Antibiotic treatment of chronic acne – is it a necessary evil?

Although sometimes it affects adults too, acne is primarily a teenage problem as it surfaces mostly when one attains puberty. The most common cause of acne is known to be an oily skin. The male hormone testosterone that is released at puberty can rise to levels that are higher than what the body requires.

The hormone works on oil glands and a series of changes occur:

* there is an increased production of oil
* the oils comes out on the surface of the skin
* the skin pores get blocked
* the entrapped oil is infected with bacteria
* pustules, pimples or comedons (black heads) are formed

Treatment of acne is dependent on the severity of the condition. The first line of treatment is definitely topical, using antiseptic washes containing benzoyl peroxide and other mild acids that are available over the counter.

An antiseptic soap also helps if it is used on the affected areas as well as hands to keep the bacteria from spreading. Topical ointments and creams help to dry the skin and kill bacteria. Some creams containing erythromycin and retinoids require a prescription from a doctor.

However, in severe attacks the antibiotic alternative is unavoidable. There are herbal antibiotics that help eradicate acne. Herbs like garlic, aloe, acidic fruit extracts have proven antibiotic properties and can help in killing bacteria.

They also ensure that the oily skin becomes relatively drier. Severe acne often indicates an increased prevalence of bacteria, necessitating conventional allopathic oral antibiotics. The most commonly used are:

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* Erythromycin.
* Tetracycline
* Minocycline
* Doxycycline

Over time, the bacteria seem to have become immune to tetracycline and the drug does not produce the desired results anymore. Its derivates, Minocycline and Doxycycline, however are effective in curbing acne.

Treatment for acne can be a prolonged one and it is imperative that before using these antibiotics you educate yourself about their contraindications and side effects. These are prescription drugs and a visit to your doctor is a precondition to buy one and understand the correct dosage that you require. Initially, for the first six months the doctor may prescribe higher doses.

Care should be taken while using antibiotics, especially by pregnant women and patients with a history of depression. Gastrointestinal disorders are routine side effects that have to be treated separately.

There are many myths that have been associated with the occurrence and treatment of acne. Acne is actually a condition that is mainly brought about by oily skin and bacterial infection. Antibiotic treatment may be necessary for chronic acne but there is an alternative approach that you can choose if you want to avoid these antibiotics with their side effects.

The body has its own methods of fighting diseases by releasing hormones and other chemicals to counter an invasion by foreign substances. Our lifestyle has a major role to play in our immune system health . A healthy and natural diet that avoids fatty commercial foods in conjunction with appropriate herbs for immune system can help teens and adults alike in preventing acne.

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About Dee Braun

Dee is an Adv. Certified Aromatherapist, Reiki Master, Adv. Color/Crystal Therapist, Herbalist, Dr. of Reflexology and single mom who is dedicated to helping others any way she can. One way she chooses to help is by offering information on the benefits and uses of natural health and healing methods for the well-being of both people and pets. Dee also teaches Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Color/Crystal Therapy at the Alternative Healing Academy

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3 Responses to Antibiotic treatment of chronic acne – is it a necessary evil?

  1. Alex - Remove Acne Scars June 30, 2008 at 5:27 am #

    As you briefly mentioned, the body is able to tackle most of the problems that comes it’s way. As a first step, one should boost the mechanisms that deal with whatever ailment so happens to be striking. This can be done through diet, exercise, hygiene etc.

    Tackling matters using chemicals, including anti-biotics, is the next stage but should only be undertaken after getting the basics right.

  2. Stacy July 4, 2008 at 2:53 pm #

    I think herbal medicine is always better cause of risk when using chemicals and anti-biotics.
    Thank you, good article

  3. Helen July 25, 2008 at 3:21 pm #

    Acne is a skin problem for many. During the teenage years this skin disorder arises. During teenage years the male sex hormone, androgens increases both in male and female. This increased androgen causes overproduction of keratin and sebum. This keratin and sebum clogs the skin pores. In the clogged skin pores the presence of bacteria creates acne. Acne creates black spots on the skin if not taken care of properly. Even after the teenage years, when acne is no more around, the black spots on the skin remind you about acne.

    Just my 2 cent :)

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