An unwelcome addition to any complexion, acne can impact both your appearance and self-image. While some individuals are lucky enough to experience only the occasional skin blemish, there are others who deal with moderate to severe breakouts on a daily basis. In most cases, these pimples are more than just your average blackhead or whiteheads, and are mixed with acne nodes. Appearing on the face, neck, chest and back these pimples form deep under the surface of the skin and are one of the most common causes of the formation of acne scars. Unlike mild to (some) moderate breakouts, this condition can not be remedied by traditional over the counter creams, facial cleansers, toners and masks. Instead treatment by a dermatologist is required –and antibiotic treatment for nodular acne is the most common starting point.
What is Nodular Acne?
This type of pimple is very different from the typical whitehead or blackhead. These two types of acne form near the surface of the skin, and often disappear in a few days. Often, breakouts can be prevented and minimized using average retail products such as antibacterial facial cleansers, washes and moisturizers.
Nodular acne forms in the deepest layers of the skin, and causes bumps and “boils” to appear on the surface. These skin blemishes are often red in appearance and extremely painful – and often take a week or longer to reduce in size and inflammation. They form in hair follicles under the skin and are filled with bacteria, fluid and dead cells. In some cases, these nodes will not reduce on their own, and must be treated by a dermatologist. Also, these breakouts are often unresponsive to traditional cleansers and acne washes. Because of this, antibiotics are traditionally the first course of treatment used to remedy this condition.
But what could make this type of acne even worse? Acne nodes are the most common cause of scarring – which permanently damage the surface of the skin. When this occurs, only a dermatologist can correct the redness, indentations, and surface irregularities that result.
Cystic versus Nodular
You may hear the terms nodular and cystic acne used interchangeably. These two types are very closely related, and many dermatologists believe cysts are actually nodular breakouts. Also, you may hear the term nodulocystic acne – which demonstrates how closely these conditions are related.
Why are Antibiotics Needed?
Acne is caused by an increase of bacteria on the surface of the skin that becomes trapped in the pores and hair follicles. This common cause is the primary reason why dermatologists prescribe antibiotics as a course of treatment. Most prescriptions are given over several weeks to several months time to kill and reduce the levels of bacteria on the skin. In most cases, once the levels of bacteria decline the breakouts decrease and eventually fade away. Once an individual’s nodular acne is treated, residual scarring and skin irregularities can be addressed.
Types of Antibiotic Medications for Nodular Acne
Not all antibiotic prescriptions are effective at reducing and treating acne nodes. According to NIAMS (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases) some of the most popular treatments include:
Other less popular choices for antibiotic treatment include:
Also, to increase the effectiveness of this acne treatment, dermatologists will often prescribe a topical retinod (Retin-A, also known as vitamin A for acne.)
What Happens when Antibiotic Management for Acne Nodes Doesn’t Work?
Not all antibiotic medications can effectively eliminate and manage the appearance of nodular acne – which is the most difficult part of treatment for patients and dermatologists. When these prescriptions are ineffective or are met with minimal results, alternative medications are used. The most common solution is to prescribe Isotrentin or Accutane, but because of the high risk of side effects this medication is prescribed only after all other solutions are exhausted.
Antibiotic treatments for nodular acne can be extremely effective at alleviating moderate to severe breakouts. So stop living with blemishes that not only impact your appearance and your self-esteem. Schedule an appointment with a dermatologist today to find out if this solution is right for you.