars, because otherwise your skin is still too fragile. Because your skin is more vulnerable to sunlight (and thus pigmentation) after a peel or laser, acne scar treatments are only performed in the fall or winter.
A fruit acid peel or chemical peel involves applying an acid to your skin, which in the days following treatment causes your skin to flake off. This causes pigment spots and small superficial scars to fade. Several sessions are usually required.
Treatment with the fractional CO2 laser is also going to cause a superficial exfoliating effect on the one hand, but also stimulate collagen production deeper in the skin. Thus, it can also treat slightly deeper acne scars. Again, several sessions are required.