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Acne: What You Need to Know


Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples. Acne is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages. Effective acne treatments are available, but acne can be persistent.  Depending on its severity, acne can cause emotional distress and scar the skin. The earlier you start treatment, the lower your risk of such problems.


At Dermatology Care of Alabama we offer a variety of acne treatments and we have treated thousands of patients. Given the large college student population in our area, we are also accustomed to working in consult with a patient’s provider in their home state or city, all to best meet the needs and course of treatment for each patient. 

Depending on the severity of your acne, you may be prescribed different courses of treatment.


Severe acne can be difficult to treat. When other treatments fail to clear the skin, isotretinoin may be an option. Treatment with isotretinoin often results in prolonged clearance of acne, which can be permanent for some patients.

Isotretinoin is a prescription medicine for severe acne. This type of acne causes deep, painful cysts and nodules. These can be the size of a pencil eraser or larger. As this acne clears, scars often appear. 

Brand names for isotretinoin include Absorica®, Accutane®, Amnesteem®, Claravis®, Myorisan®, Sotret®, and Zenatane™.



Here’s what you can expect if your Doctor has determined that Isotretinoin is the best course of treatment for your acne. 

One course of treatment takes about four to five months. Sometimes, one course of treatment takes less time or a bit more time. Doctors tailor the treatment to each patient. 

Due to possible side effects, your dermatologist can only prescribe this medicine if you: 

  • Enroll in a program from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

  • See your dermatologist for follow-up visits

  • Sign forms that state you know the risks of taking isotretinoin

Patients who can become pregnant must take a few extra precautions:

  • Take required pregnancy tests before and while taking isotretinoin

  • Avoid getting pregnant


Patient safety is always our first concern. If this medicine is an option for you, your doctor will talk with you about how to take this medicine safely and what you can expect. You and your doctor should jointly decide whether this medicine is right for you.

If isotretinoin is an appropriate treatment for you, you will be under close medical supervision while you take this medicine.


Non-Medical Treatment

There are other acne treatments available that do not require medication. These treatments however are considered cosmetic and costs are not covered by insurance. 

Laser, microneedling and fractional plasma treatments are all shown to improve the appearance of acne. However, most treatments require a series of 3-5 visits, results may vary and can take weeks to be fully visible. 

If you are interested in any non-medical treatment of acne, you may schedule a free consultation with one of our aestheticians in our Aesthetics Center located next door to our clinic. 

Acne Skin Care 

Prescribing medication is one step toward helping you resolve your acne. Your Doctor will recommend you maintain a skin care regimen of regular cleansing and moisturizing with medical grade skin care products in order to achieve the best results. 

These products are conveniently available for purchase in our Aesthetics Center and in Shine Facial Bar and Skin Health Studio located next door to our clinic. 

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