Mild cases of acne can usually be treated by topical creams or ointments. Treatments for more severe cases can include oral antibiotics, ointments and physical treatments like drainage or chemical peels.
Physical treatments must be done by a dermatologist. While popping your pimples does qualify as a physical treatments, it certainly is not recommended. It can cause the bacteria that causes acne to spread and could lead to scarring. Physical treatments administrated by a professional under controlled conditions will be less risky and more effective.
Exfoliation is basically the removal of the top layer of skin either by using chemicals or through abrasion. Chemical peels generally use salicylic or glycolic acid. They destroy a microscopic layer of skin cells which helps to unclog pores and get rid of dead cells.
Glycolic acid treatments are generally done over the course of several months, with a treatment every 2 to 4 weeks. Salicylic acid treatments are not as strong and can be used daily. They are often found in common over-the-counter treatments.
Comedones – aka whiteheads and blackheads – can be removed by a dermatologist. An anesthetic cream is applied to the immediate area and the comedones are removed with an instrument that opens the top, letting the sebum and dead skin cells be removed. This is normally followed by applying an antibiotic cream.
Serious cases of acne can lead to cysts forming under the skin, which can be both painful and cause disfiguring. Small cysts are often enriched by cortisone injections, flattening them in a couple of days.
Larger cysts will require drainage and surgery to remove them. Drainage often relieves some of the pain that comes with cysts and can also help to minimize scarring.
It is handled by a dermatologist, with sterile instruments. It is important that you do not try to drain cysts yourself because of the potential infection and scarring that could result.
Light therapy is another method that is sometimes used to fight the bacteria that causes acne. It can be especially helpful in hard-to-reach spots, but the effects will not last as long because it does not address the production of sebum and dead skin cells.
Laser therapy is often effective for treating with acne scarring. It can be used for both surface and deep tissues scarring.