Pimples are part of teenage life about as dreaded and unavoidable as the SATs. To get rid of these blemishes, Americans spend more than a billion dollars each year. But just how well do widely used treatments work against these common bacterial infections?
That is unclear, say researchers in a new paper published online in The Lancet. [Hywel Willams et al., "Acne vulgaris"]
From over-the-counter creams to prescription pills, few purported zit-busters have been compared to see which is most effective—and for whom. More than half of acne med studies had what the researchers called "serious flaws," which make it especially hard to determine what approach might provide the biggest pimple-blasting bang for the buck.
What’s more, some treatments contain antibiotics, long-term use of which has been linked to an increase in antibiotic-resistant infections.
Lifestyle changes, such as diet and hygiene, seem to help for some, but none are proven cure-alls.
Although the understanding of acne treatments is pockmarked, researchers hope that further study will zero in on the most effective answers. Until then, expect pre-prom pimple conniptions to continue.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast]