Acne is a common skin condition with various types and complexity. Explore the acne medication available for treatment and which acne scar treatment to consider.

What is Acne?

Acne is a common skin issue, affecting both males and females, with a somewhat higher occurrence in women. It often starts in the teenage years, with the peak between 15 and 24 years, and can persist into adulthood, requiring ongoing treatment.

Acne varies in forms, including whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, and nodules, and different people experience different types. It’s possible to have mild, consistent acne, occasional outbreaks, or severe cases affecting larger body areas. Acne medication treatment options vary depending on the type of acne and its severity.

Information on Acne

Treatments for Acne

Maintaining a proper skin care routine can prevent inflammation and acne scarring. This includes daily face washing, sunscreen use, makeup removal before bed, and a balanced diet with exercise for healthy skin.

Acne is mild when there are occasional minor breakouts. Individuals with mild acne have a few blackheads, whiteheads or papules and don’t get large areas of red, inflamed skin or scarring. Mild acne can be treated at home with over the counter topical acne treatments to remove excess oil and dead skin cells.

Benzoyl peroxide kills the bacteria that causes acne and helps remove excess oil from the skin. It is available in 2.5% to 10% in strength with the lower strength being as effective as the highest. Consider starting with the lower concentration to avoid side effects such as dry skin, irritation, and gradually increase the strength if needed. 

Adapalene is a topical retinoid which helps prevent new breakouts and unclog pores. Differin gel (Adapalene) is at a strength of 0.1% and should not be applied to skin with a cut, wound or rash. 

Salicylic Acid also helped to prevent new breakouts from occurring. These products are available in strengths from 0.5%-2%, in a cleanse and wash formulation or an overnight leave on. 

Azelaic acid helps prevent pores from becoming clogged. It also had antibacterial properties. It can help clear dark spots that may form after acne clears.

Treating acne with topical non-prescription medication may take 2-3 months of daily use before results can be seen. It is normal for acne to worsen before it gets better. Other procedures like chemical peels, facials and microdermabrasion, can be beneficial and require regular sessions to notice improvements.

In cases where above acne medications do not work or are not sufficient, the doctor may add another medication on the treatment plan. Prescription antibiotic creams can reduce infection and inflammation in pimples/nodules, retinoids help remove the whiteheads and blackheads. 

Oral Antibiotics will treat the bacteria causing acne. The first choice of treating acne is tetracycline or a macrolide. The latter is reserved for individuals who cannot tolerate tetracyclines or in pregnant women or children under 8 years. They should be used for the shortest time possible to prevent antibiotic resistance and should still be combined with other medications. 

Anti-androgen medicine blocks the hormone by blocking the effect of oil-producing glands. The possible side effects include breast tenderness and painful periods. 

Contraceptive pills may help control acne in women who also wish to use them for contraception. The benefit of these may not be seen for months and side effects such as weight gain and nausea are common.

Isotretinoin is a retinoid, a derivative of vitamin A, and can help treat severe acne. It may be prescribed as a last option due to its risk of side effects such as severe birth defects or depression. 

Acne scar treatment

In addition to the mentioned acne medications, certain therapies can be beneficial. Starting with general skin care to prevent scarring and minimize the contrast between scarred and unscarred skin is crucial. Light-based therapy and chemical peels have shown some success in enhancing skin appearance.

For stubborn scars, a combination of treatments may be necessary. Soft tissue fillers made of collagen or fat can reduce scar visibility, and procedures like laser therapy and dermabrasion are increasingly popular for severe acne scars. Collaborating with a team of healthcare professionals ensures the best approach for optimal skin results. Consult a doctor for your skin care needs and receive timely effective treatment.

Consult a doctor


Adult acne treatment dermatologists recommend (