Physical Treatments for Acne
Mild acne conditions are usually best treated topically with ointments while the more severe cases may be treated many different ways including oral antibiotics, ointments, and physical treatments such as chemical peels and drainage.
Your dermatologist must conduct any physical treatments. This means that you should not be popping your pimples. This can actually exacerbate your acne because it spreads the bacterial around and can lead to scarring. Physical treatments must be done in a sterile environment such as a doctor's office to minimize the risk of infection.
During exfoliation the top layer of skin can be removed either chemically or with abrasion. In a chemical peel, salicylic acid or glycolic acid is used to destroy a microscopic layer of skin cells. This unclogs pores and removes the build-up of dead cells. Abrasive cloth or liquid scrub is also used for the same effect. Glycolic acid treatments require more than one treatment and can be done every two to four weeks over for about six months. Because salicylic acid treatments are milder there are often included in over-the-counter medications and can be used on a daily basis.
Your dermatologist can use sterile instruments to remove comedones (blackheads and whiteheads). Do perform this procedure, your doctor will apply an anesthetic cream in the immediate area. The comedones are extracted using a pen-like instrument which opens the top to allow removal of the plugged skin cells and sebum. Upon completion of the procedure, there is an application of antibiotic cream. Because picking or squeezing pimples can lead to permanent scarring or infection, you should not do this at home.
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