There are many products sold for the treatment of acne, many of them without any scientifically-proven effects. Generally speaking successful treatments give little improvement within the first week or two; and then the acne decreases over approximately 3 months, after which the improvement starts to flatten out. Many treatments that promise big improvements within 2 weeks are likely to be largely disappointing. However short bursts of cortisone can give very quick results, and other treatments can rapidly improve some active spots, but not usually all active spots.
Modes of improvement are not necessarily fully understood but in general treatments are believed to work in at least 4 different ways (with many of the best treatments providing multiple simultaneous effects:
- normalising shedding into the pore to prevent blockage
- killing P. acnes
- antinflammatory effects
- hormonal manipulation
A combination of treatments can greatly reduce the amount and severity of acne in many cases. Those treatments that are most effective tend to have greater potential for side effects and need a greater degree of monitoring, so a step-wise approach is often taken. Many people consult with doctors when deciding which treatments to use, especially when considering using any treatments in combination.
However, the most effective treatments for acne are the alternative natural treatments. See menu to the left.