Are antibiotics a good acne treatment?

Here’s an idea: dermatologists should stop prescribing antibiotics to treat acne.

That’s according to Dr. Theodore Rosen, a dermatologist who believes that antibiotics can cause more harm than good. Dr. Rosen says that antibiotic use causes too many side  effects that are much worse than acne. Read the full article at Internal Medicine News for a detailed explanation of his position.

Dr. Rosen also mentions that two studies have shown benzoyl peroxide works just as well as oral antibiotics. While benzoyl peroxide can cause side effects, they are rarely as serious as those created by antibiotics. Also, using too many antibiotics can cause long term detriments to a person’s health by weakening the immune system and kill off the weakest germs in the body. Basic evolution tells us that killing off the weakest ones will only cause more potent strains in the future.

Dr. Rosen has a very good point, but it isn’t one that all dermatologists share.

For instance, some dermatologists point out that people with severe acne often need antibiotics to prevent scarring that can last a lifetime. The negative effects that serious acne can have on a person’s mental health should also be considered. Severe acne can also cause pain, swelling, and infections.

Perhaps the real solution is that dermatologists should use antibiotics as a last resort. There are plenty of OTC and prescription treatments that don’t use antibiotics. Why not give them a try first? That would help patients choose treatments that give them positive results without causing serious side effects.

 

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