Acne Medication

Antibiotics for Acne?

Why Not? Reading over the questionnaires of our acne clients reveals some disturbing trends. Most have seen dermatologists and most prescribed acne medication, antibiotics as the first course of action. We have clients, previous to being treated at the clinic, took antibiotics for years! Our question to them was, if it was going to work to control your acne, don’t you think it would’ve worked by now? We understand the desperation of wanting clear skin and the dearth of information about getting clear skin, so we hope that this article will help those of you currently on antibiotics to consider other options.
The first thing we want to say is that prescribed acne medication like antibiotics do not get your acne under control in the long term. Acne is not a bacteria problem – it is an inherited tendency of too many dead skin cells within the pores. Antibiotics do NOTHING to address this underlying cause of acne. According to Dr. James Fulton, co-developer of Retin A, even if you had an antibiotic that killed 100% of the bacteria, you would still have an acne problem.
So, now that you know why they don’t work, let’s also explore why it is not a good idea to take them.

  • MRSA– if you haven’t heard of the superbug MRSA, you need to know that this is a very dangerous type of staph infection. One main reason MRSA is so dangerous is that it is resistant to most antibiotics. Doctors run out of options for treating it and the result is death. Experts believe that MRSA evolved because of the overuse of antibiotics; and dermatologists treating acne primarily with antibiotics is a prime contributor.
  • Now acne bacteria is becoming drug-resistant. Resistant acne bacteria won’t kill you, but it will be much harder to control and achieve/keep clear skin.
  • People who use antibiotics are more than twice as likely to catch colds according to a study in the September 1005 Archives of Dermatology. The common cold is a virus – not directly affected by antibiotics; but antibiotics not only attack the harmful bacteria, but also the beneficial bacteria that are part of the body’s defense system. This results in increased frequency of viral infections.
  • According to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, heavy use of antibiotics may increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. The study looked at 10,000 women over eight years and found that those that took the highest amounts of antibiotics the longest, faced twice the risk of developing breast cancer than those that didn’t.
  • The results of a study published in The Lancet asserted that several prescription antibiotic regimens for facial acne vulgaris were not better than over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide.
  • Toxic side effects such as recurring nausea and heartburn.
  • Interference with the useful bacteria in the digestive system.
  • Frequent vaginal yeast infections for women.
  • Possible permanent staining of the teeth.

The best way to treat acne is with an at-home regimen that includes the topical use of an alpha or beta hydroxy acid that is strong enough to exfoliate but not so strong as to irritate or burn the skin, and an antibacterial product that delivers oxygen into the pores. Because skin types and conditions vary greatly, different topical products need to be tested on the individual to check for sensitivity and efficacy. Some skin types and conditions can get noticeable results in just several days and get totally clear in just a couple of weeks. Some will take several weeks and need to have their regimen changed as their skin adapts, but less than 10% of the cases are difficult to treat and may take 6 months or more to really get under control.

Birth Control for Acne Simplified

Birth control pills, IUDs, implants and shots are widely used today and prescribed often as a means to control acne. Most forms of birth control can have the potential to cause acne and weight gain in those susceptible. Typically birth control is divided up as estrogen or progestin dominant and have varying degrees of androgenic (testosterone like) effects. As a general rule of thumb, those with the potential for higher androgenic symptoms should be avoided for people prone to acne because they promote breakouts. As an acne sufferer it is important to speak with your doctor about selecting a form of birth control that is higher in estrogen and lower in androgen potency.

