There are several types of remedies for acne. They come in different forms, both as you use on the skin and as you swallow. Some contain two active substances that act in different ways.
Use drugs on the skin in the first place
Most people who have mild or moderate acne can try local treatment, that is, treatment on the skin where the acne is located. There are drugs in the form of cream, gel or solution.
Medicines for the skin contain one or more of the following substances:
- benzoyl peroxide
- azelaic acid
Which one or more of these substances are most suitable depends on the type of acne you have. The drugs attack the acne in different ways.
You can treat mild acne with benzoyl peroxide, which you can buy without a prescription. You can get a prescription for adapalene or azelaic acid by a doctor.
If you have moderate acne, you may need to combine two substances to get better effect.
- 1 If local treatment does not help or if you have severe acne
- 2 Start with the weakest
- 3 Be careful in the sun
- 4 Do not combine with adapal
- 5 Benzoyl peroxide discolors fabrics
- 6 Side effects
- 7 Examples of drugs containing benzoyl peroxide
- 8 Be careful in the sun
- 9 Do not combine with benzoyl peroxide
- 10 Side effects
- 11 Examples of drugs containing adapalene
- 12 Side effects
- 13 Examples of medicines containing azelaic acid
- 14 Side effects
- 15 Examples of drugs with clindamycin used in acne
- 16 Be careful in the sun
- 17 Do not use tretinoin if you are or may become pregnant
- 18 Side effects
- 19 Examples of drugs with tretinoin and clindamycin
- 20 The skin can become extra sensitive to sun
- 21 Avoid certain medicines
- 22 Side effects
- 23 Examples of tetracyclines used in acne
- 24 Also protects against pregnancy
- 25 Side effects
- 26 Examples of hormone drugs used in acne
- 27 Avoid certain medicines
- 28 Side effects
- 29 Do not use isotretinoin if you are or may become pregnant
- 30 Examples of drugs containing isotretinoin
If local treatment does not help or if you have severe acne
Sometimes the acne does not get better despite trying different drugs on the skin. You can get medicines in the form of capsules or tablets if you do not get better after three months of treatment. The same is true if you have severe acne.
Common types of drugs may contain any of the following:
- tetracyclines, which are a type of antibiotic
- the active substance isotretinoin.
You can try antibiotics, often for three months. During that time, you can also use drugs on the skin. Sometimes it is good to continue with it even after you stop taking antibiotics so that the acne does not come back.
Hormone drugs for acne also provide protection against pregnancy, they act as a birth control pill. You who need contraception can get hormone therapy instead of antibiotics.
You may be given isotretinoin-containing medicines if you have tried antibiotics or hormones without results. The same is true if you have very severe acne. Isotretinoin is the most effective drug for severe acne. But it can cause some side effects and can harm the fetus if you are pregnant. It may only be prescribed by dermatologists. You should not combine isotretinoin with treatment on the skin.
Medicines that contain benzoyl peroxide can be purchased as a prescription in the form of gel. They work well against mild acne. Benzoyl peroxide reduces the amount of bacteria and dissolves blackheads.
A doctor may prescribe benzoyl peroxide in combination with other active substances if you have moderate acne.
Start with the weakest
Benzoyl peroxide is available in various strengths. Always start with the weakest, so that the skin does not become unnecessarily irritated.
It takes several weeks for the acne to get better.
Be careful in the sun
Benzoyl peroxide makes the skin thinner and extra sensitive. You should not sunbathe when using benzoyl peroxide. In addition, it is good to wait a few days to a week after you stop using the medicine before sunbathing. You can protect treated skin areas with sunscreen or covering clothing if you stay in the sun.
Do not combine with adapal
You should not use benzoyl peroxide at the same time as acne containing adapalene. Benzoyl peroxide and adapalene can interact to make the effect worse. In addition, both dehydration and irritation appear on the skin. Sometimes doctors can still recommend both benzoyl peroxide and adapalene. You should then use one in the morning and the other in the evening.
