If it is almost inevitable during adolescence, acne is not assured. There are simple gestures and effective treatments to limit their extent.
Blackheads, pustules, and papules are, for those who do not have the chance to cut there, the undesirable companions of our adolescence. And to get rid of it, some are ready for anything: intensive soaping, anti-imperfection mask, purifying balm, disinfecting gel, exfoliating scrub … However, this arsenal can prove to be futile (even harmful), because acne is a chronic disease challenging to tame. In addition to following specific hygienic advice, treatments exist. Still, they can only reduce the symptoms and are not immediately effective: at least two months are necessary before the first results are visible. Le Figaro takes stock with two dermatologists.
“Many patients come after applying essential oils, and it should be avoided because it can worsen acne.”
When it comes to acne, not everyone is in the same boat. Depending on the nature of the pimples, the surface of the affected skin, the age of the patient, the psychological impact of the disease, the dermatologist must adapt the treatment. But even before switching to medication, you have to follow simple hygiene rules. Marc Perrussel, a dermatologist at the Rennes University Hospital. Once or twice a day is enough. And above all, do not touch the buttons because it creates sores that can become infected and give scars later.
Also, pay attention to the makeup used. “Having acne does not prevent makeup, but you must banish the powders, which tend to clog the pores, and prefer a tinted moisturizer,” adds Pr Brigitte Dréno, head of the dermato-oncology department at Nantes University Hospital. The specialist also warns against a dangerous practice in fashion: “I have a lot of patients who come to consult after applying essential oils on their face, it should be avoided because it can worsen acne.”
Most of the time, these tips are not enough to get rid of pimples. If less than half of the face is affected and the patient has only a few blackheads and pimples, it is mild acne. The doctor will prescribe a cream or gel-based on benzoyl peroxide or retinoids. The first is an oxidizing agent who fights against the proliferation of the bacteria involved in acne. As for retinoids, they prevent clogging of the skin pores and accelerate the inflammation process responsible for the appearance of papules and pustules.
If more than half of the face is affected and it is covered with numerous pimples, blackheads and a few nodules, this is called moderate to severe acne. In this case, the prescription will include local treatment identical to that issued in case of mild acne. “Before, we prescribed antibiotics, but we no longer do so because we have noticed that bacteria develop resistance to these molecules”, explains Professor Brigitte Dréno.
Finally, in case of very severe acne (red buttons covering the face and presence of switches encapsulated under the skin), the patient will be prescribed isotretinoin, the active ingredient in Roaccutane, and its generics
Acne can cause a depressive state, which is why it is essential not to leave this component aside.”
This treatment has several side effects to its credit, such as a drying of the lips (systematic) and, more rarely, muscle pain. “This treatment has also been suspected of causing psychiatric disorders, but at the moment, this link is not clear: acne in itself can cause a depressive state; this is why it is important not to leave this side aside,” says Dr. Perrussel. Such observations have been made from time to time in patients, but studies have not confirmed this link. “Still, isotretinoin is a very effective treatment for treating acne,” added the doctor.
Acne being a chronic skin problem, the patient will have to follow maintenance treatment for several months after stopping the attack treatment from maintaining the results. Otherwise, the buttons will return.
And the pill?
Birth control pills can have a beneficial effect on acne, but they can never be prescribed to a woman for the sole purpose of treating her acne. If a woman wishes to kill two birds with one stone, the contraceptive indicated in the first intention is levonorgestrel, a pill of 2nd generation.
In any case, keep in mind that acne is a transient disease that lasts an average of 3 to 4 years. In most people, it disappears spontaneously between 18 and 20 years of age. If acne continues or returns to adulthood – which happens especially to women -,, it will be necessary to look for other causes: stress, diet, premenstrual syndrome, hormonal hypersensitivity, makeup, sun …