Acne Causes & Treatments
When trying to treat acne, many people rush to the drug store and pick up the first topical treatment they see. While some might get lucky with this approach, others might not experience much success. A better approach involves understanding why you have the problem in the first place. Then you can target acne treatment for more effective results.
Acne is a skin condition that causes blemishes to appear. These blemishes stem from clogged pores. Partially blocked pores are called whiteheads, while fully blocked ones are blackheads. Severe acne shows up as nodules (hard blemishes beneath the skin) and cysts (blister-like lesions), which require dermatological intervention to prevent scarring.
Some people are more genetically predisposed than others for developing acne. So, if your mom or dad had acne, it's likely you will, too. Hormone fluctuations, having oily skin or skin that doesn't slough off dead skin cells fast enough can cause acne.
Sometimes external factors can cause acne. Certain scented or dyed soaps, lotions, perfumes, shampoos, hair products, make up and laundry detergent can lead to breakouts. Some abrasive fabrics can cause acne on your body. Wearing sporting equipment can chafe and cause acne in those areas. Touching your face, leaning on your hands or wearing your hair so that it touches your face can also lead to breakouts.
Treating acne topically is one of the most common ways to eliminate blemishes. Over-the-counter formulations include creams and cleansers that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Other topical treatments may need to be prescribed such as topical antibiotics and retinoids, which help kill surface bacteria and unclog pores.
More Invasive Treatments
In cases of very severe acne, more invasive treatments are needed. For instance, large cysts may need to be drained or have the material inside surgically removed. A corticosteroid may be injected into lesions to help them heal. Prescription drugs such as oral antibiotics and isotretinoin are also used to heal acne from the inside out. For women, oral contraceptives can help regulate hormone levels and prevent breakouts over time.
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