You listen to every infomercial and read every magazine article you find.
Still, you can't find an acne treatment that works.
Or maybe you found your acne
solution - only to discover that 3 months into treatment it suddenly stopped
"Everyone's skin is a little bit different
and sometimes it takes more than one type of treatment to get a good result -
but there is absolutely a solution for every acne patient," says Charles E.
Crutchfield III, MD, clinical associate professor of dermatology, University of
Minnesota Medical School and medical director of Crutchfield Dermatology.
If you're having trouble finding an effective acne treatment, you've come to
the right place. WebMD consulted three skin experts to learn more about the
latest acne treatment options - including a fresh, new approach that makes
every acne treatment work better.
Experts at the American Academy of Dermatology say acne develops when
hormonal shifts (like the kind that occur during puberty and, for women, before
a menstrual cycle, and prior to
menopause) cause an
overproduction of oil and cells inside a skin follicle. Together, they form a
kind of biological traffic jam that plugs the opening of the pore and causes
the follicle beneath to swell.
Crutchfield says this causes an overgrowth of bacteria normally found on the
skin, which in turn produce irritating chemical substances that fuel
inflammation. The end result is whiteheads, blackheads, hard tiny pimples, or
Indeed, because doctors now believe that inflammation plays such a key role
in acne, many say the future of treatment will involve drugs that specifically
target the inflammatory response in skin.
"We're not there yet, but the future of acne treatments will definitely be
medications that focus on the inflammatory aspect - and that is where the real
solution might lie," says dermatologist Doris Day, MD, associate professor at
NYU School of Medicine in New York City and author of 100 Questions and Answers
Acne Treatments: What Works Right Now
Meanwhile, there are many acne treatment options to choose from right now.
These treatments fit one of two categories: "pore cleansers" that suppress acne
by preventing the "traffic jam" inside the pores; and products that target the
production of either oil or hormones, which are thought to trigger
Pore-cleaners are over-the-counter medications that contain benzyl peroxide
and/or salicylic acid, and usually are very effective, Day says. "For many
patients, this might be all the treatment that's needed, particularly if
breakouts are not causing scarring."
Pore-cleansers are even more effective if you find two or three products you
like and rotate them every two to three months, Crutchfield says.
"You can actually build a resistance to treatment. Essentially, the acne
outsmarts the medicine and the breakout begins again, but rotating products can
often solve that problem," he says.