Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

How to Get Rid of Blackheads & Acne

Overview

When excess oil, bacteria, clogged pores and inflammation converge, the result is blackheads and acne. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, between 40 and 50 million people in the United States suffer from acne, most of them teenagers or young adults. However, acne can occur at any stage of life. To get rid of blackheads and acne takes persistence, as well as knowing when it's time to seek help from a dermatologist.

Step 1

Practice good hygiene. The AAD notes that milder cases of blackheads and acne may be resolved by using over-the-counter products routinely and correctly. Choose a mild cleanser that won't dry out your skin. Wash your face twice daily using your fingertips, not a washcloth or buff puff, which can exacerbate your skin and cause more oil to flow. Follow up with a topical drugstore product that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. If you don't see your skin improve in four to eight weeks, talk with a dermatologist.

Step 2

Know when it's time to get a dermatologist's help. Your acne may make you feel self-conscious or depressed. Or perhaps you have more severe acne---in addition to blackheads and whiteheads, tender pus-filled nodules begin to appear. You may even note scarring after a lesion heals, or discoloration of your skin.

Step 3

Ask your dermatologist about your options. The AAD states that often a combination of therapies is used to get rid of blackheads and acne. Sometimes acne can be resolved with use of prescription topical treatments, such as an antimicrobial or retinoid cream or gel. In-office treatments, such as blackhead extraction or light therapy, may be employed. Oral antibiotics or even birth control pills (for female patients) may be helpful. Severe cases of acne, in which deep, painful cysts form under your skin, may require use of a strong oral medication called isotretinoin, which is taken daily for 16 to 20 weeks.

Step 4

Stick with your treatment program. The AAD claims that acne can be resolved, but not overnight or even in a week. Although the AAD states that the typical time frame for patients to see resolution is between four and eight weeks, it could also be months. Dermatologists can give patients a realistic time frame for when they should notice a clearer complexion. Don't discontinue using your medications during this time, until you know your treatment regime isn't working.

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