Does Retinoids Work for Acne Treatment?


Using retinoids is one of the most common ways dermatologists prescribe to their patients to treat acne, white heads, and blackheads.

Retinoids are essentially substances derived from Vitamin A. There are two types of such substances, based on application: external (topical) and oral. The best known external retinoids are Retin-A, Tretin-X, Differin and Tazorac, while the oral retinoids list is headed by the popular Accutane.

Retinoids work by increasing skin cell turnover and promoting unplugging of substances that caused clogged pores. AS you know, acne starts when the pores are clogged. This provides a fertile ground for acne bacteria to thrive.

Retinoids are quite effective at preventing the pores from being clogged. This primary effect is the main reason why retinoids are so effective against acne. Treatments usually can last a few months. Some patients require longer time.

Side Effects of Retinoids

We know retinoids can be effective for treating acne. But is using retinoids for acne treatment safe? The biggest disadvantage of retinoids is the long list of side effects, which makes retinoids seem more like a poison rather than a cure. Retinoids are used only under the close supervision of a dermatologist precisely because of these side effects. If a patient needs more than one treatment, the doctor will always insist on letting a few months pass between the treatments in order to give the body a chance to recover.

The most common side effects are dry, irritated, reddish skin and nosebleeds. Many patients have also reported liver problems, while a few complained of depression. However, the scientific community is still split on the issue of depression. More seriously, isotretinoin is known to cause birth defects, which is why female patients have to use two separate forms of birth control or vow abstinence during the treatment. Pregnant women are not allowed to use anything but the mildest treatments.

The bottom line is that using retinoids for acne treatment are a good idea if one can cope with the side effects. This begs the question: why not use something just as effective, but without the side effects. Natural acne treatment systems such as Zenmed is just as effective, yet without the serious side effects.