Benzoyl peroxide discolors fabrics
Benzoyl peroxide bleaches or discolors fabrics, such as clothes, towels and sheets.
It is common for the skin to get a little warm right after using benzoyl peroxide. In some people, the skin may even become a little red, stingy, itchy and scaly for a few days.
Examples of drugs containing benzoyl peroxide
- Basiron AC and Basiron AC Wash
- Epiduo which also contains adapal. Epiduo includes a substance that allows the two active substances to be combined without affecting each other.
- Duac which also contains an antibiotic, clindamycin.
Adapalene is a substance that inhibits inflammation in acne and affects cells in the skin around the sebaceous glands, so that the sebaceous glands are not clogged. It works well if you have mild to moderate acne.
Adapalen is available in gel and cream and is prescription coated.
It may take about a month before you notice a clear improvement.
Be careful in the sun
Adapalen makes the skin thinner and extra sensitive. Therefore, you should not sunbathe while using this medicine. Protect treated skin areas with sunscreen or protective clothing if you are in the sun.
Do not combine with benzoyl peroxide
You should not use adapal at the same time as acne containing benzoyl peroxide. Adapalene and benzoyl peroxide can adversely affect each other, making the effect worse. In addition, both dehydration and irritation appear on the skin. Sometimes doctors can still recommend both adapalene and benzoyl peroxide to have a stronger effect. You should then use one in the morning and the other in the evening.
Some people may get itching or a burning sensation on the skin after applying the drug. The skin can also redden or become dry and scaly and become extra sensitive to sunlight. The trouble usually comes during the first month, and then gets better.
Examples of drugs containing adapalene
- Differin, which is available as a gel and cream.
- Epiduo gel which also contains benzoyl peroxide. Epiduo includes a substance that allows the two active substances to be combined without affecting each other.
Azelaic acid is a substance that both reduces blackheads and inhibits the growth of bacteria. It seems slow at first, and can be combined with other drugs.
Azelaic acid is available as a gel and cream and is prescription coated.
It usually takes four weeks for a clear improvement to be noticed.
Some who use azelaic acid experience itching or a tingling or stinging sensation in the skin. In some people, the skin may even become red, dry and scaly.
Examples of medicines containing azelaic acid
- Finacea gel
- Skinoren cream.
Clindamycin is a type of antibiotic and is available in liquid form for use on the skin. The drug is available as an emulsion with about the same texture as a skin lotion. The drug is prescribed.
Clindamycin reduces the amount of bacteria that contribute to acne. You should not use this medicine for more than three months as the bacterium can then become resistant to the treatment.
Always combine clindamycin solution or emulsion with other medicines that you apply to your skin. However, you should not combine clindamycin with other antibiotics in tablet form.
It usually takes several weeks before you notice a clear improvement.
Some people get irritated and itchy.
Examples of drugs with clindamycin used in acne
- Duac which also contains benzoyl peroxide
- Acnatac which also contains tretinoin.
Tretinoin and clindamycin
Tretinoin, Vitamin A, which improves the growth of superficial skin cells and provides a normal rejection of the cells that clog the hair follicle. Tretinoin also prevents the build-up of sebum and the development of blackheads. Clindamycin reduces the amount of bacteria that contribute to acne.
Do not use this medicine for more than 12 weeks at a time.
It usually takes several weeks before you notice a clear improvement.
Be careful in the sun
Tretinoin makes the skin thinner and extra sensitive. Therefore, you should not sunbathe while using this medicine. Protect treated skin areas with sunscreen or protective clothing if you are in the sun.
Do not use tretinoin if you are or may become pregnant
Do not use tretinoin if you are pregnant as it may harm the fetus. Also, do not use tretinoin if you could become pregnant during treatment and one month thereafter. It is important to use at least one safe method of contraception throughout the treatment and one month afterwards.
Side effects that may occur are dry skin, redness of the skin, itching, rash or increased sensitivity to sunlight.
