Skin Creams for Acne
Each year 85 percent of teenagers in the U.S. will experience some form of acne. While the exact cause of acne is not known, there are a variety of proven treatments. The four main factors in acne are excess oil, clogged pores, bacteria and inflammation, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Knowing which acne factor each cream treats is the most efficient way to treat acne.
Azelaic Acid Cream
Azelaic acid is a topical acne cream. It reduces the growth of bacteria in the follicle and returns the skin cells of the follicle back to normal, according to the New Zealand Dermatological Society. It also reduces inflammation. Azelaic acid cream is applied to the skin daily and results should start to be seen after one month, with maximum results in six months.
Azelaic acid cream is especially useful in darker skinned patients because it helps to reduce pigmentation in acne spots. Acne spots leave persistent brown spots on the skin. Azelaic acid does not bleach normal skin. It is nontoxic and can be used by most patients with the exception of people with extremely sensitive skin or who suffer from eczema.
Salicylic acid is one of the top acne creams that can be purchased without a prescription. It works by slowing the skin cell turnover and preventing the pores from clogging. Salicylic acid may break down whiteheads and blackheads. It can cause stinging and minor skin irritations, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Benzoyl Peroxide kills propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes, that cause inflammation. It also removes excess oil from the skin, along with dead skin cells that clog pores. It can cause scaling, redness, burning, stinging and excessive dryness in people with sensitive skin. Benzoyl peroxide can bleach hair and clothing.
Retinol creams are made from vitamin A. They work by causing the skin to flake and peel, unclogging the pores. Retinol creams are available only by prescription. They come in cream, liquid and gel forms. Products such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and dandruff shampoos contain sulfur, do not react well with retinoids, and should not be used while being treated.
There are natural and synthetic retinoid creams. Both keep the pores clear and have proved effective at treating acne. Pregnant women are advised not to use synthetic retinoids as they have caused birth defects in animals, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Always wear a broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunblock of 30 SPF or higher when being treated with retinol products. They cause extreme sun sensitivity. Exposure to sun should be limited while using these products.
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