Acne Treatment and Skin Care
There are many acne treatment skin care products on the market and it does not surprise me when you consider how many people suffer from acne in some form or another. It is an almost inevitable part of growing up in western cultures. 85% of American teenagers suffer from it, and for many people it continues well into their adult life, although it usually becomes less severe after the teenage years.
People living with acne often suffer from low self esteem because of self consciousness about the acne which can be quite unsightly and sometimes painful. There are various possible treatments including hormonal and antibiotic treatments which may be taken internally. The first thing that you should do if your acne is severe is to visit your doctor who will assess what might help you the best. Below are some of the treatments that may be advised.
Acne is not very common in non-westernized countries but it does appear when a culture starts to adopt a western diet, so it appears that diet is a very significant factor with acne. Dairy products, high levels of saturated fats and blood glucose imbalances caused by sugar are all thought to contribute to the problem, so avoid those foods whenever you can.
Although acne is not caused by dirt but by blockages in the hair follicles, it is a good idea to wash and exfoliate your skin on a regular basis to clear away the dead tissue that can add to blockages and make the appearance of acne worse. Quite often this process will also improve the appearance of blackheads. Washing with soap and something that is a gentle abrasive like a face cloth can be enough to exfoliate the skin, or you can buy skin cleansers that either contain small beads that abrade the skin or pads soaked in salicylic or glycolic acid. Do not exfoliate too frequently, especially if you are using acid on your skin. You might damage the skin causing redness that can look even worse than the acne itself.
3. Bactericidal creams, gels and washes
Bactericidal products are applied to the areas where the outbreaks occur. Quite often these are over the counter products that contain benzoyl peroxide in various strengths. As well as killing the bacteria in acne that has already appeared, benzoyl peroxide kills the keratin that blocks the pores, so it will help to prevent future outbreaks. Applied twice a day over several weeks, this has been found to reduce the appearance of acne by around 65%. However it quite often causes redness, dryness and irritation. You can stop for a while and then try again with a lower strength product if this occurs. A moisturizer formulated for acne-prone skin will also help.
Benzoyl peroxide is a mild bleach and may cause discolouration of hair and clothing. Keep it away from your eyebrows and facial hair.
Your doctor or dermatologist may prescribe to you antibiotic creams (topical antibiotics). Unfortunately the most common form of acne is becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics and they are becoming less effective as they once were, with the acne reappearing very quickly once treatment has been stopped. For this reason oral antibiotics are not as commonly prescribed as they were in the past, although they can help clear up an outbreak in the short term. Antibiotic cream can be used for longer periods.
Although sunlight often helps clear up acne in the short term, in the long term it will only encourage the skin to produce more and more oils that block the pores. Recently however scientists have discovered that using selective light therapy in the form of visible blue light applied daily can have the positive effect of reducing acne by up to 65%, and up to 75% if red light is added. However you will need special equipment which comes at a cost but compared with the cost of buying other acne products week after week for several years it is not excessive.
Although it may not be realistic to expect acne to disappear completely, there is much that can be done with acne treatment skin care to lessen its severity and make life happier and easier for those who are affected by it.