Acne is a condition which is often difficult to deal with, both physically and psychologically. Many teenagers suffer for days and months at a time when they must attend school or see their peers with an acne outbreak. Unfortunately, too many times teenagers are also the brunt of teasing and bullying because of a particularly bad outbreak of acne.
Due to the psychological and emotional trauma that teenagers can suffer they may attempt to use a variety of products in order to treat and cure the skin condition, and thereby alleviate their suffering. A new topical medication which is available for teenagers and adults is Tazorac. Tazorac, or Tazorotene, is a translucent gel which contains a drug in a class of retinoids. This is a class of chemical compounds which is related to vitamin A. (1)
These retinoid compounds are used in medication to regulate epithelial growth of cells and are especially useful for their treatments of whiteheads and blackheads. Retinoids work by increasing skin cell turnover. This means that it decreases the number of days skin cells will remain on the face before dying and sloughing off. This also will bring to the surface and new skin cells much more quickly.
By increasing turnover, the old cells are expelled which unplugs congested follicles of bacteria and oils. By constantly replenishing the cells, they also aid in the prevention of new blackheads and whiteheads.
The manufacturing company, Allergan, publishes several precautions for individuals who are interested in using the medication. It should not be used if you’re taking drugs that increase sensitivity to sunlight and individuals should always use protective clothing and sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 during the day. The manufacturer also warns that it should be discontinued if the individual develops a sunburn, eczema or any other continuing skin condition.
The most common side effects appeared to be peeling, stinging and burning, dry skin, and itching.
The company believes that Tazorac is unique because it belongs to a drug classification called prodrug. This is a classification of medications that are supplied in a chemically inactive form and become active only after it enters the body. In the case of Tazorac the active ingredient become effective once it passes through the skin. No other retinoid medication behaves in the same way.
Individuals who have used the medication have seen improvement after four weeks. The first few weeks of treatment the skin appears to be getting worse but after four weeks the begins to improve. Individuals who have stuck with the regimen for the entire 12 weeks have shown significant improvement in their acne breakouts.
Tazorac also carries a warning because it is in the classification of retinoids. It can cause harm to a developing baby when administered to a pregnant woman. Individuals who are pregnant, attempting to get pregnant, at high risk of pregnancy or are nursing should not take this medication. Women should take a pregnancy test two weeks prior to beginning the use of the medication and use appropriate birth control measures while on the medication.
Individuals who are considering the medication should discuss the option with their primary care physician or dermatologist. They should also talk with their physician if they are especially sensitive to sunlight, spend a considerable time outside because of their job or recreational activities, are currently taking vitamin A. in another form, have lentigo maligna (skin cancer), are using other over-the-counter medications or prescriptions for their skin or are taking any vitamins or herbal supplements. Any of these factors may present a challenge for the individual to begin treatments.
Some individuals have also noted that their skin became oily in the first weeks and months when using the medication. Others have also noted that it helped with the appearance of scar tissue from previous acne outbreaks.
There are definite advantages and disadvantages to using this medication. While research has indicated that there are some significant benefits to acne treatment, there are some who find the negative side effects to be greater than any benefits that they are receiving. Like all medications there may be some individual reactivity based on biochemistry and nutritional background. Only you and your dermatologist can make the decision about whether Tazorac is right for you.
(1) Drugs.com: Tazorac