Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acne Skin Problems - Skin Care Regimen

Acne Skin Problems - Skin Care Regimen

Overview

Developing a skin care regimen is important to manage and control acne. When excessive amounts of sebum, which is oil, are produced, pores can become engorged, which leads to acne. By developing a routine, you can make sure your skin maintenance is under control before acne gets out of hand.

Use As Directed

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) stresses the importance of using products as directed. You may be tempted to scrub your skin a little harder or wash it more frequently than you should, but by doing this, you are risking side effects such as dry skin, skin irritation and increased acne. The AAD recommends using a mild cleanser no more than twice per day, or following the directions on the label.

Types of Cleansers

When reading product labels, it can be confusing and overwhelming. A variety of active ingredients are used in certain products, so it's imperative to understand how they work. According to the Mayo Clinic, benzoyl peroxide is probably the most effective active ingredient used on the market to treat acne; it removes excess oil and dead skin cells from your skin. It is important to note that benzoyl peroxide can cause excessive dry skin, redness, burning, scaling and stinging. Salicylic acid works by slowing the shedding of dead skin cells, which prevents future clogging. The Mayo Clinic states salicylic acid helps breakdown blackheads and whiteheads, but it can cause mild skin irritation and stinging. Alpha hydroxy acids are available in two forms, including lactic acid and glycolic acid. Alpha hydroxy acids have benefits such as promoting the growth of new skin, which helps reduce acne scars, and is made from synthetic versions of acids, which are derived from sugar-containing fruits. Sulfur, which is used in combination with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or resorcinol, works like benzoyl peroxide, but it has an unpleasant odor.

Application

Wash all acne-prone skin. Don't wash just the area where your blemishes are; wash your entire face to ensure any oil, debris and bacteria does not spread to other areas of your face. The AAD recommends using just enough cleanser so that you don't over do it. To increase the effectiveness of your acne medication, the AAD recommends applying several dabs to acne-affected areas. By doing this, you are delivering a stronger concentration of medicine to several areas at one time. The Mayo Clinic recommends using two separate cleansers with different active ingredients to combat stubborn acne. An example of this would be using one cleanser containing benzoyl peroxide in the morning and a different cleanser with salicylic acid at night before bed.

Using Additional Products

If you use additional products such as acne creams or lotions, the AAD recommends waiting 10 to 15 minutes after cleansing your face to apply these products. Allowing a waiting period between cleansing and applying additional products reduces the risk of unnecessary skin irritation. If you begin to experience dry, peeling skin, you can alleviate these symptoms by applying an oil-free moisturizer after cleansing, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Warnings

Avoid using rubbing alcohol, facial masks, toners, astringents and exfoliators. The AAD states that these products can cause dry skin, irritate the skin and worsen acne. Your cleanser should not feel abrasive and should not contain alcohol, according to the AAD. Keep things away from your face, such as hair, cell phones and telephone receivers. When these items come in contact with your skin they can smear oil, dirt and debris or even transfer oil and dirt from the item to your face.

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