Acne control usually takes the form of topical application products containing benzoyl peroxide. The problem is that this compound can be a major skin irritant. Peroxide is an oxidant that can damage healthy skin tissue. Though such applications are very effective in acne control, the user should weight the pros and cons of using benzoyl peroxide-based products carefully before actually prescribing them. It is best to consult a dermatologist for this.

Many dermatologists also favor tretinoin, since it has a dermabrasive (i.e. skin peeling) effect. This causes the skin’s pores to decongest. Invariably, tretinoin aggravates the acne before it begins to clear it up. Some unpleasant side effects like temporary pigment changes and flushing, stinging, swelling and scaling of skin can also occur with trenitoin. This are expected side effects and there is no call for panic unless the symptoms do not go away. Tretinoin-based acne control products are available in the form of gels, lotions and creams for topical application. Using them regularly can produce favorable results in less than a month. Tretinoin treatment is for a medically specified period only. Its use should not extend beyond this period.

Another agent commonly used in acne control is adapalene gel. Adapalene works by keeping skin pores clear and unobstructed. Adapalene-based applications are available only by medical prescription. A qualified dermatologist must monitor their use closely. They are beneficial in acne control, but can cause itchiness, scaling, extreme localized dryness and an inflamed appearance. A dermatologist may prescribe oral antibiotics such as doxycycline, tetracycline and monocycline to counter these symptoms. The dermatologist must decide whether the benefits outweigh possible complications like stomach upsets, vertigo and reduced efficacy of birth control pills in women.

Cosmetics are not a valid line of acne control, but they can camouflage an acute acne outbreak. One must remember, however, that any kind of topically applied oil-based compound will aggravate acne. This especially applies to foundation creams, the longest lasting of which are generally oil-based (or oleaginous). Specifically, the ingredients to avoid include isopropyl myristate, isopropyl esters, oleic acid, stearic acid, petrolatum and lanolin. Lower quality cosmetic brands will not mention the presence or absence of such compounds on the label. It is not wise to use these. Alcohol-based cosmetics are preferable to oil-based ones. The best bets are water-based cosmetics. They do not provide camouflage as long as oil-based cosmetics, but are far more suitable and less harmful in acne.
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