Teenagers nowadays seem to have more and more concerns than teenagers of the previous decades. For one, they have more issues with themselves, their families, peer and school. Another thing that concerns most teenagers is acne, or commonly known as pimples.
Teenagers are bothered by acne because it creates a feeling of discomfort and anxiety. It affects their self esteem and because acne can sometimes be very hideous, teenagers get stressed and some even commit suicide (not because of acne but of others circumstances that is perhaps, worsened by their lack of self-esteem).
Antibiotics for acne are used in severe and persistent cases, where acne cysts, acne nodules or pustules cause intense physical discomfort as well as psychological concern to the sufferer. Actually, among all acne medications, acne antibiotics are the most popular prescribed treatment. But, the truth is that an antibiotic for acne is nothing other than a selective poison that acts by killing the bacteria that caused the ailment.
These medications are prescribed because they can target specific pathological agents, therefore their action can be directed to only a single cause. In other words, physicians, dermatologists and pharmacists recommend antibiotics for acne because these products are able to completely destroy and eliminate the bacterium that has caused this unpleasant skin condition.
As already mentioned, acne antibiotics are strong pharmaceutical products, which destroy the pathogenic agents present inside the sebaceous glands or hair follicles. If left untreated, these bacteria can lead to severe skin inflammatory processes and distressing symptoms. But by far the most concerning aspect of this condition would be the danger that it can leave permanent acne scars on the patient’s skin.
What causes acne and how do acne antibiotics work to treat it?
As you most probably know, a bacterium is a microorganism made of a single cell. Inside the human body there are millions of bacteria that naturally occur at different levels – some of them can normally be found inside the digestive system, on various mucous membranes of the human body or even on the skin. So the problem isn’t caused by the presence of these microorganisms, but by their migration into the sebaceous glands or hair follicles, where they have the potential to produce some harmful chemicals, which can damage the tissues. Without early and effective treatment, these pathogens multiply rapidly, especially at times when the immune system is not at its optimum, leading to a prolonged inflammatory process that can cause irreversible damage to the skin.
The human immune system is designed to fight against a multitude of harmful pathogens. The key components of this system are the white blood cells. They attack pathogens, such as bacteria and destroy them, but the result is a mixture of dead while blood cells and dead harmful bacteria. This mixture is actually the pus created by the infection and inflammation. However, when a weakened immune system is overwhelmed by the infection, the body will not have the capacity to eliminate the bacteria, therefore antibiotics for acne are needed – they’ll kill the remaining bacteria and restore the body’s equilibrium.
The Most Commonly Prescribed Antibiotics for Acne
Depending on the severity of your skin condition and on the type of acne you have, your physician may prescribe one of the antibiotiscs listed bellow:
Azelaic acid (Azelex). In addition to killing p. acnes, azelaic acid can be helpful for treating the dark spots that develop in some acne patients with skin of color (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation). Azeleic acid is well tolerated by most people and can be safely used for long periods of time. Side effects may include skin dryness and lightening of the skin where applied.
- Benzoyl peroxide is not typically thought of as an antibiotic, but it can help to inhibit the growth of the P. acnes bacteria. Studies have also shown that benzoyl peroxide can increase the effectiveness of other acne medicines and reduces the likelihood of developing antibiotic resistance. However, benzoyl peroxide does not have anti-inflammatory effects. Benzoyl peroxide formulations included lotions, gels and washes. It may be prescribed for use alone or in combination with a topical retinoid (Epiduo).
- Tetracycline is the most commonly used antibiotic for acne. Due to its side effects, it can’t be prescribed to children and pregnant women.
- Minocycline is mainly used in treating pustular acne and it is a tetracycline derivative.
Doxycycline is another popular antibiotic for acne, but it is usually recommended to patients who don’t respond or tolerate other acne antibiotics, not even the common tetracycline.
Erythromycin has great anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, so besides killing the harmful bacteria it can also reduce redness and lesions.
- Clindamycin is another antibiotic for acne, usually prescribed for severe bacterial infections.
Side Effects of Acne Antibiotics
All these medicines are associated with the variety of side effects. The most common ones are:
- allergic reactions, such as a rash or itching,
- yeast infections in women,
- breathing difficulties,
- nausea or vomiting,
- increased tiredness,
- loss of appetite,
- yellowing of the eyes,
- stomach pain and diarrhea.
Regardless of the treatment you opt for, it’s important to understand that the presence of acne in fact indicates that other imbalances or deficiencies are affecting your body. So although antibiotics for acne have their role in the whole treatment strategy, you should choose a therapy, which has the ability to address the underlying causes of this ailment, such as hormone imbalances, vitamin deficiencies, stress and poor diet. Once these issues are dealt with, dramatic changes in the condition of your skin will follow.