Physical Treatments for Acne

With mild cases of acne topical ointments are usually the best method of treatment. More severe cases may require more drastic measures. Some options include: antibiotics either orally or in ointments and physical treatments like chemical peels and drainage.

If your acne needs physical treatment you will need to see a dermatologist to perform them. Technically popping pimples yourself is a form of physical treatment but it is not an advised method of treatment. This can lead to spreading the acne causing bacteria and scarring. Having physical treatments provided in a clinical environment such as a dermatologist’s office will provide you with the best results.


Exfoliation is the removal of the top layer of skin; this can be achieved either chemically or through abrasion. Chemical peels work by dissolving a microscopic layer of skin cells, which opens pores and removes the build up of dead skin cells. This is usually accomplished by using salicylic acid or glycolic acid. The same think can be accomplished through abrasion using an abrasive cloth or liquid scrubbing solution. Glycolic acid can be used every two to six weeks for about six months. Salicylic acid is a much milder form of acid and is included in many over the counter face cleansers; these can be safely used on a daily basis.

Comedo Extraction

Blackheads and whiteheads (comedones) can be removed with specialized instruments at your dermatologist’s office. After the skin is numbed with an anesthetic cream the Dr. will use a pen like instrument to open the top of the comedones to remove the dead skin cells and sebum. It is typical to treat the area with an antibacterial agent after this treatment. Remember you should not try this at home because it can lead to infection and increased scarring.


Sometimes in cases of sever acne cysts will form under the skin. Cysts can be very painful and cause severe scarring even permanent disfigurement. Some mild cysts can be treated with cortisone injections, which should clear up the cyst in a few days. More severe cysts will need to be drained and surgically removed. Draining the cyst will greatly reduce the pain and the chance of scarring. You should never try to drain a cyst at home, there is a very high risk of infection and scarring if not performed with the proper sterile instruments.

Light Therapy

This is used to combat the acne causing bacteria, it is especially useful in hard to reach places. However this may only provide shot term relief because it does nothing to combat the excessive sebum and build up of dead skin cells.

Laser treatment can often be beneficial in the treatment of acne scars. This is capable of helping with lighter surface scars as well as deeper tissue scars caused by severe cases of acne. Currently there is research being performed on using lasers to treat the actual acne as well. There are several different procedures being tested. Using the laser to burn away the follicle sac that produces the hair, burning away the gland that produces the sebum and causing the formation of oxygen with in the bacteria to kill them. These procedures are all still under testing and it is not known yet if the laser will cause any long-term damage to the skin.

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Author: Uzumaki Naruto

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