Top 8 acne treatments
People who want to prevent acne often spend large sums trying to do so. But, they don't have to! There are several natural and inexpensive methods for getting rid of those embarrassing acne breakouts. In addition, these methods can help prevent sudden outbreaks of acne from occurring. Here's some help for those suffering from acne.
What causes acne?
In most cases, genetic predisposition determines the type and severity of acne breakouts. Acne is caused by a combination of hormone activity and natural sebaceous activity under the surface of the skin. Sebaceous, or oil, glands secrete sebum whose purpose is to keep the skin soft and flexible and it is vitally important to healthy maintenance of the skin. A lack of sebum causes dryness, rough skin and even cracks and splits. However, hormone activity combined with diet and other factors, can stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more natural oils than is needed. This excess can block the pores of the skin, leading to blackheads and a localized infection that we commonly call pimples. Acne breakouts normally occur on the face, neck, back, chest and shoulders which are the most visible areas of the body and is where the sebum glands are most densely saturated.
While individual genetics have been shown to play a significant role in the development of acne, social factors such as daily routines and diet are also major players in causing outbreaks. Genetics may not be subject to change but an individual suffering from acne need not feel powerless or hopeless when it comes to treating their acne. Some simple changes in diet and routine has an enormous impact on controlling and eliminating acne.
Steps you can take to help your acne:
Clean your skin gently with a mild, nondrying soap (such as Dove, Neutrogena, Cetaphil, CeraVe, or Basics). Remove all dirt or make-up. Wash once or twice a day, including after exercising. However, avoid scrubbing or repeated skin washing.
Shampoo your hair daily, especially if it is oily. Comb or pull your hair back to keep the hair out of your face.
What NOT to do:
Try not to squeeze, scratch, pick, or rub the pimples. Although it might be tempting to do this, it can lead to skin infections and scarring.
Avoid wearing tight headbands, baseball caps, and other hats
Avoid touching your face with your hands or fingers.
Avoid greasy cosmetics or creams. Take off make-up at night. Look for water-based or "noncomedogenic" formulas. Noncomedogenic products have been tested and proven not to clog pores and cause acne.
If these steps do not clear up the blemishes, try over-the-counter acne medications. You apply these products directly to your skin.
They may contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid.
They work by killing bacteria, drying up skin oils, or causing the top layer of your skin to peel.
They may cause redness or peeling of the skin.
A small amount of sun exposure may improve acne a little, but mostly it just hides the acne. However, too much exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet rays is not recommended because it increases the risk for skin cancer.
If pimples are still a problem, a health care provider can prescribe stronger medications and discuss other options with you.
Antibiotics may help some people with acne:
Oral antibiotics (taken by mouth) such as tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, erythromycin,trimethoprim, and amoxicillin
Topical antibiotics (applied to the skin) such as clindamycin, erythromycin, or dapsone
Creams or gels applied to the skin may be prescribed:
Retinoic acid cream or gel (tretinoin, Retin-A)
Prescription formulas of benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid
Topical azelaic acid
For women whose acne is caused or made worse by hormones:
A pill called spironolactone may help
Birth control pills may help in some cases, though they may make acne worse
Minor procedures or treatments may also be helpful:
A laser procedure called photodynamic therapy
Your doctor may also suggest chemical skin peeling, removal of scars by dermabrasion, or removal, drainage, or injection of cysts with cortisone
People who have cystic acne and scarring may try a medicine called isotretinoin (Accutane). You will be watched closely when taking this medicine because of its side effects.
Pregnant women should NOT take Accutane, because it causes severe birth defects. Women taking Accutane must use two forms of birth control before starting the drug and enroll in the iPledge program. Your doctor will follow you on this drug and you will have regular blood tests.
Simple Natural Changes to Eliminate Acne
The following is a list of several suggestions for dealing with and eliminating acne:
The most important thing to do is probably the easiest, drink LOTS of water. Water flushes toxins from the body and also aids in the creation of natural skin oils and moisture. The better hydrated a person is the less need for the creation of additional skin oils by the sebaceous glands.
2. Fresh fruit
Consume at least four to five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day. Nutrition science has shown that the natural amino acids in fruits and vegetables are important in the formation and regulation of sebum. Poor nutrition, or a diet heavy in oils, dairy products and fats, leads to more severe acne outbreaks.
3. Rose water
Try rose water for facial cleansing. Using a clean cotton ball dipped in rose water, moisturize and clean the face and other areas prone to breakouts two to three times daily. Rose water is a natural antiseptic that doesn't strip the skin of natural oils.
4. Soaps and alcohol-containing products
Avoid using soaps and alcohol-containing products for cleansing. These strip the skin of its natural oils. Harsh cleansers stimulate the skin to produce more sebum to keep the skin moisturized, opening the door to more acne outbreaks.
Make-up may also cause acne outbreaks because it blocks the surface pores of the skin. In addition, some types of make-up cause drying of the skin. This stimulates the glands to secrete more sebum to compensate for the drying of surface oils. Choose cosmetics that are natural and do not contain alcohol or petroleum based products. Also, use a natural moisturizer to keep skin soft and pliable without encouraging sebum production. Contrary to popular belief, good quality moisturizers do NOT cause acne and may actually help to lessen outbreaks.
At the first sign of an outbreak, apply ice to the area to lessen the appearance of redness and irritation. Use a little rose water to cleanse the area, and pat a little cornstarch or baking soda mixed with water over the area. This will soothe, draw out the infection and ease the discomfort of the outbreak.
Cucumber is an inexpensive and effective acne control treatment when used as a mask. Blend it with a little water in a blender until a smooth paste is formed, and pat over the face and other affected areas. Leave it on for approximately 30 minutes and then rinse of with warm water. Cucumber has been shown to be a good acne treatment that refreshes the skin without damaging it.
8. Food allergies
Find out if you have any food allergies. Acne is sometimes the body's way of letting you know that you are allergic to something you are eating. Mild to moderate allergies to cow's milk and milk products, grains, gluten, chocolate and other foods considered to be a normal part of diet can lead to acne outbreaks. A simple way to test for a food allergy is: if you suspect you may be allergic to something, eliminate it from your diet for a few days. If your acne and your general health begins to improve it would be a good idea to discuss the matter with your doctor. A simple allergy test will let you know if you are sensitive to a certain food or food group.
Natural Advantages of Natural Acne treatments
The quest to cure acne has spawned a huge treatment industry. Consumer markets are flooded with products all claiming to eliminate acne, and its often an expensive proposition when trying to choose the best out of this sea of curatives. Unfortunately, many of the products sold to prevent acne often make it worse instead of better. For the wise shopper, natural methods should be the first choice but whether you have tried all the other methods or none of them, its never too late to try the simple, natural methods mentioned in the list above. They are both time and money saving. They will improve your overall health and vitality, and they aren't going to cause the situation to get worse instead of better. So what are you waiting for? A natural cure for your acne is as near as your cupboard or local grocery store!
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