New Acne Treatments: The Acne Medications, Creams, And Therapies That Might Be Hitting A Shelf Near You
Posted On July 4, 2023
My first encounter with acne medicine, so to speak, happened when I was twelve years old. My grandmother just saw a huge, swollen pimple bubble on my cheek. Stung by the sight of my hideous facial growth, Grandma gestured to her medicine cabinet and pleaded, “Put some turpentine in that balloon to suck up that poison.” And follow that backwoods prescription I made.
Certainly, turpentine is not an FDA-approved acne medication, but the next morning, that inflamed nodule had somehow flattened on the healed skin.
Not all zit tales end in happiness so quickly.
Many people plagued by pimples find no relief from reliable pustule terminators like benzoyl peroxide or antibiotics. And so, researchers hard at work in the labs, challenging the resistance of pimple-prone skin with yet another acne preventative. However, this summer, the entourage of new acne therapies could make blemishes disappear from the skin.
Reduced dose of isotretinoin
For starters, doctors may soon prescribe the acne medication normally reserved for the most severe cases of cystic or nodular acne, isotretinoin, for mild to moderate acne. Last June, a study published in the Dermatology Expert Review found that an intermittent regimen of low doses of isotretinoin could mitigate the potentially caustic side effects of isotretinoin, such as liver damage and extreme dryness of the skin, while effectively treating acne.
Bioidentical Agents for Acne Prevention
While isotretinoin controls acne by reducing facial oil secretion and bacteria counts, a recently patented bioproduct called phytophingosin (PS) can combat pimples by relieving pain caused by inflammation.
Phytosphingosine (PS) is a fat that exists in the upper layers of the skin called the stratum corneum. According to a report in the International Journal of Cosmetic Sciences, a skin-identical version of phytosphingosine showed antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties on the skin. Researchers suspect that this new acne-fighting grease could soon complement topical pimple treatments.
Less threatening contraceptives
If such oil-laden topical acne creams prove insufficient in taming blooming blemishes, a woman can bolster her skincare regimen with contraceptives. And with the advent of a new hormonal agent called drospirenone, women can enjoy fewer breakouts and a more pleasant period.
Doctors may prescribe a mixture of spirolactone and ethinyl estradiol oral contraceptives for acne patients older than 35 years.
Like spironolactone, drospirenone helps control acne by reducing androgenic hormonal activity, such as excessive production of facial oil. However, when drospirenone replaces spirolactone in such contraceptives, women experience better acne control and less weight gain and menstrual pain, while enjoying the same level of effective birth control.
While I don’t foresee a pine derivative like turpentine stealing acne control from isotretinoin, phytosphingosine, or birth control pills, I do predict that a generation from now, the multifaceted causes and contributors to acne lesions will continue. baffling scientists and continuing to fill our cabinets with test-worthy acne antidotes. Meanwhile, “Thank you Grandma.”
Pavicic, T.; U Wollenweber, M Farwick & H Korting.. Antimicrobial and inflammatory activity and efficacy of phytosphingosine: an in vitro and in vivo study addressing acne vulgaris. International Journal of Cosmetic Sciences, June 2007; vol 29, no 3, pp 181-190.
Ramos-e-Silva, M; C da Silva and S Coelho. Oral isotretinoin: intermittent and low-dose regimen in acne. Dermatology Expert Review, June 2007; vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 267-269.
Rapkin, A&S Winer. Drospirenone: a new progestin. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, May 2007; vol 8, no 7, pgs. 989-999.