Acne Dermatology Treatment: Assessment to Accutane

Acne is a common skin condition that targets teenagers and adults. Characterized by clogged pores, whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, cysts, and/or nodules, acne can permanently damage both the skin and the self-esteem. Almost 100% of 12-17 year olds will experience at least one acne pimple or breakout. Some may experience only minor acne as teenagers but develop moderate to severe adult acne in their 30s and 40s. Hormonal changes, stress, improper diet, and heredity are all factors that influence the onset of acne. Chronic acne sufferers may be able to maintain their acne with over-the-counter acne treatments, daily cleansing routines, and maintaining healthy diets that include drinking adequate amounts of water. For severe cases of acne, dermatology treatment may be necessary to keep breakouts under control.

When to See a Dermatologist

There is a wide array of skincare products available for purchase at drugstores, on the Internet, and through television shopping networks. Product lines such as Murad, Proactiv, Neutrogena, and Clearasil are well-known names in acne treatment. Acne and it causes are unique to everyone, so finding an over-the-counter remedy may be a study in trial and error. For a teenager facing ridicule in high school or a young adult entering the workforce, putting your "best face forward" is imperative and time-sensitive. If acne does not respond after several months of using over-the-counter treatments, it may be time to visit a dermatologist.

Acne dermatology treatment involves several steps. At the initial appointment, the dermatologist will perform an overall physical assessment including a health history. The doctor may order additional blood work or other tests to rule out medical causes for acne. Based on the type, severity, and frequency of acne, a cleansing routine may be advised and specific topical soaps, creams, or lotions may be prescribed. Moderate to severe acne cases can benefit from oral prescription acne dermatology treatment. The dermatologist may begin the patient on an antibiotic such as Tetracycline or Erythromycin. If antibiotics are not effective after a period of three to six months, Accutane may be prescribed.

Of all the acne dermatology treatment, Accutane is the most controversial. This retinoid has been known to cause birth defects and suicidal ideation and many dermatologists refuse to prescribe it to certain patient populations such as women of child-bearing age or anyone with a history of depression. Accutane, when effective, has been called a "cure" for acne. A four to six month cycle of the medication effectively clears up acne for over 60% of acne sufferers for good. In some, a second six-month treatment may be necessary to end residual breakouts. It is no wonder that this drug is highly the most greatly desired and despised acne dermatology treatment.