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How is systemic medication helpful for treating acne?

Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD
Dermatology

Acne patients take antibiotics and a vitamin A derivative orally, as wellas applying them topically, so they work from the inside out too. Antibiotics are used for inflammatory acne and isotretinoin (a vitamin A analog known by the brand name Accutane) for both comedonal and inflammatory forms.

Antibiotics like tetracycline are prescribed in an eight-week course, usually in conjunction with a topical retinoid and a benzoyl peroxide antibiotic cleanser. These days doctors are gravitating more to a new generation of low-dose antibiotics that have fewer side effects and will hopefully prevent antibiotic resistance. (Higher-dose antibiotics have been known to cause gastrointestinal problems and yeast infections.) These medications, such as Doryx, Solodyn, and Oracea, are not as harsh and have a similar, positive anti-inflammatory effect - but they have little if no antibacterial strength. Another excellent medicine is spironolactone. Originally a diuretic, its anti-testosterone effects diminish acne - especially the persistent acne around the mouth.

Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

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Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

What if a leading dermatologist just happened to be your best friend and you could ask her anything? DR. ELLEN MARMUR, a world-renowned New York City dermatologist, answers all your questions with...

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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.