Acne Scars and Redness
According to the Mayo Clinic, acne can leave behind emotional pockmarks as well as scars and redness on the surface of the skin. Most acne is the result of the bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes. Although acne is not life-threatening, treatment is almost always necessary. However, when acne is finally under control, there often are menacing scars and redness to deal with. Understanding and dealing with the aftershock of acne can help reduce noticeable scars and redness.
Overview of Acne
By definition, acne presents as whiteheads and blackheads in the form of papules, pustules, nodules or cysts, says the Mayo Clinic. This can happen anywhere on the body where there are clustered oil glands. The Dr. Greene website says the most likely places are the face, chest, back and shoulders. Most likely, when infection sets in, inflammation will lead to redness, scarring and skin discoloration. Medical intervention to kill the bacteria is usually required. When the inflammation abates, scars and redness are the continual memento of the event.
Dealing with Redness
People have been known to go to great lengths to reduce the redness caused from acne. From applying home remedies such as toothpaste and red-out eye drops to rubbing ice cubes over the areas to decrease inflammation--it's all been done. There are various over-the-counter antiblemish gels that help reduce redness, or there are antimicrobials that fight the bacteria and therefore reduce the inflammation that reduces the redness.
Don't Contribute to the Redness
Aggravating the skin by overcleansing, overscrubbing, overdrying (not using a moisturizer meant for acne skin) will increase redness or worse, contribute to another acne breakout. The goal is to be gentle with the skin, giving it time to replace the inflamed areas with new skin cells that aren't damaged or red. While you wait, use only products that are intended for use on acne, but don't overdo it. If you have a gentle acne cleanser that is meant to be used morning and night only, cleansing a third time in the middle of the day may be adding to the redness.
Dealing with Scars
There is no guarantee that reducing redness will decrease the risk of scarring. The scars left from acne breakouts, depending on the seriousness of the condition, may be the long-term results of years of dealing with an acne condition. However, there are things that can be done. Mayo Clinic says that laser and light therapies that target the deeper layers of the skin may actually improve skin texture and decrease the appearance of scars. Talk to a dermatologist about these as well as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, skin fillers or surgery--all of which have been known to help reduce scars from acne.
Don't Contribute to the Scarring
In the midst of an acne breakout, it can be tempting to manipulate the whiteheads and blackheads that are smearing your complexion. As the pustules become worse you may think that removing the whitehead or squeezing the blackhead out of the pore will improve your appearance right now. However, keep in mind that those actions may be spreading infection, contributing to inflammation and worsening the potential for scarring. Keeping your hands away from your face means you are willing to take a proactive stance against scarring from the onset of your battle against acne.
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