- Topical antibacterial medications such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid work by killing the bacteria causing the pimple and drying out the infected pore. These are available over the counter, or in prescription form for more severe cases.
- Oral and topical antibiotics may be moderately to very effective for some patients.
- If your acne that flares at that time of the month, certain birth control pills may offer relief. Some doctors prescribe spironolactone instead. Spironolactone is a diuretic (pill that makes you pee) with hormonal activity.
- For more severe cases, topical tretinoin and oral isotretinoin (Retin-A) are available as well. Retin-A is pretty nasty as far as side effects go, though, and it’s so dangerous in pregnancy that menstruating women are required by law to have pregnancy tests regularly. Your doctor will also need to monitor your liver pretty closely.
- Some cosmetic procedures can also yield great results for getting rid of acne scars – especiallyphotodynamic therapy.
From a naturopathic perspective, many of these treatments are considered suppressive. That means toxic waste products that were otherwise escaping through the skin instead get shoved deeper into the body and cause damage elsewhere.
That said, it’s a cost/benefit analysis – a lot of teens may think the suppression is worth it, as long as these treatments get rid of their acne (and certainly, emotional trauma isn’t good for your health either!).
But is there a better way?