What Is the Best Acne Treatment for You?

A woman looking at her skin in the mirror (model)

Acne is a skin condition that can affect teens and adults alike and is often frustrating and challenging to treat. Typically, acne occurs on your skin in the form of pustules, papules, or comedones due to bacteria and excess oil clogging your pores. While there is no cure for acne, a dermatologist can provide effective treatment options to manage it.

The right acne treatment for you depends on various factors, including your skin type, where your breakouts are occurring, and the type of acne you have.

Prescription Topical Treatments

Your dermatologist may prescribe tretinoin (Retin-A) if you have mild to severe acne. This acne cream stimulates skin cell turnover, so old skin cells are less likely to get trapped in your hair follicles. This treatment also regulates natural oil production in your skin to avoid excess oil clogging your pores.

Some patients experience redness, peeling, and itching after using this topical treatment. Using a daily moisturizer to hydrate your skin can help with some of these symptoms.

Oral Antibiotics

If you don’t see improvements with topical treatments, oral antibiotics such as doxycycline and erythromycin may help improve moderate to severe acne. Oral antibiotics kill acne-causing bacteria.

Depending on the severity of your acne, you will need to take oral antibiotics for 3 to 4 months before you see results. After you stop taking antibiotics, your dermatologist will recommend a topical treatment to maintain your results.

Drying Agents

These topical acne treatments contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, zinc oxide, or benzoyl peroxide that reduce inflammation on your skin and unclog pores. Benzoyl peroxide carries more oxygen to your pores and makes it harder for bacteria to survive, thus reducing breakouts on your skin. These treatments work best for mild or early-onset acne.

You can sometimes combine this treatment with a HydraFacial® to improve your skin’s tone and texture. However, to avoid irritation, you must stop using drying agents like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide for a few days before getting your HydraFacial.


Also known as isotretinoin, Accutane treats severe acne that doesn’t respond to other treatments. Accutane is a synthetic form of vitamin A and helps with skin cell turnover, which results in fewer clogged pores. This treatment is effective for nearly all types of acne, and most people need to continue the treatment for 4 to 5 months to see results.

Finding the best acne treatment for you is often challenging, but a skilled and experienced dermatologist can steer you in the right direction. We work with people of all ages who come to our practice seeking help for their mild, moderate, and severe acne. To see how we can help you achieve clear, blemish-free skin, request a consultation or call us at (530) 342-8295 to schedule an appointment.

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Celebrating Excellence in Dermatology

Chico News & Review has named Dr. Hodari “Best Dermatologist” in its 2023 Best of Chico Awards. This accolade recognizes his commitment to delivering top-tier medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology services, such as laser skin rejuvenation and BOTOX® injections.