Ways to Reduce Acne
Reducing acne flare-ups can help you to feel better about the appearance of your skin. Acne affects more than 40 million Americans, most of them teenagers, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. No matter what your age, you can reduce outbreaks by following an acne prevention and treatment plan for your skin.
Clogged pores, bacteria, excess oil and inflammation all play a part in causing acne, the American Academy of Dermatology reports. Using a mild facial cleanser once or twice a day will help to remove excess oil from your face. Washing your face too frequently or using harsh soap can irritate your skin and make acne worse. Shampooing your hair daily, particularly if you have oily hair, will reduce the amount of hair oil that drips on to your face throughout the day. Wearing your hair pulled back from your face can also help to prevent excess oil from your hair from reaching your face.
Avoiding Oily Products
Some cosmetic products contain oils that can clog pores. Make up, sunscreen and lotions marketed as oil-free or water-based are good choices if you suffer from acne. Removing makeup and other cosmetic products before you go to bed can prevent clogged pores that can lead to acne breakouts.
Use Over-the-Counter Medication
Over-the-counter creams, gels and ointments can make pimples disappear faster. Acne medications work by killing bacteria on the skin's surface, drying up excess oil and encouraging dead skin cells to flake away. Over-the-counter acne medications may initially cause some side effects, such as dry skin, skin irritation or flaking, although these side effects may improve after the first month of treatment.
Visit Your Doctor
When your acne doesn't improve or worsens despite your attempts to improve your condition at home, it may be time to visit your doctor. Doctors can prescribe stronger acne medications than those available at drug stores. Prescription acne medication may contain vitamin A derivatives or topical antibiotics. These medications are helpful in preventing clogged hair follicles, killing acne-causing bacteria and triggering more rapid cell turnover. Oral antibiotics may also be prescribed in some cases. If you are a woman, your doctor may recommend that you take oral contraceptives to regulate changing hormone levels that may contribute to acne flare ups.
If you have cystic acne, your doctor may recommend that you take isotretinoin, a strong medication that can help to resolve severe cystic acne. While the drug is effective, it can cause serious side effects. MayoClinic.com recommends careful monitoring for people taking the drug and mentions that the drug should not be taken pregnant women or women who may become pregnant, due to the possibility of birth defects.
Try Cosmetic Procedures
Stubborn acne may respond to chemical peels or microdermabrasion. Both of these procedures remove the top layers of the skin and help to control acne. Light or laser therapy may also be used to remove bacteria or decrease production of oil on the face.
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