Once you’ve decided it’s time to do something about it, here are the next plausible steps to take.
1 GO FOR CREAMS
There are three types to consider…
Benzoyl peroxide: You can buy these easily over the counter. The more popular ones are Oxy-5 and Oxy-10 – also known as an antiseptic, they’re used to kill the germs in angry, red, pus-filled spots.
Antibiotic gel: Also used to treat spots, it’s nevertheless said that your skin may build up a resistance to it over time.
Retinoid: This is mainly used to reduce oil production and dry out the skin.
2 NEXT UP IS ANTIBIOTICS
If the creams aren’t enough to help with your problem, the next step would be to take antibiotic tablets, which are safe and cheap. The more common one is known as doxycycline. Most people are averse to the idea as they’d have to go on a three-month course of this, but rest assured the antibiotics prescribed are specifically for acne – they’re not the same as those given for other infections.
Did you know?
You shouldn’t use the same antibiotics for more than six months as you’ll grow resistant to it. This resistance will, however, disappear after a period of time – the bacteria will lose its intelligence and become sensitive once more. In this sense, a possible solution is cyclical antibiotics (switching back and forth between types).
Are there side effects?
There have been a few reports of gastric problems, but it’s generally very, very safe.
What’s the downside?
This isn’t a cure – when you stop the antibiotics, your acne will most probably come back, especially if you start antibiotics around the age of 13 or 14. That would leave you with a few more years of volatile skin and potential hormonal acne. But if you were to take antibiotics towards the end of your teenage years, the acne may disappear completely.
3 THE LAST STEP IS ACCUTANE
Accutane is essentially retinoid in oral form and similarly, it will help dry out the skin. However, before going on Accutane, it’s important to look at several factors – primarily mental health. You have to be very, very careful with this medication as although there has been no scientific proof, it’s been well-documented to affect mental health, even being linked to depression and suicidal thoughts. It’s also important to note that the dosage of Accutane in Malaysia (and the most of Asia) differs from the standard dosage – which is meant to be 1 milligram per kilogram of body weight. For example, if someone weighs 60kg, they’d have to take 60mg – but in Malaysia, most people use 10 to 20mg. The standard dose is still followed strictly in some European countries where the people are bigger-sized. The cause for this is unknown, but it could be due to high costs. If we were to follow the original prescription, that would cost us RM9 per 20mg – that would mean RM30 a day over a six-month period, which is not sustainable. While it is at a lower dose, it still works and the plus side is that the side effects are not as drastic.
Important to note:
Accutane can cause deformities in babies ( not infertility) and as such, the prevention of pregnancies through using contraceptives is crucial. You’d have to stop taking Accutane for a minimum of five weeks before trying to conceive.