Today, virtually every case of acne can
be resolved. The key to getting rid of acne lesions and preventing
new ones from forming lies in knowing that:
Resolution takes time.
Treatments that promise “fast,” miraculous” or “overnight” results
often capture the attention of acne sufferers hoping for quick
resolution. However, the fact remains that acne does not clear
overnight. On average, 6 to 8 weeks are needed to see initial
results. Once acne significantly improves or clears, continued
treatment is needed to keep acne from re-appearing. If acne does not
improve in 6 to 8 weeks, treatment may need to be adjusted as not
every acne treatment clears every case of acne.
What works for one person may not
work for another. What is an appropriate treatment for one
person may not clear another’s acne because many factors affect
resolution, including the cause(s) of the acne, a person’s skin type
and the kind of acne lesions present.
A dermatologist’s help may be
With so many factors
affecting clearance and a multitude of treatment options available
(some only by prescription), a dermatologist’s help can make a
difference. Before prescribing treatment, dermatologists consider
several factors, including the severity of the acne, types of
lesions present, co-existing conditions, as well as the patient’s
age, skin type, lifestyle and motivation.
The knowledge gained from considering
these factors allows dermatologists to create effective
individualized therapy that will resolve the patient’s acne over
time and prevent new lesions from forming.
Sometimes a dermatologist may combine
two or more treatment options. A patient may be instructed to use
one medication in the morning and the other at night. Or, two
medications may be combined in one prescription medication. Due to
possible side effects, over-the-counter medications should not be
combined unless directed by a dermatologist or other medical
Acne responds especially well to early
treatment. Dermatologists recommend that acne be treated early to
maximize effectiveness as well as help prevent scarring.
Thiboutot, D. “New Treatments and Therapeutic Strategies for Acne.”
Archives of Family Medicine 2000: 9:179-187.
content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology