Medical board: Treatment for pimples may take 6 months

I am a girl of 19. I have a serious skin problem. I feel uncomfortable to talk with people as they easily notice my skin problem. My skin is oily, whitish and highly sensitive to the sun. I have problems like acne, pimples, dark spots and black heads. I have taken twice all those medicines prescribed by doctors like Retino 0.025 per cent, acne guard soap, clingard gel and Doxycyclin tablets et cetera. And, it seems only 60 per cent of my problem is in control. Still, my face is dull and full of all pimples marks and black heads. I am tired of using all those medicines and right now I am using an ordinary oil-free cream. Please suggest how can I have a glowing, healthy, fresh and marks-free skin? Can I use oil-free sunscreen lotion?

— Bindu Thapa

First you should know that the problems that you are facing are quite common in your age group. I am sure if you take care of these problems in a proper way you will feel more comfortable. Both the prevention and treatment will take some months to give results.

Oiliness gives undesirable look and is also a major cause of pimples, folliculitis (boils) and a type of eczema known as seborrhoeic dermatitis. First you should take care of oily skin.

Rule 1: Avoid or use less, oily creams, when necessary choose a lotion/milk form.

Rule 2: Wash frequently but gently with small amount of soap or face wash, twice or thrice daily. Washing only with water will not remove the oily secretions.

Rule 3: Use a soap, which does not contain glycerine, better a face wash with 5.5pH.

Reducing oiliness will gradually reduce pimples also. Do not squeeze pimples, which usually cause inflammation and later leaves scars. Let them dry gradually; it will take some more time.

It is quite normal to try a lot of medications for pimples. The treatment consists mainly of antibiotics, Vitamin A derivatives and hormones. Treatment for pimples is long, at least for six months and to see some results it will take 2-3 months. Normally in most cases they do help. It will be better if you once again follow a course of appropriate treatment, under dermatological consultation and see the results.

Remember that acne is an age related skin problem. They come in early adolescence and go around the age of 25. Medications only control acne and do not cure it.

It is better to avoid sunscreens, even oil-free ones are oily. I would advice a hat or umbrella for sun protection.

— Dr Dwarika P Shrestha