Examples of drugs with tretinoin and clindamycin
Tetracyclines are a group of antibiotics that reduce the amount of bacteria and counteract the inflammation of the sebaceous gland.
Tetracyclines give good acne treatment only after one to three months. A typical treatment period is therefore three to six months. You should not reduce the dose or discontinue treatment prematurely without consulting your treating physician.
The skin can become extra sensitive to sun
Tetracyclines can make the skin extra sensitive to sun. It is especially important to consider if you are exposed to a lot of sun, for example during a sailing or a sun holiday abroad. Therefore, you can start treatment in the fall or stop the treatment in the summer.
Avoid certain medicines
Take tetracyclines three hours before or after certain medications. This applies to so-called antacids for heartburn and medicines containing iron, calcium or magnesium. These drugs can reduce the effect of tetracyclines. Many vitamin and mineral tablets can contain both iron, calcium and magnesium.
Do not take tetracyclines and acne drug isotretinoin at the same time. Then you can get increased pressure in the head with symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances.
Tetracyclines can affect the normal bacterial flora in the gut and genital area. Some people may experience stomach upset, such as nausea, stomach pain or loose stools. Women can also get a fungal infection in the genital area.
If you are pregnant, you should not use tetracyclines during the last half of pregnancy. Tetracyclines affect the fetus by being absorbed by the growing skeleton and discoloring tooth enamel.
Examples of tetracyclines used in acne
- Lymecycline Actavis
- Tetracycline Meda
Hormone tablets with two different hormones can reduce acne in women by inhibiting the effect of the sex hormones that often trigger acne in their teens. There are prescription hormonal drugs that are acne medication, but also work as an oral contraceptive.
Men should not use hormone medication for acne.
Acne treatment will be better if you use some acne on the skin at the same time.
Treatment often requires three to four months for acne to improve.
Also protects against pregnancy
Do not use hormonal drugs alone to prevent pregnancy. However, if you are taking hormone medication for acne, you should not use other hormonal contraceptives at the same time. The drugs protect against pregnancy as well as regular birth control pills.
At the beginning of the treatment you may have small bleeding, nausea, headache and tense breasts. The problems are usually mild and usually disappear after two to four months. Contact your doctor if you experience excessive and prolonged bleeding between menstrual bleeding.
Some may have, for example, weight changes, depression, or decreased sex drive.
Examples of hormone drugs used in acne
The active substance isotretinoin is related to vitamin A. It is used to treat severe scarring acne or acne that has not gone through with any other treatment.
Isotretinoin causes the sebaceous glands to not produce as much sebum and therefore the skin becomes drier.
Isotretinoin can cause a lot of side effects. The drug is nevertheless used because it has very good effect on difficult to treat acne. Isotretinoin treatment is done by dermatologists.
Treatment should last for at least four months, but usually for six months or longer.
Avoid certain medicines
Do not take isotretinoin and tetracyclines at the same time. You can get increased pressure in your head with symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances if you take them together.
Do not use acne drugs on the skin at the same time as isotretinoin.
Isotretinoin can cause the skin to become red, dry and delicate and it scales and itches. The eyes and nose can become dry and irritated.
Some may cause inflammation of the skin, lips, eyes or eyelid, but this is less common.
Other side effects may include anemia, bleeding and blood flow more easily. Some may become more susceptible to infections and more easily bruised. Headaches, pain in the joints, muscles or back may occur.
Isotretinoin can affect, for example, blood fats, liver values and white blood cells. You don’t recognize this, but your doctor regularly checks your blood tests during treatment.
Do not use isotretinoin if you are or may become pregnant
Do not take isotretinoin if you are pregnant as it may harm the fetus. Also, do not take isotretinoin if you could become pregnant during treatment and one month thereafter. It is important to use at least one safe method of contraception throughout the treatment and one month afterwards.
Examples of drugs containing isotretinoin
- Isotretinoin Actavis
- Isotretinoin Orifarm.