Stubborn Acne: When Over-the-Counter Options Fall Short

Stubborn Acne: When Over-the-Counter Options Fall Short

As a Chapel Hill dermatologist, I see a lot of college-aged men and women who can’t believe they are still struggling with acne that started when they hit puberty. The truth is that many people fight acne well into adulthood. Fortunately, there are numerous medical-grade treatments available when over-the-counter options just don’t cut it.

Acne occurs when pores become clogged, obstructing hair follicles and creating the perfect environment for an overgrowth of bacteria. Once this happens, follicles become inflamed and acne erupts.

Over-the-counter products can be beneficial in treating minor outbreaks, but when acne is more severe or longer lasting, I recommend a prescription-strength product such as the following:

  • One of the best products for combatting chronic acne is retinoids. These topical products increase cell turnover by peeling away a layer of the dermis and removing the obstruction; they also prevent new obstructions from forming.
  • Another solution for treating stubborn acne is with oral or topical antibiotics. Oral antibiotics help kill bacteria while reducing inflammation. Topical antibiotics work in the same way, but they also keep the pores open to prevent any further clogging.
  • Another option patients can get from certified dermatologists that they won’t find at the corner drugstore is hormone therapy. Acne is often spurred by hormonal changes, especially for women during menstruation, so regulating those hormones can help curb outbreaks.

Quit wasting your time and money on over-the-counter products that aren’t doing the trick. Talk to a qualified dermatologist about stronger options that might work best for your skin conditions.

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