Skin Deep

If you have acne, it’s best to avoid oral antibiotics

Stress hormones wreak havoc on the skin, and can exacerbate acne.
Stress hormones wreak havoc on the skin, and can exacerbate acne. TNS

More than 50 million Americans struggle with acne each year. While oral antibiotics are commonly prescribed to kill the bacteria that causes acne, the overuse of these medications contributes to antibiotic resistance, can disrupt your body’s delicate microbiome and may increase the risk of certain diseases.

Instead of relying on oral antibiotics, talk to your dermatologist about alternative treatment options, including the proper skincare regimen, diet and lifestyle changes, and other oral medications.

Topical treatments

Start with the right cleanser and moisturizer for your skin type. Dry skin types should choose creamy moisturizing cleansers and barrier repair moisturizers, while oily types can better tolerate foaming cleansers. Then add treatment products for acne such as topical retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.

Work with your dermatologist to create a customized skincare regimen that will not irritate sensitive skin. For example, benzoyl peroxide can be too drying for some dry skin types. Instead, use an alpha hydroxy acid cleaner to help increase cell turnover and improve acne over several weeks.

It is important to remember that acne is an eight-week cycle, so you will not necessarily see results overnight.

Healthy diet, lifestyle choices

In a previous Miami Herald column, I discussed the importance of avoiding sugar and dairy (specifically low-fat and skim milk) if you are prone to acne. These foods have been shown to make acne worse. Similarly, stress is known to raise cortisol levels, triggering increased sebum production and clogged pores. Try to manage stress by getting enough sleep, exercising on a regular basis, and trying deep breathing techniques and even aromatherapy.

Alternative therapies

For persistent or severe acne, your doctor might recommend oral contraceptives, spironolactone, or isotretinoin, commonly known as Accutane. As with any medication, there are side effects to these treatments. However, they can all be safe and effective alternatives to oral antibiotics for acne.

Blue light therapy also has been shown to help clear acne by killing acne-causing bacteria on the skin. However, blue light has been linked with accelerated skin aging, so this option may be best as a last resort.

In summary

Acne is one of the most common skin problems among teens and adults alike. To avoid problems such as antibiotic resistance, talk to your dermatologist about alternative treatment options. The combination of a customized skincare regimen, diet and lifestyle factors, and alternative therapies can be a highly effective strategy for getting rid of acne.

For more information about treating and preventing acne be sure to follow Baumann Cosmetic on YouTube, or follow @BaumannCosmetic on Instagram or Facebook