We get more questions from our loyal BEAUTYINTHEBAG subscribers about acne than almost anything else – except maybe what to do about wrinkles. So we will be bringing you a 3 PART SERIES – PIMPLE PLAN. The first installment covers Acne Meds, then we will move on to Acne Treatments in the Dermatologist’s office, medspa or clinic. Finally, we will cover some of the best and most effective Acne Skincare Brands.
Unfortunately ACNE is an equal opportunity skin condition that affects teens as young as age 12 up to adults, women and men, in their 50s. There is no doubt that coping with niggling breakout problems continues as you age. Sometimes acne goes away, but it can also get worse or spots can creep up on you even if you had clear skin in high school.
Prescription treatments range from topical to oral, depending on the extent of the acne condition. However, according to the 2009 Skin Matters Survey from Ortho Dermatologics, acne sufferers are hesitant to visit a healthcare professional for help with acne. In fact, on average, they try 4.8-5.6 over-the-counter products and spend $96-116 before seeking professional help.
When your breakouts are out of control, instead of embarking on the process of trial and error, wasting your money on treatments that may not make a difference, the best place to go is to get a referral from your GP or medical doctor to see a Dermatologist.
TO FIND A DERMATOLOGIST NEAR YOU – VISIT WWW.AAD.ORG
The challenge for acne sufferers is to find the ideal balance between using a regimen that works consistently without experiencing problematic side effects and redness, dryness or peeling, and increased sun sensitivity, that causes them to stop using their medication so they don’t get the benefits. As most Dermatologists will tell you, acne is a chronic skin condition and the key to controlling it long term is to keep using your medication even when you don’t see blemishes. However, with some of the modern advances in medication to treat acne, it just got a whole lot easier.
ACZONE (dapzone) Gel 5%
Aczone Gel is one of the newer acne meds on the market that is a topical antibiotic. It uses a patented technology called SMP (Solvent Micro Particulate) which helps reduce acne without causing severe irritation and we are hearing great reviews for this new drug! It is applied twice daily to acne prone areas after gentle cleansing on dry skin. It has a gritty feel when applied which is normal. Side effects include possible erythema (bruising), redness, and if it is used with benzoyl peroxide, your skin can turn a yellow or orange hue temporarily, so follow your doctor’s directions for best results. www.aczone.com
Epiduo Gel is a fairly new concept in acne medications. It contains two potent acne fighting ingredients – Benzoyl peroxide that kills bacteria and reduces inflammation plus Adapalene which is known to clear clogged pores, blackheads, whiteheads and helps prevent new ones from cropping up. The difference is the combination of these two drugs in one tube – which means that they work better together than separately. Epiduo Gel is used once daily – no more, no less. www.epiduo.com
RETIN-A, also called Tretinoin, is perhaps the original acne medication and has a longstanding history of effectiveness for blemishes, as well as many other skin conditions including sun damage, rosacea, and psoriasis. It can take many forms – gels, creams – and varying strengths. One of the most recent formulations is RETIN-A MICRO®, a water-based tretinoin gel, is the only acne medication to combine tretinoin – the #1 prescribed retinoid – with patented microsphere technology. Microspheres gradually release tretinoin over time to reduce irritation and help absorb excess facial oil to reduce facial shine. The RETIN-A MICRO® Pump is a unique pump that delivers a consistent amount of medication with each pump, which makes it easy to use and hard to over use. www.retinamicro.com
Cystic Acne is considered the most severe variation and can result in permanent scarring if not treated early. Accutane, also known as Isotretrinoin, is a prescription medication used only for the treatment of severe acne, especially the painful, nodules or cystic type of acne. Accutane is an oral medication derived from a potent form of vitamin A in a very high dose. Isotretinoin is also available as a 0.05% topical form under the tname Isotrex, as well as Isotrexin that contains the antibiotic Erythromycin.
Accutane treatment courses will last for 4-6 months, and dosage will be based on your weight and how severe your acne condition is. Because it is taken by mouth, the effects of Accutane are systemic. The most common side effects are dryness of the lips, nasal passages, and skin. Side effects can also include nose bleeds, hair thinning, irritation of eyes, and in more rare cases, joint and muscle pains and blurred vision and depression. Periodic blood tests are necessary to monitor your liver.
NOTE: The most well known side effect of Accutane is the possibility of birth defects, therefore women who are pregnant, nursing or trying to become pregnant should NOT use Accutane.
Accutane is considered the drug of last resort – and is controversial in the world of acne treatment. Since March 1, 2006, Accutane dispensing in the US is controlled by an FDA-mandated program called iPLEDGE. Dermatologists are required to register their patients before prescribing the drug, and pharmacists are required to check the website before dispensing it. The result is that fewer Dermatologists are now prescribing Accutane in the US due to the extensive paperwork and regulation required of them. But if you suffer from severe acne and topical antiobiotics, benzoyl perioxide and other formulations have not worked sufficiently, ask your dermatologist if Accutane may be right for you. Some dermatologists prescribe Accutane only for severe chronic cystic acne, while others believe that the drug can be used in lower doses for other forms of acne. The clearance rate for Accutane is as high as 90% in many cases. While you are taking Accutane, you will need to stock up on lip emollients because dry mouth and chapped lips are very common side effects. You can also expect to need to drink extra water for hydration and use a high SPF daily to prevent sunburn. Adding essential fatty acids to your daily diet is also highly recommended.
ONE OF OUR GUEST BAG LADIES HAS JUST BEGUN A COURSE OF ACCUTANE AND WILL BE POSTING HER JOURNAL IN JULY – AS HER SKIN GETS USED TO IT….stay tuned