Acne vulgaris; Cystic acne; Pimples; Zits
Steps you can take to help your acne:
What NOT to do:
If these steps do not clear up the blemishes, try over-the-counter acne medications. You apply these products directly to your skin.
A small amount of sun exposure may improve acne a little, but mostly it just hides the acne. However, too much exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet rays is not recommended because it increases the risk for skin cancer.
If pimples are still a problem, a health care provider can prescribe stronger medications and discuss other options with you.
Antibiotics may help some people with acne:
Creams or gels applied to the skin may be prescribed:
For women whose acne is caused or made worse by hormones:
Minor procedures or treatments may also be helpful:
People who have cystic acne and scarring may try a medicine called isotretinoin (Accutane). You will be watched closely when taking this medicine because of its side effects.
Pregnant women should NOT take Accutane, because it causes severe birth defects. Women taking Accutane must use two forms of birth control before starting the drug and enroll in the iPledge program. Your doctor will follow you on this drug and you will have regular blood tests.
Acne usually goes away after the teenage years, but it may last into middle age. The condition often responds well to treatment after 6 - 8 weeks, but it may flare up from time to time.
Scarring may occur if severe acne is not treated. Some people, especially teenagers, can become very depressed if acne is not treated.
Call your doctor or a dermatologist if:
Call your baby's health care provider if your baby has acne that does not clear up on its own within 3 months.
Acne, rosacea, and related disorders. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 7.
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