Skin Therapy Letter HOME
Written for dermatologists by dermatologists. Indexed by the US National Library of Medicine.
Skin Information
NETWORK
Skin Therapy Letter About STL Subscribe Today SkinCareGuide Network Site Map
CUSTOM DERMATOLOGY SEARCH:
Loading

Acne Treatment: Understand Your Patient's Options

Understanding Your Patient's Acne Treatment Options:

There are two main methods of acne treatment that you can follow, which are topical treatment and oral treatment. Before selecting treatment, you must have a solid understanding about acne, and you must determine the exact type of acne that your patient has. In addition to this, it is also important to set goals for your patient's acne treatment.

Here are some points to keep in mind when thinking about acne, and when selecting the best acne medication for your patient.

Goals Of Acne Treatment:

You should understand how much acne and what type of acne your patient has, to stop new acne blemishes from developing with appropriate treatment.

To treat acne scars and prevent new scars from forming, points you should remember:

  • You can control and cover the visible lesions and avoid embarrassment
  • Treatment is available that can prevent acne scarring
  • You should get help for your patient's acne as soon as you notice it
  • Early treatment minimizes the severity of acne

This is important especially if one of your patient's parents have had severe acne. Treatment may last for months and often years, you should understand that improvement can be slow, and will often take months (not weeks) to work. There may even be an initial flare of your patient's acne.

Points To Remember For Selecting the Best Acne Treatment for Your Patient:

  • The severity level of your patient's acne
  • Your patient's personal goals for therapy
  • The effectiveness of the treatment and possible side effects
  • Your patient's personal preferences

Other Circumstances Specific To Girls And Women:

Pregnancy:
Is it possible your patient could become pregnant during treatment, or is she already pregnant?

Breastfeeding:
Will she be breastfeeding during treatment?

Is she in the childbearing age range?

The Acne Treatment That You Select Will Depend On The Factors Listed Below:

  • The severity of your patient's condition
  • The type of acne (comedonal vs. inflamed) lesions your patient has
  • Any previous experience your patient has had (and their skinís response) to other treatments
  • The degree of oiliness or sensitivity of your patient's skin
  • Any history your patient may have of sensitive skin or extreme irritation to specific products

Note: Acne may flare in the initial stages of treatment. However, this is not necessarily an indication of unsuitable treatment. On average, your patient is likely to see about a 20% improvement per month.

Acne Stage:

Minimal, mild, moderate, severe
Few comedones
Rare papules, few papules, many papules
No nodules/scars, few pustules, many pustules
Face only, no nodules, no nodules on the face
Scars uncommon, scars may be present, scars on face/chest and back

Acne Treatment:

Minimal, mild, moderate, severe
Acne cleansers
OTC treatments
Topical retinoids, topical retinoids
Topical benzoyl peroxide
Topical antibiotics
Oral antibiotics
Hormone pills
Oral retinoids for acne scarring
(Isotretinion or Accutane)