Acne Treatments: Comparing Old and New Remedies

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From occasional breakouts in the teenage years to chronic, ongoing battles that last clear into adulthood, acne is one of the most common — if not the most frustrating — of all Oxy Balance (a 5% solution) and Oxy Maximum (a stronger 10% solution) sell for about $5 for a 30- to 60-day supply. Alternately, Neutrogena’s On The Spot Acne Treatment contains the milder 2.5% benzoyl peroxide solution in a preparation closer to ProActiv, and it sells for about $6 for a 30- to 60-day supply.

More recently, another over-the-counter treatment emerged known as Nicomide-T. A topical preparation in cream or gel form, it is derived from vitamin B. In sun damage.

According to Bruce Katz, MD, one of the pioneers of this procedure, it has turned into a powerful one-two punch that not only clears acne lesions, but may be one of the first treatments to offer permanent results.

“So far, we are experiencing three years of clear skin. And it may be longer, but three years is the longest study we have thus far,” says Katz, director of the JUVA Skin and Laser Center in New York City.

Katz tells WebMD the treatment kicks in when the light source activates properties in the Levulan that both destroy the bacteria and shrink the oil gland, returning production back to normal.

“If the long-term results studies prove to be true then this is indeed an excellent advance that may work well for patients not wishing to take Accutane,” says Jamal.

Goldberg says the treatment is effective, but it can be problematic if patients do not follow the treatment with sunblock or stay out of the sun.

“Sunblock must be on for at least 24 hours after treatment and direct and indirect sun exposure must be avoided,” he says.

And, yes, it too is expensive. Treatment is rendered every two weeks for up to 12 weeks — at a cost of between $500 and $800 per session. Because skin is extremely sun-sensitive for 24 to 48 hours after each treatment, doctors recommend wearing a superstrong sunblock.

But you are getting a bit more for your money: Katz says not only are the results likely to be very long lasting, the treatment also offers antiaging benefits.