revolving doorI remember back in middle school when I started getting acne and asking my mom to take me to the dermatologist. I always felt better after seeing the dermatologist. He or she always wrote me a prescription for a medication which was supposed to clear me up. I tried oral antibiotics, topical antibiotics, retinoids, sulfur, and a few other prescriptions. Inevitably, they didn’t work, and I’d come back for another prescription, this time hoping that this one would actually clear me up. What all of these dermatologists failed to tell me is that most prescriptions only work to clear up acne to a degree.

As the researcher for Acne.org, I read hundreds of clinical trials and studies on acne each year. The latest article I just read was to test the “…efficacy and tolerability of tazarotene foam, 0.1%, in the treatment of acne…” Like most other articles on prescriptions for acne, the conclusion to this study sounds familiar: “Tazarotene foam, 0.1% significantly reduced the number and severity of acne lesions after 12 weeks and had a safe and acceptable tolerability profile.” That sounds great, doesn’t it? But when you read the article, you find that the decrease in acne lesions hovers around 50%. Sure, results are scientifically significant, but is someone with 20 zits on their face going to be happy with 10? That is still full fledged acne if you ask me. In my opinion, dermatologists should communicate clearly that most prescriptions will help improve the skin, but will not clear you up.

1 exception: Accutane (isotreinoin) completely clears acne in most people who take an adequate dosage for a long enough period of time, but comes with side effects, some of which can be long-term and some of which can be severe.

1 other exception: When used within The Acne.org Regimen, 2.5% benzoyl peroxide will also completely clear the skin, and does so without any severe or long-term side effects. It’s refreshing to be able to tell people what dermatologists were never able to confidently tell me. The Acne.org Regimen will clear you up. Completely.

References:

  • Feldman SR, Werner CP, Alio Saenz AB. “The efficacy and tolerability of tazarotene foam, 0.1%, in the treatment of acne vulgaris in 2 multi center, randomized, vehicle-controlled, double-blind studies.” Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2013; 12(4): 438-46.

Antibiotics vs. Benzoyl Peroxide
I have been saying for years that if benzoyl peroxide is so good at killing bacteria on its own, then why do we need topical antibiotics like clindamycin, which do not work nearly as well as benzoyl peroxide in clearing acne, and have contributed to creating massive amounts of resistant bacteria across the world? It is a simple question and I have yet to meet anyone who can give me a compelling reason why a doctor would prescribe topical antibiotics for acne.

Perhaps the medical community is finally seeing what I am seeing. In a recent article in The Journal of Drugs in Dermatolgy, Dr. Kircik from Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York shows that ears and eyes are perking up to the massive over-prescription of topical antibiotics, especially when a better and safer alternative exists: “…we have recently noticed BP’s benefits as monotherapy in the treatment of acne. Benzoyl peroxide works rapidly on P. acnes (bacteria) without causing antibiotic resistance. Hence, we may have to reconsider the role of topical antibiotics such as clindamycin in the treatment paradigm of acne vulgaris.”

Halleluiah.

References:

  • Kircik LH. “The role of benzoyl peroxide in the new treatment paradigm for acne.” The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2013; 12(6): s73-4.