Mild to moderate acne responds favorably to topical acne medications,the hallmark being the normalization of follicular hyperproliferation and hyperkeratinization by reducing the number of microcomedomes,comedomes and inflammatory lesions prominent in acne scars,nodulo-cystic acne,acne eruptions and teenage acne.

Topical acne treatment may require several months to eradicate the acne scars while abating resurgence especially when the condition is mainly facial.Eradication of spots,blemishes and acne scars are worthy objectives of safe acne treatment.

Patients with oily skin are more inclined to alcohol-based preparations (solutions,washes,pledgets and gels) while those with dry skin may prefer creams,lotions and oitments due to their moisturizing effects.The main side effect of topical medications is irritation which limits the use of topical acne medications especially in patients with OTC medications hence,facial acne treatment should ideally be prescription-based to prevent the occurence of acne scars from prolonged irritation(redness,peeling) especially in acne therapy exceeding 6-8wks without desirable results.

Though the use of mild non drying cleansers and non-comedogenic moisturizres may reduce the redness and peeling associated with skin irritation,alternate-dosing of topical acne medications may ameriolate these side effects.

Blackheads and whiteheads become more pronounced as acne progresses from mild to moderate with increasing papular and pustular lesions.Treatment goal is to minimize acne scarring,reduce or prevent acne resurgence while minimizing adverse effects with treatment ease will optimize patient compliance.

Some of the notable topical acne medications are :topical clindamycin,benzoyl peroxide,topical erythromycin,2% salicylic acid,3% resorcinol,2% sulfur,1% meclocycline sulfosalicylate and tretinoin.Others like: x-ray therapy,electric sparks and vitamin treatment were suggested in the past but now rarely in use.More on these in the next article.


The information contained herein is primarily for continuous health education and hence Dr Andrew Okpetu will not be held responsible for repercussions emanating from self diagnosis.Please endeavour to consult your doctor first for all Medical conditions.