Top 5 Acne Treatments

Millions of people around the world suffer from acne during adolescence and sometimes even later in life. Inexpensive, over-the-counter treatments, such as acne washes and salicylic acid, work for some people, but for others, stronger medication is required. Here are five of the best treatments for your acne, but be sure to consult your dermatologist before trying anything new.  

  1. Epiduo
    Epiduo is a topical gel that contains adapalene and benzoyl peroxide, which help treat pimples and prevent new ones from forming. This medication kills the bacteria that cause breakouts and unclogs pores to decrease redness and swelling. To use Epiduo, you simply rub a pea-sized drop onto the affected area once a day. Epiduo requires a prescription from your doctor, but you only have to refill the prescription once every three months. The cash price for Epiduo is about $320, but your co-pay could be as low as $0, depending on your insurance. 
  2. Proactiv
    One of the most well-known topical acne treatments is Proactiv, which is an over-the-counter treatment. This treatment contains antimicrobial benzoyl peroxide and a skin moisturizer that kills acne-causing bacteria and prevents your skin from becoming overly dry. Proactiv has a three-step program that includes an exfoliator, a medication, and a moisturizer. Alternatively, you can use the one-step medication called X-Out for a simpler approach. Proactiv starts at around $30 for a 30-day supply, and X-Out starts at $20 for the basic 30-day supply.  
  3. Antibiotics
    If topical treatments are not effective, your dermatologist will likely prescribe an antibiotic to clear up your acne from the inside out. The two most commonly used antibiotics are minocycline and doxycycline, because they are highly effective at killing acne-causing bacteria in a short period of time. Solodyn is a popular medicine because it provides a continuous, low dose of minocycline. Oracea is another popular acne-fighting antibiotic that contains a low dose of doxycycline. Both antibiotics can cost up to $100 without insurance or be as low as $0 with some forms of insurance.  
  4. Birth Control Pills
    Many young women have found success in fighting their acne with the hormones estrogen and progestin, which are found in birth control pills. These hormones lower the androgens in your body, which results in significantly less severe acne. Specific birth control pills that are approved to treat acne include: Yaz, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, and Estrostep. The cost of these pills varies between $0 and $100, depending on your insurance, but acne should clear up within only a few months of use.  
  5. Accutane
    The most drastic method of treating acne is the drug Accutane. This drug contains isotretinoin, which prevents oil production and eliminates breakouts. This form of treatment requires a prescription and a signed contract to use two forms of birth control while on the drug because it has a very high risk of causing birth defects. Accutane can also potentially cause aggressive behavior and suicidal thoughts, so it is not a good idea to use this medication if you have a family history of mental illness. Despite the risks, Accutane has been proven to be effective in treating acne when all other treatments fail, but it will cost around $400 for 60 capsules. In light of these side effects, only consider using this medication in extreme situations.

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