How Long Does Acne Treatment Take?

If you have acne, then you probably want to get rid of it fast. However, the trouble with acne is that it takes a lot of time and dedication to figure out what treatments work for you so you can get control of your acne breakouts. At Burt and Will Plastic Surgery and Dermatology in Burr Ridge, IL, we understand that identifying your ideal acne treatment can take time, but we are committed to finding a treatment plan that is scientifically proven and cost-effective. Let’s learn more about what causes acne and how to treat acne effectively.

How Long Does Acne Treatment Take?

How long an acne treatment will take depends on the type of treatment being used and your skin’s response to the treatment. Some acne treatments can produce results in only a few weeks, while others may take a few months to show significant progress. Overall, the long-term goal of acne treatment is to treat active acne and prevent future acne breakouts.

Identifying the right treatment or combination treatments can take trial and error and will depend on factors related to your acne type, your skin type, the severity of your acne condition, and how committed you are to your treatment. People who are consistent with their acne treatment will generally be able to achieve their desired results more quickly.

What Are Your Treatment Options?

You will have several treatment options to address your acne concerns. Many of these treatments can be used alone or in combination with each other. Your treatment plan will be customized based on your specific acne type and what works best with your lifestyle and skincare goals. Your acne treatment options will include:

Medical Grade Skin Care

Medical grade skincare is one of the best ways to get a handle on your skin health. Skincare brands such as ZO Skin Health, Obagi Medical, and our Burt and Will product lines can include cleansers, creams, and other products that control oil production, kill acne-causing bacteria and encourage more rapid cellular turnover. The medical-grade skincare that will be recommended for your treatment will depend on your skin type and the type of acne you have.

Prescription Medications

Prescription medications are a cornerstone in dermatology for treating acne. Many experts agree that a combination of topical products and other prescriptions can address the cause of acne from inside your body, which will then improve the appearance of emerging acne or even prevent acne breakouts altogether.


Retinoids are the first line of defense for treatment options. Retinoids are a derivative of vitamin A and are known to improve cellular turnover, which then helps to prevent acne bumps. Topical creams made with retinol can significantly reduce acne breakouts and the appearance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, as well as shallow acne scarring and enlarged pores.


Accutane is the most popular pill medication that can be used to treat acne. Accutane is most commonly used for cystic acne or acne that causes scarring. This prescription is also a derivative of vitamin A is that essentially stops oil production within your skin, which then prevents acne breakouts. Accutane is typically used for a short time and can produce long-lasting results, but may not be appropriate for all patients.

Other Prescriptions

Other acne-treating prescriptions can include topical lotions, cleansing foams, gels that prevent scarring, birth control pills, antibiotics, and spironolactone. There are pros and cons for any prescription to treat acne, and some treatments may be too strong for people who have sensitive skin. In general, you will want to give prescription medications for acne for about four to eight weeks to determine whether or not the treatment is effective. Some treatments will require medical monitoring.

Laser Skin Treatments

Laser skin treatments are typically used to address acne scarring, which are shallow indentations that are left after acne has healed. Laser skin treatments are usually recommended when you have your acne breakouts under control and if you have moderate to severe acne scarring that doesn’t respond to other treatments. Laser treatments can produce collagen to realign scar tissue and also tighten the surface of the skin.

Medical Facials

Medical-grade facials are an ideal way to promote the continued health of your skin. Facials and chemical peels can reduce the production of oil, clean the skin, eliminate acne-causing bacteria, reduce the size of pores, and can also be used to accelerate cellular turnover. Facials will be customized to your precise skin needs and can be used as often as once a month to manage your skin condition and breakout patterns.

Medical Injectables

Medical injectables such as dermal fillers can be used to diminish the appearance of certain types of acne scars. You can also use steroid injections to soften the appearance of hypertrophic scarring. Medical injectables are typically only used when breakouts are under control, but they can produce results that last for six to 12 months.

Which Treatment Is Right for You?

Finding the right treatment for your acne may take some time, but you can be confident that your dermatologist will work with you every step of the way to identify treatments that are working for you and to find a treatment plan that minimizes unwanted side effects, such as dry skin. Keep in mind, however, that you will need to be patient with treatments for acne since it will take some time for your skin to respond to any of the treatment methods.

Acne FAQs

1. What Causes Acne?

Acne is generally caused by a combination of dead skin cells that clog pores, acne-causing bacteria that is found on the skin, and inflammation around hair follicles. Oil production may also be related to the development of fact me, particularly during puberty. Acne comes in many different forms, including pimples, cysts, nodules, small blemishes, blackheads, whiteheads, bumpy skin, and hyperpigmentation after acne.

2. Does Diet Affect Acne?

For years, there has been a debate among dermatologists about whether or not your diet can influence the development of acne, and the truth is we still have no idea. Does chocolate make acne breakouts worse? Does an oily diet cause more acne in certain areas of the face?

There the research related to diet and acne is still relatively new, but there may be some evidence that low glycemic index foods that do not spike your blood sugar can have a positive effect on acne breakouts. By avoiding high sugar and high sodium foods, you may be able to reduce acne breakouts if your diet is a contributing factor.

3. Is Acne Common?

Acne is a very common skin condition that almost 85% of teenagers and roughly 50% of adult women will experience. Unlike what we want to believe, acne doesn’t always stop after puberty and many people continue to experience acne well into their adult years.

Acne can be found on all skin types and skin tones, and whether or not you will develop scarring will depend on the type of acne you have and how prone your skin is to scarring, both of which may be determined by genetics and lifestyle factors like sun exposure.

4. Is Stress-Related Acne Real?

Some people may feel like they are more likely to develop acne when they are stressed. Experiencing stress can cause certain hormones to be produced in the body, which can then increase oil production that clogs pores and leads to acne. Stress can also cause inflammation of the skin, which can make acne seem worse. While stress isn’t enough by itself to cause acne, it can be a contributing factor that can make breakouts more severe.

5. Why Is Hormonal Acne Different?

Many women may experience acne breakouts one to two weeks before a menstrual cycle. Hormonal acne is often challenging to treat because hormones dictate the production of oil in the skin, as well as cravings that may make it more likely to eat high sugar foods that can make breakouts worse. Hormonal acne is also more likely to develop deeper within the skin and cause painful cysts.

Get Your Acne Under Control Today

Getting your acne under control can feel like a monumental task, but with guidance from an expert dermatologist you can quickly find the acne treatment that is most appropriate for your skin type and the type of acne you have. Some acne treatments you may want to consider include prescription medications, medical-grade facials, and medical-grade skincare products. Contact Burt and Will Plastic Surgery and Dermatology in Burr Ridge, IL today to schedule your initial skin evaluation and first appointment.

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