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Teen Acne: Prescription Treatments for Acne


Many teens and their parents are concerned about the possible psychological effects of isotretinoin. What’s the connection? Experts say that there have been a number of people using isotretinoin who had severe depression and attempted suicide. But no one knows whether the medicine was really the cause. The fact is that depression is more common in people with acne, regardless of the treatment.

Parents, if you notice that your son or daughter is having mood swings, seeming down or angry, or losing interest in friends or the things that he or she usually enjoys, schedule an appointment with the doctor.

Hormonal treatments. Some teen girls have acne that’s linked to hormones called androgens. To treat this sort of acne, a doctor might recommend birth control pills or spironolactone. Side effects of hormonal treatments for acne include irregular periods, tender breasts, headaches, blood clots, high blood pressure, and fatigue.

Teen Acne: Tips for Prescription Acne Treatment

Take the acne treatment as prescribed. It's important to stick to the doctor’s acne treatment. Make it a part of the daily routine. Leave the medicine out where you can see it, instead of tucking it away in a medicine cabinet. If it helps, use notes or alarms as reminders.

Stop using other acne treatments. If a doctor has prescribed an acne treatment, don't also use other treatments or home remedies. They’re unlikely to help and they could even make the acne worse.

Stick with it. Acne treatment won’t work immediately. It can take six to eight weeks before you see some benefit. It may take as long as six months to clear the skin altogether.

Do your part. Follow the doctor’s skin care advice, particularly when it comes to cleansing and using moisturizer. Avoid oil-based makeup and hair products, since they can plug up the pores and aggravate acne. And though it can be hard, resist the temptation to pop zits or pick at them - it can lead to infection and scarring.

Work with a doctor. If treatment isn’t working, don't give up. It may take some time to hit on the right approach. Schedule an appointment with a doctor to discuss other options. Remember: With the right treatment, almost every case of acne can be cured.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on February 29, 2016



American Academy of Dermatology: “Acne.”

American Academy of Dermatology’s AcneNet web site: “12 Ways to Get Better Results from Acne Treatment,” “Prescription Medications for Treating Acne,” “When to see a dermatologist,” “Psst...Topical Acne Medication Can Clear Acne,” “Treating Severe Acne.”

American Academy of Family Physician’s web site: “Acne in Teens: Ways to Control It.”

American Academy of Pediatrics: “Teen Q&A: Acne.”

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “Acne.”


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