The treatment of acne is multifactorial, meaning that many different factors leading to the formation of acne must be addressed. There are three main categories of acne treatments:
In-office laser and light treatments for acne: This includes treatments such as Photodynamic Therapy, Red and Blue LED Light and the Isolaz Laser Acne Treatment. These treatments combine to clean out grime from the pores, decrease sebum production, reduce the p. acnes bacteria that lead to acne and decrease inflammation.
Oral acne medications: These are pills, such as antibiotics, anti-androgen medications, isotretinoin and oral contraception. These medications all work in different ways to treat acne aggressively. Oral medications are usually reserved for patients with moderate acne or those patients who have not responded to topical medications.
Topical acne medications: Topical medications are often very effective in the treatment of acne. The most common topical acne medications are benzoyl peroxide, clindamycin, aczone and retinoids. The vehicle (ie. cream, foam, gel) that the acne medication is housed in can make a big difference in terms of its efficacy and usability. Vehicles are used to drive the acne medication deeper into the pores, in order to help the medication to work better. Vehicles are also selected for their tolerability and elegance; ideally a medication will be in a vehicle that is pleasant to apply, while not being irritating to the skin.
The search is on for different formulations of acne medications that will provide further options for our patients to use. Just this week, the FDA approved a new acne medication from GlaxoSmithKline. This new medication, Fabior, is a tazarotene foam that can be applied to any acne prone areas. Tazarotene, a retinoid acne medication, has previously only been available in the medication called Tazorac, which comes in a cream and gel form. Fabior will be the first prescription retinoid foam available for acne treatment.