Teenage Acne Medications and Creams

Dr. Jan Dank, MD, discusses teenage acne medications and creams.

Loading the player...

Dr. Jan Dank, MD, discusses teenage acne medications and creams.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Jan Dank, MD

Duration: 2 minutes    

Most people know they have acne when they have acne.  

They can seek out over-the-counter treatments. Over-the-counter treatments include salicylic acid washes, as well as benzoyl peroxides. Benzoyl peroxide can be in the form of a wash or a leave-on product like a lotion, cream or gel.  

If used consistently, these medications can treat a lot of the milder forms of acne, and you should be – you should seek them out. However, they have to be used consistently to get good results.  

A major frustration teenagers have with acne is lack of good control, but a lot of that comes from inconsistent use of the medication. To get good control of acne, you have to use your medications consistently and daily. This is true of over-the-counter medications and it’s true of prescription medicines.  

Prescription medications are available to treat acne. They usually start with a combination of a medicine called a topical retinoid, which will be aimed at preventing those blackheads and whiteheads – and either a topical or an oral antibiotic that will be aimed at controlling the pimples and the zits.  

The topical retinoids work slowly, and you have to know that when you start them. It often takes about two months for those medicines to really kick in and work, and if you don’t know that, you’ll give up on them before they have a chance.  

If first-line treatments with retinoids and antibiotics aren’t working, we do have some options in women patients. Certain oral contraceptive pills and a hormonal blocking medication called spironolactone can control the hormonal aspect of acne in women.  

For both men and women who have very serious acne not controlled by standard treatments, there is an oral retinoid treatment called isotretinoin.  This is a very serious medication and requires close doctor supervision to avoid serious side effects. 
Teenage Acne Medications and Creams Video shot in conjunction with Dr Dank and http://www.dlcnw.com/

Presenter: Dr. Jan Peter Dank, Dermatologist, Bellingham, WA

Local Practitioners: Dermatologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

QA Chat
Ask us a health question on
diagnosis/treatment options...