Free Acne Solutions
The cost of having clear, beautiful skin can really add up. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, in 2004, Americans spent more than $2.2 billion on acne treatments, including prescription and over-the-counter products. Acne affects between 40 to 50 million people across the country. If you're one of them, you may be in the market for some free acne treatments.
Currently, isotretinoin --- more commonly known by the brand name Accutane --- is the only known cure for acne. It's effective for about 50 percent of people who use it, notes the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. All other treatments --- including the free ones listed here --- help to control acne and heal your skin, but they cannot cure it.
Acne isn't caused by dirt, so scrubbing your skin isn't necessary. In fact, it can make it worse, states the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Being more gentle during your daily skin cleansing routine is another free acne solution to try. In general, washing twice a day with a mild cleanser is advised. However, if your skin tends to be oilier, the AOCD recommends washing it more often. Do not use harsh abrasive cleansers or scrub pads.
While the verdict is still out on whether diet can cause acne, there is evidence that it can make acne worse. The hormones in meat and meat products such as eggs, milk and cheese can aggravate acne, which is significantly influenced by hormonal factors, according to "Prescription for Drug Alternatives." Instead of your daily meat fix, the authors recommend eating more cold-water fish. Also, try eating more vegetables that work well as meat substitutes such as mushrooms.
You may have noticed that your acne becomes worse when you're going through a stressful period. As the authors of "Prescription for Drug Alternatives" explain, elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol can cause hormonal changes that make acne worse. Also, stress boosts inflammation that plays a role in acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Practice stress-reduction techniques daily such as meditation, deep breathing or yoga. Try to avoid situations you know increase your stress and learn to say "no" or to delegate at home and at work.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you've tried various acne solutions --- free or otherwise --- to control your acne and you do not notice any improvements, consult a dermatologist. Acne blemishes can leave behind scars, cause you to withdraw socially or even lead to depression. Waiting to "outgrow" acne can be costly, according to the AOCD. Be proactive to get the clear skin you want and to boost your confidence.
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