But is the pill a safe, effective method to clear up skin? We spoke to New York-based dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman and Meg Richichi, MS, LAc and an integrative women’s health practitioner, to find out just what’s going on in your Differin Gel Acne Treatment when you take the pill and how it affects your skin.
Sulfur has been used in treating acne for thousands of years, and in the 1950s, it became available in a foam product designed for direct application to the skin. Can sulfur work on acne? Sulfur dries out the skin, consequently drying out and shrinking pimples. It tends to be gentler than Benzoyl Peroxide treatments, and is less likely to dehydrate the skin, which would result in further irritation.
Antibiotics. For moderate to severe acne, you may need oral antibiotics to reduce bacteria and fight inflammation. Usually the first choice for treating acne is tetracycline — such as minocycline or doxycycline — or a macrolide.
The most popular over-the-counter products, such as Proactiv, contain benzoyl peroxide but at lower concentrations than most prescription-strength products. Proactiv, a system of cleansing products in which benzoyl peroxide 2.5% is the active ingredient, is claimed to enhance compliance by providing a cosmetically elegant product that also minimizes irritation. The makers of Proactiv also market Gentle Formula, which replaces benzoyl peroxide with salicylic acid for people with allergy or intolerance. There have been few studies assessing the efficacy of the Proactiv system. In one open-label study of 23 patients with mild to moderate acne, inflammatory lesions were reduced by 39% in patients using a combination of butenifine (an allylamine) and benzoyl peroxide compared with 34% in those using Proactiv.18
This bad boy is a triple threat. Not only does it cool your skin down, it also reduces the inflammation of pimples and removes the oiliness from your skin. Apart from buying aloe vera gel from organic markets and drug stores, you can also make your own one.4
Transient increases in liver enzymes can occur in people taking isotretinoin.17 These increases are usually mild and benign and will resolve upon cessation of isotretinoin. If liver transaminases are > 2.5 times the upper limit of normal, investigation of possible causes of liver dysfunction (e.g. viral hepatitis, alcoholism) is required and it is recommended that isotretinoin is stopped. Patients should be advised of the risk of drinking alcohol in excess while taking isotretinoin.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t just get acne scars from picking at your pimples. According to Dr. Whitney Bowe, there are acne lesions that are prone to scarring — even if you leave them completely alone.
Although treatment with isotretinoin has numerous potential minor side effects in patients of all ages, an uncommon complication in young patients is premature epiphyseal closure.38 This generally occurs when isotretinoin is administered in high doses, thus limiting long-term therapy.
It’s also important to wash your hair daily if it’s oily, and avoid oily gels. You want to keep oil off your face. Plus, you need to take care during sports. Wash your face after you’ve been exercising. Anything that holds sweat on your skin — like a baseball cap or a helmet — can make acne worse. So wipe down your helmet chinstraps with alcohol after use. If you have pimples on your body, take off your sweaty clothes right after sports and jump in the shower.
Treatment with isotretinoin often results in prolonged clearance of acne, which can be permanent for some patients. A course of treatment generally lasts about 4 to 5 months. It can run shorter or longer.
“Stress doesn’t create skin disease on its own, but it can make any existing issues worse,” says Beth McLellan, MD, a dermatologist at NYU Langone’s Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health in New York City. Researchers haven’t established just why stomach-churning anxiety creates skin blemishes, but they point the finger at stress hormones such as cortisol for increasing inflammation levels in the body and stimulating oil glands. In any case, managing stress through exercise, meditation, or whatever method helps calm your nerves may also calm your skin. (See which type of meditation best suits your personality.)
D There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
Topical (externally applied) antibiotics and antibacterials: These include erythromycin (E-Mycin, Eryc, Ery-Tab, PCE, Pediazole, Ilosone), clindamycin (BenzaClin, Duac), sulfacetamide (Klaron), and azelaic acid (Azelex or Finacea).
When you use a product for acne, be sure to follow the directions exactly. Don’t use more than you’re supposed to because this can make your skin very red and very dry. It’s also good to try just a little bit at first to be sure that you’re not allergic to the product. Don’t give up if you don’t see results the next day. Acne medicine can take weeks or months to work.
Sulfur is mildly antimicrobial antibicrobial, and it is used in acne products to prevent P. acnes growth. Sulfur also helps keep the surface of the skin dry of oils and actually helps peel off this layer of skin, which is already dead. Many acne-fighting medicines use sulfur, including Clearasil, the Proactiv Refining Mask, and Murad.
The sebaceous glands or oil glands are where the acne form. These glands are more developed on the face, neck, scalp, and chest. Also, the face is more exposed to pollution and bacteria compared to the rest of the body. Both these factors work together to make acne mainly affect the face.
Having pimples can make you feel insecure at times. However, you can still be beautiful with pimples. Take steps to get your breakouts under control while you emphasize all of the other wonderful things about you. Remember that acne does not stop you from being beautiful because beauty begins from the inside out.
You may know that basil leaves are used for cooking. But do you know that it has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can be used to get rid of pimples? In fact, research has shown that basil is very effective in the treatment of some bacteria that has developed resistance to antibiotics. Basil extract controls the swelling of pimples.
Lee SY, Jamal MM, Nguyen ET, Bechtold ML, Nguyen DL. Does exposure to isotretinoin increase the risk for the development of inflammatory bowel disease? A meta-analysis. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016 Feb. 28 (2):210-6. [Medline].
Treating acne requires patience and perseverance. Any of the treatments listed above may take two or three months to start working (even isotretinoin). Unless there are side effects such as excessive dryness or allergy, it is important to give each regimen or drug enough time to work before giving up on it and moving on to other methods. Using modern methods, doctors can help clear up the skin of just about everyone.
Acne is the most common skin disorder in the world. If you suffer from acne, you are not alone and many treatment options are available. Learn more about pimples, blackheads, and comedones with the Acne Quiz.
In 2007, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that glycemic load can greatly affects acne. 43 males with acne, aged 15 to 25, were separated into two groups. For twelve weeks, one group ate a diet that was 25 percent protein and 45 percent low-glycemic carbohydrates. The other group ate carbs without any control of glycemic index, resulting in a higher glycemic diet. At the end of the study, the acne had decreased in the low-glycemic group by almost twice the rate of the high-glycemic group! (17)
If you have a healthy diet but you still have acne and inflammation, get tested for food allergies. Even mild allergies can cause breakouts or leave skin feeling too dry, oily, red or dull. Keep track of how your body feels when you eat. If you have trouble with digestion, have constipation, or experience fatigue then you might have a gluten or dairy sensitivity. A nutritionist can help tailor a diet for you that’s healthier for your body and your skin.
A sunburn that reddens the skin or suntan that darkens the skin may seem to temporarily make blemishes less visible and make the skin feel drier.8 However, these effects are only temporary and there are known risks of excessive sun exposure.8 Remember to always protect your skin with sunscreen, because your skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays every time you go outside.10