Published Dec 5, 2016, modified Jul 17, 2018 by Dr. Bard (Dermatologist in NYC) of Manhattan Dermatology Specialists

Acne Treatment

Acne Treatment NYCAcne treatments vary, based on the severity of your acne. You may have to go through several different types of treatments, or you may have to combine medications, before you find the best acne treatment for you. Usually, your treatment is a progression from conservative to aggressive, stopping when you’ve found something that works.

For example, your dermatologist in New York may start you on over-the-counter medicines. If they’re not effective, you’ll move on to prescription topical medicines. If they don’t do the trick, you’ll work up to combinations. The goal for your treatment is to:

  • Reduce the chance of infection
  • Keep more lesions from forming
  • Avoid scarring
  • Handle any emotional side effects, such as low self-esteem or depression

Some treatments have the potential for serious side effects. Tell your NYC dermatologist if you’re pregnant or looking to become pregnant. Some medications won’t be appropriate for you, but if acne is an ongoing issue, your treatment can be timed around your pregnancy.

All symptoms, potential procedural/surgical options should always be discussed with your physician after a thorough consultation and examination  for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Over-the-Counter Creams

More than likely, your Manhattan dermatologist begins your treatment by recommending over-the-counter medicines first, especially if your acne is still mild. While there are many factors, your best acne treatment may be this easier option. Over-the-counter acne medicine has fewer side effects than anything else you’ll try.

Over-the-counter medicines are typically topical products designed to use on the surface of your skin. In other words, they’re gels, ointments or creams that you apply directly to your skin one or more times a day. If your dermatologist in NYC recommends one of the following, you should be able to find it at your local drug store:

  • Benzoyl peroxide, which kills certain germs and possibly reduces the production of oil in your skin
  • Resorcinol, which helps particularly with blackheads and whiteheads
  • Sulfur, which works best on blackheads and whiteheads
  • Salicylic acid, which helps clear up blackheads and whiteheads, as well as keeping the number of dead skin cells down

When using salicylic acid products, follow your dermatologist’s instructions because you can harm your skin by using too much at a time. Salicylic acid is found in many medicinal products, from face washes to lotions and creams.

Your skin needs time to adjust, so adopting a new skincare regimen may take up to eight weeks before you see a difference. Try not to switch what you’re using until you’ve given the treatment the proper amount of time to work. Over-the-counter products can cause side effects like redness, itching and other irritations. Typically, these symptoms go away with continued use as your skin adjusts or with a slight reduction in the frequency of the use. Your Manhattan dermatologist can best advise you on what to do if these side effects occur.

Prescription-Strength Creams

For acne that’s more severe or stubborn, your New York City dermatologist may decide to prescribe something that’s a bit stronger. Prescription-strength medicines come in topical forms — like lotions, creams or gels — as well as medication you take orally, such as an antibiotic. Furthermore, your dermatologist may determine that your best acne treatment plan involves several types of treatments at the same time, especially if you’re experiencing nodules or cysts.

Topical acne medicines include:

  • Antibiotics in a cream or lotion form stop bacteria wherever they grow. This topical cream also gets rid of redness and inflammation. Applied directly to trouble spots on your skin, antibiotic cream may be combined with other topical medicines. You often have to use topical antibiotics for a full course that can last weeks or even months. Be sure to follow your doctor’s directions.
  • Vitamin A derivatives, also called retinoids, help to get rid of the cap that forms over filled pores, as with whiteheads, so that other medicines, such as antibiotics, can actually get to where it can work best. Retinoids can increase your sensitivity to UV rays, so using a sunscreen and limiting your sun exposure while using these lotions is recommended.
  • Dapsone or aczone comes in gel form. As a treatment, it’s combined often with another medication, such as a retinoid.

It’s not unusual for topical prescription treatments to cause a bit of redness, peeling or drying of your skin, especially if you’re using more than one product. Talk to your dermatologist if you’re experiencing any of these side effects for more than a few days, as it may turn out that this course of treatment isn’t the best way to deal with your acne.

Non-Topical Treatments

Oral medications are meant to work from the inside out, helping your body fight bacteria and infection. Sometimes these treatments also reduce the oil production in your skin. Your best acne treatment may involve using an oral medication in conjunction with a topical cream or gel that you put directly on your skin.

Your dermatologist will discuss all of the pros and cons of oral medicine before you start taking it. Typically, you’ll progress to using one of these types of drugs because none of the other treatments you’ve tried has been successful for treating your acne. Oral medications your dermatologist may prescribe include:

  • Birth control pills often help women who find they have acne flare-ups around the time of their periods. The pill can help reduce the amount of male hormones produced during this time, which are what’s thought to cause acne to flare. Your dermatologist in Midtown Manhattan can help you select the best birth control pill for your needs.
  • Corticosteriod drugs, in low doses, can help reduce the male hormones as well.
  • Antiandrogen drugs also impact male hormone production and typically lessen the amount of oil your oil glands produce.
  • Isotretinoin — also called Amnesteem, Claravis or Sotret — is used in severe cases, such as if you have severe acne that includes cysts, a condition known as cystic acne. This medication represents a long-term commitment, as you have to take it for 15 to 20 weeks before you see any improvement. Isotretinoin reduces the size of your oil glands. Bacteria production decreases as a result. This is not an option for women who are pregnant. Side effects include depression, suicidal thoughts and severe gastrointestinal issues, such as Crohn’s disease. You are also more likely to burn from sun exposure while taking this medication.

All symptoms, potential procedural/surgical options should always be discussed with your physician after a thorough consultation and examination  for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not a definitive medical advice. Please consult dermatologist NYC about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified dermatology doctor or pediatric dermatologist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Do you have any questions about Acne Treatment? Would like to schedule an appointment with an internationally recognized, dermatologist in Midtown Manhattan, Dr. Susan Bard of Manhattan Dermatology Specialists, please contact our Midtown NYC office for consultation with cosmetic and laser dermatologist.

Manhattan Dermatology Specialists
Dr. Susan Bard, Dermatologist Midtown
Midtown Dermatology:
51 East 25th Street, Ste 411, New York, NY 10010
: ☎ (212) 889-2402
Manhattan Dermatology Specialists
Dr. Susan Bard, Dermatologist Upper East Side
Upper East Side Dermatology:
983 Park Ave, Ste 1D1, New York, NY 10028
: ☎ (212) 427-8750
Manhattan Dermatology Specialists
Dr. Susan Bard, Dermatologist Union Square
Union Square Dermatology:
55 W 17th St, Ste 103, New York, NY 10011
: ☎ (212) 378-9984
The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a best in class dermatologist regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.