Simple Acne Solution
If you're afflicted with pimples, take heart in knowing you're not alone. Acne affects 40 to 50 million Americans, making it the most prevalent skin condition in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. A variety of treatments are available to those who have acne. Unfortunately, there's no single solution that works for everyone.
Home Skin Care
Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face twice a day. Washing more than that or using products such as masks, scrubs and astringents is likely to irritate your skin and may even aggravate your acne, says the Mayo Clinic. Also, if you use sunscreens, makeup or other cosmetics, read the labels to make sure they say "noncomedogenic" or "nonacnegenic," meaning they won't clog your pores, says the American Academy of Dermatology. Finally, wash your hands regularly, don't pick at your blemishes, and consistently wipe down objects that collect dirt and oil and frequently touch your face, such as your glasses and cell phone, says the Mayo Clinic.
Some over-the-counter skin products contain small amounts of medications that can reduce your acne. Active ingredients that may work for you are benzoyl peroxide and exfoliants such as alpha hydroxy acid and salicylic acid, according to the consumer website SkinSight.com. These products are generally most effective for mild cases of acne. If you have been using a product consistently for more than a few months and you don't see any results, talk to a dermatologist.
Prescription lotions contain stronger active ingredients to fight more persistent acne. Examples of prescription products are tretinoin and adapalene, which encourage cell turnover and help prevent your hair follicles from becoming plugged, according to the Mayo Clinic. Your dermatologist may recommend a topical antibiotic and benzoyl peroxide medication.
Your dermatologist may prescribe an oral treatment to reduce your breakouts. She might recommend an antibiotic such as erythromycin or tetracycline to act on the bacteria, an oral contraceptive to help regulate your hormones if you are female or perhaps even a potent drug called isotretinoin if you have severe and unresponsive acne, says SkinSight.com. Because of the risk of birth defects, isotretinoin cannot be taken by anyone who is pregnant or considering pregnancy.
Medication isn't the only acne solution at your disposal. You may be a candidate for light and laser therapies, says the Mayo Clinic. Laser therapy is thought to reduce acne by causing the oil glands to produce smaller amounts of oil, and light therapy reduces bacteria, according to the Mayo Clinic. Cosmetic procedures such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels may also help.
Acne treatments do not work overnight. The most effective acne treatments generally take four to eight weeks to kick in, and you will need to receive ongoing treatment to see the best results, advises the American Academy of Dermatology.
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