Acne Skin Cleansers
From pore-cleaning adhesive strips to overnight creams, topical acne treatments are as diverse as they are abundant. Due to ease of use and wide availability, acne skin cleansers are one of the more common acne-fighting products on the market. Consistent use of a cleanser can battle blemishes and restore a clear complexion for many people.
Acne skin cleansers may come in the form of gels, creams, lotions, ointments or medicated wash pads. Along with removing dirt and oil from the skin, cleansers typically contain active ingredients to control the growth of P. acnes, the bacteria responsible for acne. These bacteria-slaying substances include benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin, adapalene, retinoids and salicylic acid. Different brands of acne cleansers may contain one or more of these ingredients in varying quantities.
Acne skin cleansers work by clearing pore-clogging debris from the skin--including natural oils, cosmetics, sweat and dirt. Along with helping prevent the blockage of sebaceous follicles, acne cleansers allow medicated ingredients to easily reach infected pores, which may reduce the duration of existing breakouts as well as prevent new acne lesions from forming.
When used consistently, acne cleansers may help control mild to moderate acne by removing the factors that contribute to breakouts--particularly bacteria, oil, dead skin cells and residue from cosmetics--and thus improve the appearance of blemished skin. Because acne skin cleansers are topical, they present fewer side effects than systemic acne treatments like antibiotics and isotretinoin. Acne cleansers also tend to be less expensive than more aggressive treatments, and are typically available for over-the-counter purchase rather than requiring a prescription, which adds to their convenience.
Although acne skin cleansers are easy to acquire and use, they may not be effective in treating more severe forms of acne. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, advanced stages of acne, including nodules and cysts, may require treatment via oral antibiotics, corticosteroid injections or isotretinoin. In such cases, acne cleansers may be ineffectual at best. Individuals with mild to moderate acne, such as whiteheads, blackheads, papules and pustules, are more likely to benefit from the use of acne skin cleansers. In addition, not all skin cleansers are appropriate for all skin types; individuals with abnormally dry, oily or sensitive skin may need to choose a cleanser specifically designed for their complexion.
Excessive use of acne skin cleansers--especially when coupled with harsh scrubbing and exfoliating--may over-dry the skin, leading to irritation and aggravating existing breakouts. Skin Care Guide, a medical guide compiled by professional dermatologists, recommends limiting the use of acne skin cleansers to once or twice per day. The risk of over-drying the skin increases when using acne skin cleansers in conjunction with other acne-fighting products. In some individuals, specific ingredients in acne skin cleansers trigger allergic reactions, including rashes and itching.
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