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Can more serious forms of acne be treated?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
For the most severe forms of acne, a physician may prescribe a treatment called Isotretinoin. This is a powerful drug that should be carefully considered before taking. The side effects can be serious, and the interaction with other medications could prevent it from being a viable option. You should consult a dermatologist for more information.

Yes. Work with your doctor to find the best treatment for you.

Moderate to moderately severe acne. This type of acne consists of several whiteheads, blackheads, papules and pustules that cover from top to bottom of the face and/or other parts of the body. It can be treated with antibiotic lotions or gels, as well as retinoic acid. Retinoic acid is an altered form of vitamin A. It helps prevent whiteheads and blackheads. Your doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic pill, such as erythromycin. If you take birth control pills to prevent pregnancy, antibiotics can affect how well they work. Be sure to use a second method of birth control with the pill, such as a condom. Retinoic acid and antibiotic pills can make the skin sensitive to the sun. So, wear sunscreen and stay in the shade while using them. Severe acne. Severe acne consists of deep cysts, redness, swelling, extreme damage to the skin and scarring. You should see a dermatologist to care for this type of acne. Scarring can be prevented with appropriate treatments. Your dermatologist can prescribe oral antibiotics and oral contraceptives. Large inflamed cysts can be treated with an injection of a drug that lessens the redness, swelling, and irritation, and promotes healing.

Your dermatologist may prescribe Accutane, if other treatments have not worked. This is a strong medicine that can help prevent scarring and treat active disease. But, Accutane also can cause birth defects. It is important that you are not pregnant and do not plan to get pregnant while taking this medicine.

Some large cysts do not respond to medication and may need to be drained or removed. Your dermatologist is the only person who should drain or remove these. You should never try to drain or remove your acne by squeezing or picking. This can lead to infection, worsen your acne, and cause scarring.

Overall, if you do not see a change in your skin in six to eight weeks, talk with your doctor about your treatment plan.

This answer is based on source  information from the National Cancer Institute

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.