When acne becomes inflamed, it can be very painful and difficult to treat. Curing acne before it becomes inflamed is very beneficial to your skin so that your acne does not worsen or become more difficult to treat. The American Dermatologist Association reports that approximately 17 million Americans have acne and about 30 percent of those who suffer from acne will treat their condition with over-the-counter products. Are you using the right one?
While all acne may have some degree of inflammation, certain types of acne are more prone to become inflamed than others. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common type of acne to become inflamed is papules and postules. These are often small bumps, red in color that are tender to the touch. These are also known as pimples. Nodules and cysts may also become inflamed. The Mayo Clinic describes cysts as having boil-like properties. Both nodules and cysts form deep beneath the skin and fill with yellow fluid and are often painful.
While you may want to scrub away your acne, the Mayo Clinic and American Academy of Family Physicians warn strongly against doing this. When you scrub your acne, it only causes inflammation and irritation and can lead to more acne. Using harsh cleansers on your acne can also cause inflammation. Harsh cleansers include ones that are too strong for your type of skin. Abrasive cleansers contain scrubbing agents such as beads or have a course texture. Washing your face too often can also cause acne to become inflamed.
The Mayo Clinic and American Academy of Family Physicians recommend using a gentle cleanser on your skin, washing once or twice per day. Avoid touching, picking or popping your acne, as this will only worsen your condition and cause more inflammation. If your acne requires removal, only a licensed dermatologist should perform this procedure under a sterile environment. Avoid using oily products or products that are greasy. Use products that are labeled "oil-free" or "noncomedogenic" or "acnecomedogenic." These products will not cause your pores to clog and will not cause pimples.
If you notice that your cleanser or other skin care products are aggravating your acne, discontinue use immediately. If a product is aggravating your acne, it can cause inflammation, according to the Mayo Clinic. If your acne products are causing dry, scaly skin you should also discontinue use. Acne products should help to reduce irritation and inflammation, not encourage it. Using products that contain benzoyl peroxide may cause stinging and that stinging sensation is a sign of irritation--which will only worsen inflamed acne conditions.
When to See Your Dermatologist
If your acne is so inflamed that it is very tender to the touch or causes scarring, see your dermatologist. It is possible that your acne condition warrants a prescription, such as an antibiotic or a topical ointment. If you're using over-the-counter products that have caused inflammation, you may need a gentler product, one that your dermatologist can prescribe.
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