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.
What works for one person may not work for another.
A dermatologist’s help may be required.
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 required. 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 practitioner.
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.