Acne Treatment News: Acne Treatment Basics

/ July 13th, 2011/ Posted in Other / No Comments »

Acne Treatment Basics

Acne is a common skin condition that causes pimples or zits on the face, chest, back, and other areas. An estimated 60 million people in the United States have acne at some time during their lives. Acne is most common in teenagers, but can be a problem for people of all ages.

The first rule of acne treatment is never to pop or pick at pimples or zits. No matter how clean the skin seems to be, popping a pimple allows bacteria and other germs to get inside the protective surface layer of the skin which in most cases will cause a red spot or bump that will last much longer than the original pimple would have. In general, acne treatments try to deal with one of three basic causes of acne: clogged pores, bacteria on the skin, and excess oil production by glands in the skin.

Open clogged pores
There are many products available that claim to open pores. It’s important to remember that if you have acne, your skin is sensitive and needs to be treated gently. Choose mild a mild cleanser that won’t dry out your skin. Some products contain fine granules that act as a mild scrub or a low concentration of salicylic acid that acts as a mild peeling agent to help open pores. Be sure to wash skin once or twice a day, especially after exercising and after wearing makeup to remove sweat and other substances that can clog the pores.

Control bacteria
Some cleansers that are available over-the-counter (OTC) contain antibacterial agents including benzoyl peroxide. Topical products that are applied to the skin include gels, creams, and lotions that may contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, salicylic acid, lactic acid, or other antibacterial agents. You may develop dry, flaky, or irritated skin after using these products. For some people, side effects go away after about a month of use. Others need to stop using the product to cancel the side effect. Also be aware that benzoyl peroxide is a bleach which can cause blotches on colored clothing, towels, carpeting, and other textiles.

Isotretinoin’s Link to IBD: Examining the Evidence

Although no link between isotretinoin therapy and inflammatory bowel disease has been proven, the absolute risk for these disorders in conjunction with treatment appears small.

“We would need to treat 2,977 patients with isotretinoin to observe 1 excess case of ulcerative colitis,” Dr. Catalin Mihai Popescu and her colleagues wrote in a research review (Arch. Dermatol. 2011;147:724-9).

Dr. Popescu, of Colentina Hospital, Bucharest, Romania, and her colleagues reviewed three case-controlled studies that examined the relationship between isotretinoin treatment for acne and the development of irritable bowel disease (IBD) or ulcerative colitis.

“Because the incidence of IBD is very low, randomized controlled trials or prospective cohort studies cannot be performed owing to issues of cost and sample size,” the authors wrote. “The most feasible, quickest, and cheapest approach that can provide the best evidence is a population-based case-control study.”

The studies examined included two led by Dr. S.D. Crockett of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: a review of 12 case reports and 1 case series (Am. J. Gastroenterol. 2009;104:2387-93) and a population-based case-control study (Am. J. Gastroenterol. 2010;105:1986-93). The third study, led by Dr. C.N. Bernstein of the University of Manitoba IBD Clinical and Research Centre, Winnipeg, was also a population-based case-control study (Am. J. Gastroenterol. 2009;104:2274-78).

In their review of case reports, Dr. Crockett and colleagues found 15 cases of IBD among isotretinoin users in seven countries over a 23-year period. Based on this finding, the authors suggested that 59 cases of IBD could occur each year in conjunction with isotretinoin treatment.

In the population-based case control study, Dr. Crockett and colleagues used data from a large insurance claims database of 87 U.S. health plans. The authors found no significant isotretinoin association among patients with diagnostic claims for IBD, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis. When the researchers considered any exposure to the drug, they found that only the risk for ulcerative colitis was significant (odds ratio, 4.36). Higher doses, dose escalation, and longer duration of isotretinoin treatment increased the risk for ulcerative colitis significantly (up to OR 5.63).

Dr. Bernstein and colleagues’ case-control study found 1,960 cases of IBD diagnosed in a Manitoba health database during the period from 1995 to 2007. IBD and ulcerative colitis cases were matched with more than 19,419 controls. Patients with IBD were no more likely than matched controls to have used isotretinoin before diagnosis.

