Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Acne Therapy: Yesterday vs. Today

When you were a teenager, did you have problems with acne? In the medical world, it's known as "acne vulgaris." Vulgaris means "common" in Latin. Acne is very common, isn't it? Acne vulgaris affects more than 17 million people in the U.S.. This condition accounts for over 10 percent of all patient encounters with primary care providers and over 4.8 million patient visits per year.

When I was a teen, I knew many people who had problems with acne and they didn't have the option to take Accutane (Isotretinoin) or Retin-A Micro (Tretinoin Gel) back then. Those types of Acne Treatments simply didn't exist. Instead, people used all sorts of over-the-counter washes and products that smelled awful (probably because of the benzoyl peroxide). Fortunately, I wasn't one of them, but now that I'm older, I often wonder: What are the most effective acne treatments? Are certain Acne Products better than others? Even though I'm not a dermatologist, I'm sure they're not all the same.

Serious acne can be very difficult to treat. It can also leave scars. Have you ever tried Resurgence? Perhaps you've seen Joan Lunden describe how her "skin looks better now than it has in 10 years." She's 57 years old, but she doesn't look 57, does she? I wonder if she also uses Acne Body Wash. I'll have to ask her the next time I see her.

So what are the best acne therapies? Systemic therapies can be associated with serious adverse effects. Topical agents work well, but be careful if you're pregnant. Oral isotretinoin and topical tazarotene must never be given to pregnant women. And then you have other topical agents that combine salicylic acid, azelaic acid, and glycolic acid. Maybe we should all go for high-intensity narrow-band blue light therapy called ClearLight. What do you think?

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