Things to Do to Get Rid of Acne
Acne is the most common skin disorder in American, affecting an estimated 40 to 50 million people, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It affects people of all ages, but is more common in teenagers, probably due to the increase in oil production triggered by hormonal changes during puberty. Getting rid of acne involves proper skin care and combating the four primary factors responsible for breakouts: clogged pores, excess oil, bacteria and skin inflammation.
Take Care of Your Skin
Washing your face twice each day with a mild soap and lukewarm water will remove accumulated oil and help to prevent whiteheads and blackheads. Washing too frequently, scrubbing or using harsh soaps can actually increase acne, according to the AAD, as it irritates and over-stimulates the skin, resulting in an increase in oil production. Exfoliating a couple of times each week will remove dead skin cells and keep pores open. Always shower after exercising or sweating to reduce bacteria and wash away oil. Choose cosmetics labeled as "non-comedogenic."
Make Lifestyle Changes
Keep your sheets and clothing clean, and choose loose-fitting, natural fabrics if you suffer from body acne. Although no specific foods are directly linked to acne breakouts, certain foods may be triggers for you specifically, according to the AAD. If you suspect diet plays a role in your acne, keep a food diary for several weeks to determine any offending foods, and then avoid eating those foods when possible.
Use Over-the-Counter Medications
Over-the-counter topical medications are effective for most cases of mild to moderate acne. Products with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are available in most stores. These gels, creams or pads work by killing the bacteria responsible for acne or by encouraging the skin to peel and the pores to unclog. The American Academy of Dermatology states that most acne products take four to 12 weeks to clear skin.
Try Prescription Treatments
Prescription-strength topical retinoids, such as tretinoin and adapalene, may help to get rid of acne when over-the-counter treatments fail. Oral antibiotics are generally required to treat moderate to severe cases of acne, according to the AAD. They work by destroying the bacteria responsible for acne inflammation. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that birth control pills containing estrogen may be beneficial for some women with acne, and the Mayo Clinic states that steroid injections can speed recovery from large acne lesions.
Undergo a Chemical Peel or Dermabrasion
Chemical peels get rid of acne by unclogging pores, removing dead skin cells, burning away whiteheads and blackheads and allowing healthy skin to grow in place of damaged skin. Microdermabrasion helps acne in a similar way to chemical peels, but uses a specific device to abrade the skin's surface instead of burning it away.
Ask Your Doctor About Laser and Light Therapy
Laser and light therapies are new treatments for acne that fails to respond to traditional treatments. The Mayo Clinic states that these therapies are able to reach deeper layers of skin without damaging the skin's surface. Laser and light therapies work by damaging the sebaceous glands in the skin, destroying P. acnes, the bacterium responsible for acne inflammation, or by improving the texture of the skin to minimize acne scars.
Things to Avoid
Avoid picking at or popping pimples, as doing so can worsen breakouts and lead to infection and scarring. The Nemours Foundation recommends against wearing hats and caps, especially if you suffer from acne on your forehead, as hats can trap oil next to the skin and increase skin irritation. Keep your hair out of your face as much as possible.
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