What Can Clear Acne?
Acne affects approximately 80 percent of people between the ages of 11 and 30, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) on AcneNet. Acne can occur on the face, chest, back, shoulders and neck. Severe acne can lead to scarring, skin discoloration and disfigurement of the skin. A variety of options are available to treat acne from over-the-counter remedies to prescription-strength medications.
Causes of Acne
Before you begin to treat your acne, it's important to understand what causes acne. Fluctuating hormones can cause acne. According to the AAD, acne is caused by excess sebum, which is an oil your skin produces. Acne can come in the form of cysts, nodules, whiteheads, blackheads and pimples. Which type you have depends upon what happens when your pores become clogged. A closed clogged pore will produce a whitehead, while an open clogged pore will produce a blackhead. When bacteria interacts with clogged pores, it forms an acne cyst, which is the most severe type of acne you can develop.
A common myth is that poor hygiene leads to developing acne, but this is not true, according to AAD. The AAD recommends washing your face twice a day, in gentle, circular motions with a mild soap and warm water. Be sure to cleanse your entire face, not just the areas affected by acne. Oils can spread, so it's best to clean the entire area. Scrubbing your face may worsen acne because this can cause skin irritation. The AAD says to avoid picking, popping or squeezing your acne because this can also be irritating to the skin. If you have oily hair, shampoo it. The AAD states that the oil from your hair can clog your pores. It is also recommended by the AAD to cleanse your face after sweating to reduce oil buildup.
Types of Acne Products
The AAD recommends over-the-counter products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Benzoyl peroxide can cause your skin to become dry, so use it sparingly until you know how your skin will react. For dry skin, the AAD recommends using an acne cream or lotion. If your skin is oily, choose an acne gel or solution. If you are applying a cream or lotion to your skin, the AAD recommends waiting approximately 10 to 15 minutes after cleansing your face to avoid stinging or irritation. Use oil-free products as much as possible to reduce oily residue buildup on your skin. Continue to treat your skin even after acne has cleared to reduce the possibility of future breakouts.
Products to Avoid
Avoid using products that are abrasive. This includes abrasive soaps, toners, astringents, facial scrubs and masks. The AAD also recommends not using abrasive products such as washcloths and cleansing puffs. These types of products and cleansers are not recommended because they can cause skin irritation that can worsen acne and lead to future breakouts.
When to Seek Help
At times, it is necessary to seek care from your dermatologist. The AAD recommends giving your current acne treatment six to eight weeks to work. Prescription medications may be needed to combat acne when over-the-counter remedies fail. Your dermatologist can recommend treatments such as retinoids, antibiotics, antimicrobials, chemical peels, microdermabrasion or laser therapy.
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