How Can You Treat Severe Acne?


Acne treatment is something that many people with blemishes on their face seek out. Unfortunately, for some people, acne can be rather severe, and that means more specific kinds of treatments are required. Severe acne is defined as blemishes that extend deeply into the skin and are often found spread over larger areas than typical acne. You might see severe acne along your jawline, neck or face and sometimes across the upper back, and is likely a combination of pimples, cysts, blackheads, and whiteheads. Severe acne can be painful and unsightly, so it makes sense to try some of the following treatments, with the help of a doctor, to help clear it up.



For some people with severe acne, antibiotics are a good choice. This kind of medication helps remove bacteria from the skin that can lead to clogged pores that cause the condition. Antibiotics tend to work best when combined with a retinoid product, but neither should be used without a doctor’s prescription. Be sure you follow the dosing instructions carefully for the best results.


As mentioned above, retinoids are an effective acne treatment, used in conjunction with antibiotics. The retinoids are generally delivered via a gel, cream or lotion that is applied directly to your acne. You will start with applications only a couple of times each week, building to more frequent applications. This medication works by keeping follicles in your skin clear, so they don’t get clogged.

Birth Control Pills

For women suffering from severe acne, birth control pills are sometimes used to control it. That’s because severe acne can sometimes be linked to hormonal shifts that birth control pills can help to regulate and level out. Birth control pills are often used alongside other forms of treatment, including some medications and topical creams.


This is an especially potent medication that works to target all the main symptoms of severe acne. That includes bacteria, excess oil, clogged pores, and redness and swelling. Many people with severe acne see up to an 85 per cent improvement in their acne with this medication. There are some side effects to consider when taking isotretinoin, so be sure you discuss it with your doctor before giving it a try.

Anti-Androgen Medications

This is another option that works well for women suffering from severe acne. Spironolactone is the most commonly used anti-androgen, and it works by blocking the hormones that cause acne. Like other medications, this option can cause some side effects, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before using it.

Acne Removal

For some people, removing the actual acne can clear things up. This involves seeing a dermatologist who will help you choose from a couple of methods for removing acne. This might be a corticosteroid shot that shrinks cysts and nodules, or it might involve an incision and drainage of your acne. Acne extraction is a method used to pull out blackheads and whiteheads.

Laser Therapy

Studies have found that light-based therapies often help with severe acne. They work by removing the top layers of skin. Though their effectiveness varies from patient to patient, they are a good option for some people. Another similar procedure is a chemical peel, which involves applying a solution to the face that removes the top layers of skin. Both generally need to be repeated several times before results are seen.

Dietary Changes

Sometimes making changes to the way you eat can help clear up your severe acne. Studies have shown that a low glycemic diet makes a big difference and involves avoiding foods like white bread, candy, cereal with a lot of sugar in it, ice cream, and other sugary treats. For other people, removing dairy from your meal plan can help clear up acne. Eating a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains is an excellent way to boost your skin health and help it look clean and clear.

Most people with severe acne will have to try various acne treatments until they find the one that best suits them and delivers effective and lasting results.