Acne Treatment for Males
Acne is a concern for both genders and is typically associated with adolescence--especially those awkward teen years--but it can occur at any stage in your life. The American Academy of Dermatology states that acne can affect grown men even into their 30s, 40s and 50s. Effective over-the-counter acne treatments for men are available but when these topical treatments fail, a prescription from your dermatologist may be in order.
Will You Get Acne?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, almost half of all adults experience acne. Fortunately for men, adult acne is more apt to affect women than men. One of the primary factors that causes acne is increased oil, or sebum, which is often a result of fluctuating or changing hormones. Women are more likely to experience acne due to hormones during their menstruation cycle, pregnancy and menopause. Of course, this does not make men immune to developing late-onset, or adult, acne. According to dermatologist Jeanette Graf, some are genetically predisposed to acne. Stress may also contribute to acne as well.
Preventing acne begins with good hygiene, for both men and women. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends cleansing your face twice per day with a mild cleanser, using only your hands or fingertips. Items coarse in texture, such as washcloths or scrubbing brushes, can cause your skin to produce more oil, which only worsens acne. The Mayo Clinic suggests using acne products containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or a combination of sulfur and alcohol. Products containing alcohol may cause dry skin, so start using milder treatments before venturing into stronger regimens.
The Mayo Clinic states that noticeable results from over-the-counter treatments may take six to eight weeks in mild cases of acne. When acne is moderately severe, you may need a topical or oral prescription medication. Your dermatologist may prescribe an antimicrobial to help eliminate bacteria caused by acne or retinoids to reduce the amount of clogged pores. Retinoids work by enhancing the sloughing of dead skin cells. For persistent cases of acne, your dermatologist may prescribe oral antibiotics. For very stubborn acne, your dermatologist might try laser and light therapies, which are most effective when you use them in conjunction with other acne treatments, such as topical medications or antibiotics. Treating acne is generally the same for males as females.
Treating Severe Acne
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, severe acne can cause scarring and disfiguration. You can develop deep nodules or cysts, which will warrant care from a dermatologist. In-office procedures can address individual cysts with treatments such as surgical excision, draining or injections of diluted corticosteroids. The American Academy of Dermatology states that for very severe acne, the most effective treatment is an oral medication called isotretinoin. Isotretinoin is taken daily for 14 to 20 weeks. Isotretinoin may not be right for all men since it can affect liver function and cholesterol levels. Men who do choose to use isotretinoin are closely monitored by their physician due to the nature of severe side effects. Side effects include severe diarrhea, impaired vision and hearing, depression and suicidal thoughts.
Male Acne Shaving Tips
Carefully choose your shaving materials, as shaving improperly can worsen your condition. Acne Helper recommends that you soften your skin and facial hair prior to shaving. You can accomplish this by holding a warm washcloth to the area. Softening your skin before shaving can help smooth your skin and also aid in removing dead skin cells, which helps reduce nicks. Preventing skin irritation is key when it comes to reducing acne, so make sure the razor is sharp and clean. Carefully shave around patches of acne to avoid popping or cutting any pimples. If you're one of those guys who must wear after-shave or shaving foams, choose a mildly formulated type. Your dermatologist can recommend shaving kits and formulas that cause less irritation for your skin type.
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