The most commonly prescribed in this category are:

Brevicon Necon Tri-Nessa
Demulan Ortho Tricyclen Tri-Previferm
Femcon Ortho-Novum Tri-Sprintec
Kelnor Ovcon Zovia
Modicon Previferm
MonoNessa Sprintec

It is best to avoid the following that are high in androgen activity and low in estrogen:

Alesse Kariva Nexplanon
Amethyst Lessina Nordette
Apri Levora/Levonest Norplant
Azurette Linessa NuvaRing
Caziant Loestrin Ogestrel
Cryselle Lo-Feminol Ortho Tricyclen Lo
Cyclessa Lo-Ogestrel Ovral
Depo-Provera Lo-Ovral Paragard/Copper IUD*
Desogen Lutera Portia
Emoquette Marvelon Reclipsen
Estrostep Fe Microgestin Seasonale/Seasonique
Implanon Mircette Sronyx
Jolessa Mirena or Skylar IUD Triphasil/Trivora

Only you and your doctor can determine what form of birth control is right for you. The above is just a basic guideline that should be used to initiate a conversation between you and your physician. If you are considering using birth control, it is important to know that it can be associated with a high risk of blood clots, weight gain, nausea, mood changes, depression and breast tenderness. Serious side effects include strokes, digestive issues and embolism.

Finally, it is entirely possible to treat acne without using birth control. If you have no underlying health issues that require you to be on birth control and are considering using birth control only to control your acne, please feel free to talk with one of the estheticians to get some additional perspective on how we can help you with the use of topical products and treatments.

*Although the Paragard/Copper IUD does not contain any hormones, we have observed that it has aggravated acne with our clients.

Does Accutane Work?

Many of our clients have been on the prescribed acne medication Accutane (isotretinoin); but what’s surprising is that so many of them have been on it for two or three courses to get their acne under control. One client admitted to having gone through this prescribed acne medication seven times. Some of them didn’t get any benefit at all; however most of them experienced significant clearing, but to their dismay, started breaking out again within months of stopping the medication. So, how disappointing is that? They took huge health risks (again and again) for only a short term benefit? I don’t think most people know what the risks really are from taking “the tane,” so that’s what I would like to talk about here.

Acne Medication

Roche Holding AG, pulled Accutane acne medicine from the U.S. market after juries awarded at least $33 million in damages to users who blamed the drug for bowel disease. Many have been relegated to using colostomy bags for the rest of their lives. This is just one of the multitude of side effects attributed to the prescribed acne medication Accutane. Let’s talk about the others.

The FDA posted an alert in 2005 that said all patients taking accutane should be closely watched for serious symptoms including:

  • depression
  • suicidal tendencies
  • sadness
  • short tempers
  • anger
  • loss of social interaction
  • psychosis
  • loss of motivation
  • changes in appetite

If any of these symptoms begin to appear, the patient is advised to stop taking accutane and to seek professional advice. In 2002, a director for the FDA told a congressional committee that they received over 3,000 reports of adverse psychiatric symptoms and over 170 reports of suicide attempts connected to the use of Accutane.

There is such a high risk of birth defects, miscarriage and fetal death, that women of child bearing age are only allowed to get a one month supply (even though the prescribed regimen is for 5 months) and cannot receive another until the doctor has determined that the woman is not pregnant and is on at least two forms of birth control.

Is Accutane Dangerous?

The prescribed acne medication Accutane can cause other severe and even tragic side effects and psychiatric problems, including:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • central nervous system injuries
  • skeletal damage
  • liver damage
  • cardiovascular injuries
  • bone and muscle loss
  • ulcerative colitis
  • pancreatitis
  • immune system disorder
  • depression
  • suicide

Heard enough? Well how long after you’ve gotten off Accutane are you going to feel confident that you’ve dodged the bullet and haven’t caused irreparable damage to your body. Will the side effects show up in months, years, twenty or thirty years. Who knows?

The easiest and most efficacious way to get rid of acne is to use the right products for your type of acne in the right way, none of which have side effects more than maybe some dry skin every now and then. Even the cases of acne that the prescribed acne medication Accutane works best for, inflamed acne, is the easiest to control with products. We know that most people suffering from acne just want to be done with it and have tried every product under the moon. They may be using some good products, but it is mainly how the products are used that makes the difference in clearing your skin and not. Coaching clients in how to use safe products correctly is what Body and Face Solutions Estheticians trained by Face Reality excels in; and helps people to get better results than Accutane, often in less time.

**If you are at the end of your rope and are desperate enough to consider taking it, please call or email us first to let you know what your alternatives are. We have a safe and effective way of getting rid of acne!