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When you consider the effects of acne --- anything from blackheads and puss-filled pimples to discolored skin and pock marks --- it's no surprise that your acne treatment regimen has to be just as diverse. Fortunately, these days, a wide variety of remedies can help clear acne and acne scars. However, it's always best to seek the advice of a dermatologist for long-term acne solutions.
Over-the-counter topical acne treatments are the first recourse in eliminating acne. Let's face it, for acne sufferers, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are household names! They play various roles in treating acne such as controlling oiliness and speeding up skin cell turnover. If these don't show real results after four to six weeks, you may need to see a dermatologist to get stronger medication such as prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide or tretinoin.
Oral medications are another option for stubborn acne. They include the antibiotic tetracycline, birth control pills and isotretinoin, which is the only known cure for acne. However, these options can lead to much more serious side effects, and you should take them only under a doctor's supervision. For instance, isotretinoin can cause liver damage and birth defects, and tetracycline may cause dizziness or sun sensitivity.
If you prefer natural remedies for acne, there are a few at your disposal. Tea tree oil is an effective topical acne remedy despite its off-putting odor. Also, tweaking your diet may help suppress breakouts, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Try reducing foods such as dairy, nonorganic meats and refined carbohydrates in your diet. These foods disrupt hormones such as insulin that can contribute to acne.
Skin Resurfacing Products
If acne has left your face speckled with stubborn dark marks and pits, skin resurfacing products such as chemical peels and dermabrasion kits help to smoothe out rough, uneven skin. A qualified cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist should perform these procedures as they can cause serious side effects. They include severe burning and irritation as well as permanent skin discoloration. Even if you decide to use these products at home to clear acne and acne scars, consult a dermatologist first.