Quick Acne Solutions
The Acne Resource Center reports that acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the United States. It’s primarily known as a teen affliction, which begins when oil glands are first activated during puberty. But the truth is, about 20 percent of adults in America have acne. Only 11 percent of those with persistent breakouts seek medical attention.
What Causes Acne
Understanding what causes acne will help you to successfully treat your condition. Acne occurs when the hair follicle becomes clogged with dirt, bacteria, or dead skin cells that shed from the walls of the follicle. Breakouts can also occur from hormonal triggers, such as menstruation and pregnancy. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that stress can have an effect on your hormones and lead to breakouts.
In most cases, using over-the-counter medications to treat acne will help to control and prevent breakouts. Salicylic acid comes in soaps, gels, creams and astringents. It helps to prevent breakouts by slowing cells from shedding inside the hair follicle. It also dries the top layer of skin and causes it to peel. Benzoyl peroxide, available in gels and creams, kills the bacteria that can cause acne. By using benzoyl peroxide in anticipation of breakouts, you may be able to prevent acne from forming.
Acne.org recommends keeping your skin clean with soap and water. Although sweating does not cause acne, it can worsen a breakout. So, it’s important to shower after a vigorous workout. Additionally, a study by the Japan Society of Physiological Anthropology in 2008 found that people with acne who showered each morning were able to keep sebum, the oil secreted by skin, at bay for about four hours. Apply 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide gel or cream several times a day. Because benzoyl peroxide can be drying, use an oil-free moisturizer to minimize flaking and peeling.
What to Avoid
Picking at your lesions can cause scarring. Touching your face can make acne worse by getting oils into existing pimples and spreading oils on your skin. Try not to rub your cell phone against your face. Cell phones can harbor bacteria and can also spread oils. Wearing tight hats can cause acne to appear at your hairline. Chinstraps from bike and motorcycle helmets can cause breakouts, as well.
When to See a Doctor
If washing your skin and treating breakouts with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide does not clear your acne or prevent new breakouts, you may be suffering from hormonal acne. There are medications you doctor can prescribe to treat hormonal acne, from oral contraceptives to topical antibiotics. One characteristic of hormonal acne is that it will appear in cycles or at times of heightened stress or anxiety. The American Academy of Dermatologists suggests seeing a specialist if you have painful, pus-filled pimples, whiteheads or red spots on your skin.
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