ZocdocAnswersWhat should I do if I am still dealing with acne problems?

Question

What should I do if I am still dealing with acne problems?

I got acne when I was a teen like when I hit puberty. Now I am almost 22 and it is still a problem on my face and neck. What can I do? I thought I would outgrow it but it just doesn't seem to want to go away.

Answer

Acne is a problem that some people deal with from their teens all the way into mid adulthood. The good news is that treatment for acne today is very good and there are many options. The treatments for you should be the same as if you were still a teenager. The first line treatment for acne is topical benzoyl peroxide cream. This can be prescription or purchased over the counter. It acts by drying out pores that produce oil, and it helps by killing some bacteria that live in those pores. The second line therapy are topical antibiotics and topical retinoid creams. These act by killing the bacteria responsible for pimples and by breaking up blockages of pores through destroying keratin (respectively). Most people find relief at this point, and some dermatologists or primary care physicians will even place their patients on an oral antibiotic for some time to really suppress the acne. The final medication that is used as a last resort is isotretinoin. It is extremely effective, but has many side effects. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can prescribe the first line medications, or decide that your acne is severe enough that it must be seen by a dermatologist. Good luck.

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