Doctor-Prescribed Acne Treatments And How They Differ From OTC Treatments
If you suffer from severe and chronic acne, and you have tried everything on the store shelves, it may be time to visit a dermatologist. Dermatologists help teenagers as well as adults who suffer from chronic acne. Many of the acne treatments they prescribe for you are similar to the ones you have already tried, but with some significant differences.
That benzoyl peroxide cream you put on your face faithfully for weeks? It seemed to work for a bit, and then did not, right? The dermatologist will prescribe the same medication, except prescription strength benzoyl peroxide contains more than just the one, two, or three percent solution in the OTC brands. The prescription strengths may contain five percent or greater, depending on what the doctor suggests you should use for your particular acne problem.
Most OTC astringents are nothing more than rubbing alcohol and water. This is why your skin feels all tingly and then feels as though it is tightening up a few seconds later. Rubbing alcohol is an astringent, but it is also a drying agent. As such, it will pull all the oil of your skin, but also all the moisture and water. When that happens, your skin overcompensates to make up for this loss of moisture, and your skin is even oilier and breaks out faster. The astringents the dermatologist prescribes contain less rubbing alcohol (if any) and are comprised of much gentler astringents. These clean your face and tighten your pores without the intense burning or drying effect.
Most people make the mistake of washing their faces with body soap. The skin on your face is very different than the skin on your body. It is thinner and more sensitive to chemicals. Some facial soaps sold on store shelves are not good products for acne either. Your doctor will tell you what store-bought products are best, or he/she will prescribe a facial cleanser that will help balance your oily skin with your dry skin so that acne stops resurfacing.
The worst acne cases can be cleared in a few hours with antibiotics and/or a few rounds of steroids. However, most doctors do not want to prescribe these medications indefinitely since you could build up a resistance to the antibiotics' effects (creating the perfect storm for MRSA) and steroids can weaken bones and make them brittle in developing or elderly bodies. Your dermatologist may prescribe them initially to immediately clear up your skin, but then you will need to use whatever other prescriptions or products he/she has told you to use.