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How to Control & Treat Severe Acne

Learn the best products for severe acne, and tips to control severe acne, from dermatologist Cybele Fishman, MD in this Howcast skin care video.

Transcript

So, if you have truly severe acne, probably your choice of products is not going to be enough to get rid of the acne. There's certain rules that should apply. You should look for products that are noncomedogenic. That means just that they don't cause pimples. Another thing to watch out for is overusing salicylic acid. Because salicylic acid is so readily available in many over-the-counter products, I find that patients just slather it on. And really what it's doing is irritating the top layers of the skin. Whereas the problem is really in the deeper layers of the skin where the acne is originating, at the bottom of the pore or the hair follicle. So, if you have very severe acne, I find that you come to me and you say, "Oh, I've tried every single product that's out there and nothing helps." Really, you need more aggressive help from me. If you have severe acne, please don't wait to go see a dermatologist. It's heartbreaking when someone comes in and already has scars, and you know you could have prevented them if they had seen you earlier. I really think the best medicine for severe acne is Accutane. If you really don't want to go on Accutane or can't, then I think photodynamic therapy with red light in a dermatologist's office is your next best bet. For women, birth control pills or spironolactone can help, but I don't find that they're enough usually for severe, severe acne. Another very important thing is to clean up your life. Start eating better. Exercise more. Keep your weight at a normal level. And finally, I do think supplements like niacinamide, selenium, zinc and Omega-3 fatty acids can help.

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