Treatment For Face Pimples
Pimples, also known as acne vulgaris, affect 40 to 50 million people in the United States and are the most frequently treated skin condition, notes the American Academy of Dermatology. Face pimples go hand in hand with adolescence, a time of life when the necessary conditions for acne converge, but you can get pimples at any age. You may suffer from the occasional outbreak of pimples that requires nominal treatment, but acne can also result in deep, pus-filled abscesses that cause extensive scarring. Treatment for face pimples may be something you can pursue on your own, but to resolve them entirely, you may need medical intervention.
What Causes Pimples to Form
Pimples form when dried sebum (oil), dead skin cells and bacteria clog your hair follicles, preventing oil produced by the sebaceous glands from escaping through your pores. These plugs allow bacteria to propagate inside of the follicle. The resultant inflammation is a pimple. Pimples are also indirectly caused by hormones called androgens, which surge during adolescence and stimulate the sebaceous glands into producing too much oil. The National Women's Health Information Center indicates that pimples affect men and women differently. While young men usually get the worst type of acne, women tend to get pimples randomly due to hormonal fluctuations that occur during their menstrual cycles or pregnancy.
If you get pimples, you don't necessarily have a dirty face, notes the AAD. However, washing your face at least twice a day can reduce the amount of excess oil and bacteria on your skin. There's no need to use a harsh cleanser and washcloth to scrub your face; in fact, this can cause your skin to produce more oil. The AAD advises using a mild cleanser and using your fingertips. Blot your face dry on a towel--don't rub. The Mayo Clinic urges you not to squeeze or pick at your pimples. This can force bacteria deeper into your skin and result in more pronounced inflammation and possible scarring.
Selecting the Right Treatment
There are numerous over-the-counter topical treatments from which you can choose--but which one is best? The Mayo Clinic advises paying attention to the active ingredients in your drugstore products. Benzoyl peroxide is cited as being one of the most effective agents in treating acne. But the Mayo Clinic notes that over-the-counter products containing salicylic acid or combinations of sulfur and resorcinol or alcohol and acetone may also be helpful. To read more about how these ingredients fight pimples, see the Resources link below.
About Natural Treatments
Special diets, dietary supplements and herbs are natural treatments that purportedly treat pimples. However, the Mayo Clinic notes that most of these haven't been proven to affect acne. Clinic experts list tea tree oil, zinc supplements and glycolic acid as natural treatments with potential to be of benefit in reducing pimples, although again, evidence to support their efficacy is scant. Those with acne rosacea should not use tea tree oil, as it can exacerbate this condition. Contact dermatitis is a potential hazard when applying tea tree oil topically, and Mayo Clinic experts note it may cause breast development in young men.
Medical Treatment for Pimples
The Mayo Clinic states that if you have mild acne, you may be able to resolve it using antibacterial topical treatments and drying agents that are applied to the surface of your skin. But if your pimples are moderate to severe, you may require use of both topical treatments and oral antibiotics, or another combination of dermatologist-recommended treatment methods and prescription medications. If your pimples are severe--if you feel painful bumps under your skin that are slow to heal--this always requires a dermatologist's intervention, warns the AAD. Pimples that are actually nodules or cysts are most likely to rupture and cause scarring.
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