Dr. Popescu and her colleagues noted the quality of the studies was high, but their disparate findings make logical conclusions difficult. Dr. Popescu also suggested that antibiotics could be a possible link between acne treatment and IBD. Before taking isotretinoin, most patients with acne undergo protracted antibiotic treatment.

“A recent population-based case-control study showed that the hazard ratio for developing IBD for any exposure to a tetracycline antibiotic was 1.39,” they wrote. Other antibiotics used for acne treatment were associated with higher risks for Crohn’s disease: HR 2.25 for doxycycline and Crohn’s disease, and 1.61 for tetracycline/oxytetracycline.

“The risk of ulcerative colitis, but not Crohn’s disease, seems to be increased in patients taking isotretinoin,” the authors noted, “but further studies are needed to confirm or refute this finding. Although the absolute risk is very small … dermatologists and their patients should be aware of it, and, if persistent bowel symptoms develop, isotretinoin administration should be discontinued and patients should be referred to a gastroenterologist.”

However, they concluded, “this low absolute risk has to be weighed against the high risk of disfiguring scarring that may result from withholding isotretinoin treatment in patients with severe acne.”

Dr. Popescu reported receiving travel grants and honoraria from numerous pharmaceutical companies that manufacture acne and other dermatologic medications.

From acne treatment to menopause masks, Dr. Ava Shamban’s new book, Heal Your Skin, focuses on beautiful skin throughout life with ingredients that can already be found in your home!

The largest organ in the body, skin plays a huge role in self confidence and it is what most use to gauge the aging process. While genetics play a big part in determining the quality of your skin, there is no reason why you can’t make the effort to attain the most beautiful skin possible, especially with so many of the ingredients to do so already at home!

Recently, dermatologist and author Dr. Ava Shamban visited the set of The Doctors to discuss her new book, Heal Your Skin in which she talks about the importance of holistically treating the skin. Including fitness and nutrition tips, one of the things that Dr. Shamban stresses in her book is that beautiful and healthy skin does not have to cost a lot of money. Focusing on skin care that can be made at home from normal everyday kitchen items, Dr. Shamban shared 3 recipes to make at home for beautiful skin, regardless of life stage.

Acne Spot Treatment
Dr. Shamban calls adult acne “the perfect hormonal storm” and while there are expensive acne treatments available, she recommends making this spot treatment at home. Mixing together a teaspoon of nutmeg and a teaspoon of milk to create a paste, the nutmeg acts as an anti-inflammatory and the milk as an alpha hydroxy to spot treat acne. She recommends leaving the paste on the pimple for at least an hour or sleeping with it on overnight.

Pregnancy Scrub
During pregnancy, many skin issues may arise: more acne breakouts than usual and some women may experience melasma, also known as the pregnancy mask. This hyper-pigmentation occurs across the center of the face and while fractional laser resurfacing procedures may help, Dr. Shamban recommends this all-natural brown sugar scrub. Combine 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar, half a cup of yogurt and whisk it together with egg whites for an all natural scrub for the face.

Menopause Mask
In menopause, hormonal changes can be vast and this also affects the skin. Normal skin could one day feel oily and dry the next as hormones fluctuate. Bioidentical Hormone Replacement may help but Dr. Shamban suggests an at-home remedy, the Menopause Mask that might help with some of those skin issues. Combining 1 teaspoon of honey, a liquid form of acai berry, yogurt and corn starch to create a mask, Dr. Shamban says honey acts as an antiseptic and an anti-inflammatory agent while acai berry has powerful antioxidant qualities to help calm menopausal skin.

Dr. Shamban’s book Heal Your Skin covers skin care through several stages of life while looking at the importance of nutrition and fitness. She firmly believes that your skin is an accurate barometer of what you’re eating and how stressed out you are as well as how you treat your skin. Heal Your Skin not only provides at home tips on how to treat your skin issues, it is also full of tips on how to improve skin from the inside out.

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