Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Why Acne Treatments Don't Work

In life, when the truly important things seem to go wrong, it seems as if everything goes wrong. This certainly seems true when one’s only major hope in life is to have clear skin. In the pursuit of perfect skin, teenagers and adults may run through three to ten different acne treatments yet, seemingly never get a pimple reprieve.

Why does this happen and how can the people longing for clear skin finally get their just desires?

Not Exploring Multiple Acne Options
Could indolence be the answer? This February, a report in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology & Venereology found that acne treatments may not work because persons suffering with acne simply opt not to seek treatment. Researchers from England examined 594 adolescents between the ages 14-18 with acne lesions on their face and/or body.

The researchers found that only a quarter of the participants with 20 or more papules and/or pustules used a topical acne treatment and while just 10% sought systemic therapy.

Frustration with Acne Treatment Ineffectiveness
The effect of diminishing returns could also undermine the performance of an acne treatment. This means that as a patient has more negative experiences with an acne treatment, the less likely his is to believe that another acne product will prove effective.

For example, a study, from the above journal, examined the effect an acne treatment has on the quality of life of the patient. In Spain, researchers examined 1878 patients who received acne treatment with topical 4% erythromycin 0.2% zinc under clinical supervision.

After issuing quality of life questionnaires to the participants, the investigators found that if the treatment does not work, the quality of life of the patient goes down. Likewise, patients who reported their skin condition as “the same” or “worse” at the end of the study had significantly worse baseline scores on their symptoms and emotions scoring.

Having one bad experience with an acne treatment saddens the acne patient more and makes their acne condition seem worse that it actually is.

While the report from Spain illustrated what does not work in treating acne, an investigation issued in Journal of Dermatology back in October of 2006 shed light on how to improve a person’s quality of life with acne. The study involved 50 women with acne.

One half of the women receive a conventional acne treatment and instructions on how to use cosmetics with the acne prevention regime. The other half only received the acne treatment with no cosmetic instructions.

After four weeks of treatment, both groups experienced similar improvements in the condition of their skin. But, the group that received instructions from the dermatologist posted higher scores on the psychological quality of life test.

These findings suggest that patients using acne treatments should also receive instructions for using skin care and cosmetics.

Inadequate Instructions on Acne Product Usage
But in same cases, as pointed out in a study from the British Journal of Dermatology, sometimes acne treatments do not work simply because the patient did not use them correctly or long enough.

In May of 2005, researchers evaluated 687 patients from a dermatology outpatient clinic. The patients used isotretinoin or conventional acne therapies. Of the 687 patients 403 completed the study and the compliance questionnaires.

The researchers found that younger patients were less likely to adhere to the instructions for the acne treatment than older patients. On the other hand, being female, married, employed and not paying for prescriptions were associated with a higher medical adherence.

According to the researchers, the major reasons for missing treatment given by the patients were being fed up, forgetful or too busy. Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol also reduced medical adherence.

It is noteworthy that medical adherence was greater for isotretinoin therapy (also sold under the name Accutane) and for first time usage of isotretinoin.

Perhaps correctly following the instructions for isotretinoin is not only related to the fact that using the drug requires pre-screening health tests, detailed instructions and monthly follow-ups, but the treatment itself is relatively expensive which can re-enforce the desire to get what one has paid for.

In short, medical studies suggest that acne treatments do not work for multiple reasons. It could be that the treatment was not used long enough, the patient is annoyed with searching for “the magic acne cure”, or that the patient did not receive adequate instructions regarding how to use the treatment and completely integrate it with her lifestyle.

Get More from Your Acne Treatment
Given these findings, people with acne can take steps to increase the chances that their treatment will work by doing the following:

1. Get complete information on how to correctly use the acne treatment;

2. Ask how long the product will needed to be used to see visible improvements and

3. Use the acne treatment consistently

Naweko Nicole Dial San-Joyz founded Noixia, a San Diego based research firm dedicated to helping people intelligently, safely and affordably enhance their image by offering custom skin solutions to people with acne scars on the face and body. San-Joyz She has appeared on radio stations, in newspapers and on TV shows across the United States promoting beauty through health consciousness. Anyone seeking to enhance their image and remove acne scarring can find custom, clinically proven solutions at Noixia.com


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