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Acne: Are You Doing Anything About It?Acne Treatment by Dermatologists

Acne is a skin disease called acne vulgaris, and can be treated by your doctor. It is best to receive treatment as early as possible to prevent acne scarring. Below is a typical acne treatment process.

Medical examination

When you go for an examination, you will first be asked some questions such as the age at which you first developed acne, where it appears, how the symptoms change, the condition of your bowel movements, your food likes and dislikes, and for women the cycle of your period and degree of menstrual flow. Depending on the doctor, you may be asked to fill out a questionnaire covering these topics before being examined.

What stage is your acne at?

1Comedo

The first stage of acne
A comedo is an enlarged pore blocked with sebum.

2Papule

Acne
A papule is a red, inflamed, solid elevation that makes the skin pimply.

3Pustule

Severe acne
A pustule is a pus-filled inflammatory condition resulting from rupture of the enlarged pore wall.

Photo: Setsuko Nishijima

Medicine suited to treat your personal condition will be prescribed.

Oral medication and topical creams are available. Some people are only given a topical cream.

Oral medication

Oral medication that may be prescribed includes antibiotics (medicine that inhibits bacteria proliferation), medicine to reduce inflammation, medicine to reduce sebum secretion, and medicine to balance hormones. Patients are sometimes given traditional herbal medicines. In most cases, the medicine is taken after meals. Herbal medicines are taken between meals.

Topical creams

Topical creams prescribed have the same purpose as oral medications: inhibiting bacteria proliferation, relieving inflammation, suppressing sebum secretion, and increasing sebum metabolism. The way in which each cream is used may vary; some are applied to the whole face and others are applied only to areas with acne. Usually, creams are applied to clean skin after washing your face.

Once the red acne is gone, is the treatment over?

Even after the red spots are gone, you may be given medication to further improve the area around your pores and prevent a return of acne. Be sure to continue treatment in accordance with your doctor’s advice.