Acne Medication: Overview of The Types of Treatments Available

The problem with having acne is that it is the first thing that people will see. It really doesn’t matter if you have the most beautiful eyes, highly proportioned face or ruby red lips. People you have just met will refer to you as that girl or that boy with a colony of zits on the face. Furthermore, acne, especially the very big ones, leaves pockmarks and scars that can be permanent.

If you have acne, however, you don’t have to fret and hide in the corner. Nowadays, you have a wide variety of acne medications to choose from. Moreover, you can surely find an acne medication regardless of the type and severity of your acne.

Here is the list of the type of acne medications that is available on the market today:

Topical Acne Medications

Visit your local drug store, or even convenience store, and you will find a wide array of creams, gels, lotions, and other topical treatments for acne. These over-the-counter acne medications are usually for mild to moderate types of acne.

The common active ingredients that topical acne medications contain are sulfur, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, resorcinol or lactic acid. If you find that these medications do not work on your acne, it is time for you to visit a doctor, preferable a skin or acne specialist, so that you will be given prescription for a stronger type of topical acne medication.

Adapalene and Tretinoin are some of the active ingredients of the more potent topical creams. These two chemicals are derived from Vitamin A. These types of topical lotions or creams usually work by preventing hair follicles from clogging, which is the main reason for the development of acne, and hastening of cell regeneration.

If your acne is severe, your doctor might prescribe the use of topical antibiotics. These medications are aimed at killing or eliminating skin bacteria. Usually, topical antibiotics are used in conjunction with other acne medications.


Acne problems that are severe usually need the help of oral antibiotics to help fight off the bacteria that are causing the breakout and ease the inflammation. You should never take oral or topical antibiotics without prescription. Usually, oral antibiotics are taken for weeks or months.

Oral Contraceptives

Women who have acne can take advantage of oral contraceptives to improve their acne condition. Usually contraceptives that contain ethinyl estradiol and neogestimate are the ones that are effective pimple fighters. However, since oral contraceptives might have side effects, you need to consult first with your doctor before taking such medications.


For the type of cysts and nodules that antibiotics cannot reach, isotretinoin may be the answer. This is a strong medication that is a last resort treatment for stubborn acne. A lot of people have confirmed the effectiveness of this type of treatment for hard-to-treat acne.

However, it also might have potential side effects. Thus, dermatologists usually closely monitor people who are using this type of acne medication. Some of the adverse effects of isotretinoin are birth defects, triglycerides increase and reproduction problems.

Cosmetic Surgery

Cosmetic surgery is actually more useful in removing or reducing the appearance of the scars or craters from acne infections. Usually, the procedure called dermabrasion is used for the removal of scars on the face. This works by peeling off the top layer of the skin by use of chemicals and equipment.

Whatever type of acne medication you use, it is wise to consult a doctor first so that your treatment will be monitored. Furthermore, it is still best to know what is the underlying cause of your acne breakouts so that you can handle the situation right at its roots.