Sometimes, a single product is not enough to have the desired effect on acne. In such cases, dermatologists may prescribe a combination of products for use in tandem. The aim of the treatment is to normalize shedding into the pore to prevent blockage and kill the bacteria that cause the problem. Additionally, the product used must provide anti-inflammatory relief to the skin and manipulate the patient's hormonal balance in the skin.

Acne skin care products can cause severe allergic reactions in patients who are sensitive to some ingredients. These ingredients can have rather unpleasant side effects, and products containing such active ingredients should not be used without medical supervision. They can have dangerous interactions with existing medication and may even make the acne worse. A dermatologist must analyze the patient's problem before he can prescribe the correct product.

One of the most radical products used in acne treatment is exfoliating agents. These slough off a thin layer of the affected skin (containing dead skin cells) that block the underlying pores. They also have an unclogging effect on pores that are already blocked. They contain strong chemicals such as salicylic acid and glycolic acid. These products are available over the counter, so a doctor's prescription is not required to buy them. They usually contain moisturizing agents to offset the exfoliating compound's dehydrating effects.

Topical creams, gels, soaps, and face washes containing benzoyl peroxide that kills bacteria are also available. These should be used on the skin twice or thrice a day. Along with killing bacteria, benzoyl peroxide has a keratolytic effect, too. It dissolves the keratin that plugs the skin's pores. Unfortunately, acne skin care products containing this chemical can cause the skin to dry out radically. To prevent this, the concentration of benzoyl peroxide should not exceed 2.5%. A non-comedogenic moisturizer should be used to combat excessive skin dryness.

Topical antibiotics such as erythromycin, clindamycin, doxycycline, minocycline or lymecycline, and tetracycline can also have a beneficial bacteria-killing effect in acne. Applying antibiotic creams is sometimes preferable to oral antibiotic treatment, since the patient will not suffer possible side effects. Oral antibiotics can be effective in treating acne, but these should be prescribed by a doctor.

Topical retinoids have the effect of normalizing the skin's follicles and can be very effective in taking care of acne. Such retinoids include tretinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene. The dermatologist must ensure that the patient does not suffer skin irritation with these. If this occurs, the patient may switch to a milder retinoid called Retinol. This compound is present in many popular moisturizers and does not cause skin irritation.
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