The New Zealand approved datasheet is the official source of information for prescription medicines, including approved uses and risk information. Check the New Zealand datasheet on the Medsafe website.
Herbal, organic, and “natural” medications. There are many herbal, organic, and natural products marketed to treat or prevent acne. The effectiveness of these agents isn’t proven and they are unlikely to have much benefit.
Isotretinoin: Accutane was the original brand name; there are now several generic versions in common use, including Sotret, Claravis, and Amnesteem. Isotretinoin is an excellent treatment for severe, scarring, persistent acne and has been used on millions of patients since it was introduced in Europe in 1971 and in the U.S. in 1982. It should be used for people with severe acne, chiefly of the cystic variety, that has been unresponsive to conventional therapies like those listed above. If taken in sufficient dosage, it should eliminate the need to continue the use of prescription drugs in most patients. The drug has many potential serious side effects and requires a number of unique controls before it is prescribed. This means that isotretinoin is not a good choice for people whose acne is not that severe but who are frustrated and want “something that will knock acne out once and for all.” In order to use the drug, the prescribing physician, the patient, and the supplying pharmacy must be enrolled in the online “iPLEDGE PROGRAM.” Used properly, isotretinoin is safe and produces few side effects beyond dry lips and occasional muscle aches. This drug is prescribed for five to six months at a dosage that has a high likelihood of preventing the return of acne. Fasting blood tests are monitored monthly to check liver function and the level of triglycerides, substances related to cholesterol, which often rise a bit during treatment but rarely to the point at which treatment has to be modified or stopped.
^ Jump up to: a b Rolfe, HM (December 2014). “A review of nicotinamide: treatment of skin diseases and potential side effects”. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (Review). 13 (4): 324–8. doi:10.1111/jocd.12119. PMID 25399625.
I see countless families in turmoil thanks to fighting over acne drugs. It usually looks like this: a teenager with chronic pimples and deep, cystic acne is “dying” to go on a strong medication such as isotretinoin. The parents flat-out refuse due to the dangerous side effects. The teen, already insecure and depressed because of the acne, is now also irate with the parents. Luckily, there’s an alternative.
Considerations: Benzoyl peroxide is able to produce complete clearing of acne only when used in an adequate dosage and within a properly applied benzoyl peroxide regimen. Some dryness, redness, and itchiness is to be expected in the first few weeks of use.6Scientists call this initial period the “hardening effect” of benzoyl peroxide. About 1-3% of people are allergic to benzoyl peroxide and experience an inflammation of the skin or severe crusting.3This should not be confused with the “hardening effect” of benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide, like any other peroxide, can bleach hair and fabric.1
Garner Eady A, Bennett C, Newton JN, Thomas K, Popescu CM. Minocycline for acne vulgaris: efficacy and safety. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Aug 15;8:CD002086. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD002086.pub2. Review. PubMed PMID: 22895927.
“This type of treatment is focused on teenagers, who usually have a period of a year to four years when they’re breaking out because of changing hormone levels and increased oil production, and in some cases, genetics,” says Amy Taub, MD, founder and medical director of Advanced Dermatology in Lincolnshire, IL. Taub is also an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
His second suggestion: Wear sunscreen. “It doesn’t matter if it’s sunny or cloudy,” Lortscher says. “If you plan to spend time outdoors, protect your skin from the sun. Ultraviolet rays cause damage to your skin and can increase the appearance of acne and acne scars.” If you don’t want to lather on the dense sunblock that you’d apply everywhere during the summer, try an SPF-packed daily moisturizer, like Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20.
Goldsmith LA, Bolognia JL, Callen JP et al. “American Academy of Dermatology Consensus Conference on the safe and optimal use of isotretinoin: summary and recommendations.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2004; 50: 900-6.
Wear sunscreen everyday and do not tan. Ultraviolet Radiation is the number one cause of premature aging. It also leads to skin cancer in high enough doses. Treat the sun like the death ray that it is. Exposing your skin to harmful UVA and UVB rays damages skin and prolongs post inflammatory erythema(PIE)–red acne marks, as the sunlight stimulates pigment-producing cells.