Typically, acne treatment is aimed at correcting the factors which contribute to the condition: excess oil, or sebum, (SEE-buhm) production; the improper shedding of skin cells; and the multiplication of bacteria inside the pores. The methods used will depend on the severity of your problem. Mild acne can usually be improved by washing with a gentle, antibacterial cleanser; applying a topical solution like salicylic (sal-ih-SILL-ic) acid to encourage turnover of skin cells; and using oil-free products on areas prone to blemishes. Though chocolate and most foods have no effect on acne, you may find it helpful to avoid iodized salt, since iodine can increase oil production. Moderate to severe acne can also benefit from these techniques, but may require oral antibiotics or topical prescription medications as well. Other treatments might include light chemical peels performed in the doctor's office or the injection of corticosteroids (kor-tih-koh- STEER-oids) directly into large acne lesions. In female patients where an excess of the hormone androgen (AN-droe-jin) is suspected, birth-control pills or other anti-androgen drugs may be used. For acne that doesn't respond to standard treatments, a doctor may recommend an oral drug called Accutane®. However, Accutane is expensive and can have serious side effects, and so is generally a last resort.
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Copyright 2007 Clear Channel Broadcasting. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.