Adult Acne Care
Acne doesn't always remain a problem of the past once you've graduated from high school. It's the most prevalent skin condition in the United States, affecting millions of adults as well as teens, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Although pimples aren't lethal, serious cases of acne can cause severe emotional distress and permanent disfigurement. Fortunately, combining medical treatment with simple home care strategies is effective in reducing acne, regardless of your age.
Keep your skin clean by washing it twice per day with a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water. Overwashing and scrubbing aggressively can irritate your skin and potentially make your acne worse. Use an over-the-counter acne gel or lotion that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide as active ingredient to help promote skin cell turnover and dry out excess oil. Avoid using oily products on your face -- or hair, if you get acne around the hairline -- by buying only cosmetics and toiletries that are labeled "noncomedogenic," "water-based" or "nonacnegenic." To reduce your risk of breakouts, keep your hands away from your face if you haven't washed them, avoid picking at pimples and regularly clean off surfaces that regularly touch your skin, such as your cell phone and glasses.
Your dermatologist will consider factors such as your age, sex and the severity of your acne before she prescribes a treatment. If you are a woman, she will also consider whether you are trying to become pregnant or if you are nursing or pregnant, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Your dermatologist might prescribe a topical medication such as a stronger version of benzoyl peroxide gel, an antibacterial gel to fight bacteria, or a retinoid to unclog pores and reduce any inflammation, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. He might also prescribe oral antibiotics or an oral retinoid to help treat moderate or severe acne.
Laser therapy can target an underlying skin layer to reduce the amount of oil your skin produces, and light therapy can help reduce inflammation by targeting bacteria. Dermatologists typically recommend these procedures for patients who have skin that can't tolerate acne medications. Your dermatologist may also recommend microdermabrasion or chemical peels -- which help slough off the top layer of skin cells -- to supplement any acne medication you may be taking.
Although you may be tempted to buy into a program that promises instant acne-clearing results, an overnight cure is not available. Most acne treatment takes four to eight weeks and, in most cases, you must continue treatment to maintain the results, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
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