Topical antiacne drugs
TOPICAL ANTIACNE DRUGS
TOPICAL ANTIACNE DRUGS – INTRODUCTION
Acne is a skin disorder that leads to an outbreak of lesions called pimples or “zits.” The most common form of the disease in adolescents is called acne vulgaris. Antiacne drugs are the medicines that help clear up the pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and more severe forms of lesions that occur when a teen has acne.
TOPICAL ANTIACNE DRUGS – INDICATION
Antiacne drugs are medicines that help clear up pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and more severe forms of acne.
TOPICAL ANTIACNE DRUGS – INFORMATION
The recommended dosage depends on the type of antiacne drug. These drugs usually come with written directions for patients and should be used only as directed. Patients who have questions about how to use the medicine should check with a physician or pharmacist.
Different types of antiacne drugs are used for different treatment purposes, depending on the severity of the condition. For example, lotions, soaps, gels, and creams containing substances called benzoyl peroxide or tretinoin may be used to clear up mild to moderately severe acne. Isotretinoin (Accutane) is an oral drug that is prescribed only for very severe, disfiguring acne.
Acne is caused by the overproduction of sebum during puberty when high levels of the male hormone androgen cause excess sebum to form. Sebum is an oily substance that forms in glands just under the surface of the skin called sebaceous glands. Sebum normally flows out hair follicles onto the skin to act as a natural skin moisturizer. The glands are connected to hair follicles that allow the sebum, or oil, to empty onto the skin through a pore.
Sometimes the sebum combines with dead, sticky skin cells and bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) that normally live on the skin. The mixture of oil and cells allows the bacteria to grow in the follicles. When this happens, a hard plug called a comedo can form. A comedo is an enlarged hair follicle. It can appear on the skin as a blackhead, which is a comedo that reaches the skin’s surface and looks black, or as a whitehead, which is a comedo that is sealed by keratin, the fibrous protein produced by the skin cells and looks like a white bump.
In addition, pimples can form on the skin. Types of pimples include:
- papules, which are small, red bumps that may be tender to touch
- pustules, which are pus-filled lesions that are often red at the base
- nodules, which are large, painful lesions deep in the skin
- cysts, which are painful pus-filled lesions deep in the skin that can cause scarring
Pimples form when the follicle is invaded by the P. acnes bacteria. The damaged follicle weakens and bursts open, releasing sebum, bacteria, skin cells, and white blood cells into surrounding tissues. Scarring happens when new skin cells are created to replace the damaged cells. The most severe type of acne includes both nodules and cysts.