Generally acne is the result of plugged pores caused by the accumulation of dirt, sebum,
dead skin cells and propionibacterium acnes (p. acnes) in the pores, particularly in
connection with hair follicles.

Symptoms
Acne manifests itself in eruptions of the skin, pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, lesions,
cysts and nodules. Acne typically develops in patients in their teen years, at the onset of
puberty.

OTC - Drug Products
A variety of over-the counter topical medications have been suggested in the past to deal
with one or more of the factors contributing to acne and include, for example, benzoyl
peroxide, antimicrobials, resorcinol, salicylic acid, sulfur, retinoids and the combination of
isopropyl alcohol and acetone

Benzoyl peroxide functions to reduce p. acnes and remove dead skin cells. However, some
users experience dryness or peeling of skin, feeling of warmth, tingling and slight stinging. In
some cases, users also have symptoms like burning, blistering, itching, redness, rash and
swelling and they need medical attention immediately. [5] To alleviate the side effects of
benzoyl peroxide, antimicrobials, such as erythromycin and clindamycin, are combined with
benzoyl peroxide to treat acne. The antimicrobials are believed to treat acne by reducing p.
acnes populations, inflammation, and abnormal shedding of skin cells. They are quite
effective treatments for acne. But, the combinational product may still cause symptoms like
dry skin, peeling, ithing, stinging, burning, tingling or redness of the skin to some users. The
combinational product can also lead to oily, tender, or discolored skin, severe diarrhea,
blood or mucus in the stool, severe stomach pain or cramps, swelling of the face, eye or
eyelid irritation and swelling etc. [6, 7]

Resorcinol is another choice to treat acne. But, some people develop allergies after using
resorcinol. The symptoms include hives, itching, rash, trouble breathing, chest tightness, lip
swelling etc. [1, 2] It is possible for resorcinol being absorbed through skin. Excessive use on
large area of the bodies of infants and children may cause a blood disease called
methemoglobinemia. To enhance the effect of resorcinol, it is always combined with sulfur in
use, e.g. Acnomel, Acnotex, Clearasil Daily and Rezamid. However, most people cannot
tolerate the unpleasant odor of sulfur.

Salicylic acid assists in the reducing the abnormal shedding of skin cells to help unplugging
pores, but is not believe to have any impact upon p. acnes or sebum production. The
approved range of salicylic acid concentration for acne treatment is 0.5%-2%. However, this
range of concentration can cause serious dry skin or irritation to skin. [3] It can also lead to
confusion, dizziness, extreme tiredness or weakness, headache, fast breathing, ringing,
hearing loss, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. [4]

Topical retinoids (derivatives of vitamin A, such as tazarotene and tretinoin) function to
unclog pores and prevent the formation of blackheads and whiteheads. However, some
users experience sensitivity to sunlight and dryness or acute redness and peeling of the skin.
[8]

Finally, in the combination of alcohol and acetone, the acetone functions as a degreasing
agent and the alcohol has a mild anti-microbial effect. This combination does not have
serious side effects but it is not effective as others on treating acne. Thus, there is a need for
better therapeutic regimen.

Herbal and Supplements
A popular website suggests that there is an "acne diet". Food plays a role in the acne. The
author claims that medicines do not help much and some of the treatments and medications
makes him feel sick. He believes food influences skin health and acne severity. Then, he
suggests audience to try his natural remedy product! Anyway, he suggests people suffered
acne to avoid friction or contact with pimples, avoid hair products with oil, silicone and
plasticizers, avoid androgenic hormones and reduce stress.

Devil's Claw Extract, tea tree oil,  may benefit people suffered from acne. while,
bladderwrack (Bladder Wrack)  may worsen acne and decrease iron absorption. DHEA
supplements may cause high levels of estrogen or testosterone in some people. In women,
high testosterone levels can cause acne.

Treatments
Treatment of scars includes using steroids, chemical and mechanical resurfacing techniques
(such as dermabrasion), or surgery to fill the scarred area with fat, skin or collagen.

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2, 1998, Page 143
Discuss with your doctor before taking any alternative medicine. This article is for
Acne, skin health foods, diet, vitamins, herbs, supplements - Are there natural and alternative
treatments or home remedies for acne? ZHION.COM