Acne Treatments for Men
Acne in men is on the rise, but acne treatments are better than ever
Acne treatment continued...
If these products don’t help, a dermatologist can prescribe several other
Antibiotics taken orally or rubbed into the skin help control
Vitamin A derivatives, known as retinoids, help unclog pores and
keep them unclogged.
Anti-inflammatory medications known as corticosteroids can be
injected directly into an inflamed cyst or pustule by a doctor to subdue severe
One word of caution: Some supplements designed to quell acne can actually
cause other problems. “If you take too much zinc to treat acne, it can cause
anemia,” says Dr. David Rahimi, a privately practicing dermatologist in Los
Angeles. “It can bring your white cell count down and lead to severe infection.
Too much vitamin A in the form of Accutane can cause a host of problems from
liver toxicity to hair loss — all sorts of problems.” Rahimi says these
products should be used moderately, if at all, and preferably under a doctor’s
Adult acne and anabolic steroids
Anabolic steroids, used by athletes and bodybuilders to build muscle mass,
are one well-known cause of acne in men. Studies indicate that about one-third
of men who use steroids get acne, and about 50% of the men who get it develop a
severe form known as cystic acne.
“With some patients, I can tell from the kind of acne they have that they
are using anabolic steroids,” says Jeffrey Dover, MD, a dermatologist at Skin
Care Physicians of Chestnut Hill in Massachusetts. “The acne usually is on the
back and on the chest, but it can be anywhere. Treating them involves getting
them to acknowledge that they’re taking these performance-enhancing drugs. It
is very difficult to treat because it’s intensely resistant to typical
Such acne usually goes away gradually if the man stops taking the
Men also can develop an acne-like disorder known as folliculitis, Rahimi
tells WebMD. Frequently, this comes from the tiny nicks caused by shaving too
closely. Bacteria enter the follicles and cause infection.
“One way to distinguish a follicular pimple from acne is that with a
follicular pimple you often can see the hair shaft at the center of the
lesion,” Rahimi says. “The pimples sometimes contain pus, and they may crust
over or become surrounded by an area that’s red and inflamed. The infection may
itch or be somewhat tender, but it usually isn’t painful.” Deep folliculitis,
however, which affects the entire hair follicle, can cause large, painful,
pus-filled bumps that may leave scars, he adds.