Acne or pimple treatment – What You Need to Know
Acne or pimple treatment can make a big difference in how your skin looks and feels, especially if you’re dealing with particularly severe breakouts or stubborn scars that have been there since your teen years. Here’s what you need to know about acne treatment to help keep those blemishes under control.
Treatments for acne
Every acne treatment will work for some people and not for others, depending on their individual skin types. Most work best in conjunction with one another, so if you have multiple types of acne or an especially severe case, be sure to talk with your dermatologist about using multiple treatments. One thing you should know is that each type of treatment takes time because it takes time for new skin cells to grow into place and replace those that are damaged.
It’s important not to rush through any treatment; each type will take anywhere from weeks (minor blemishes) to months (acne scars). Keep up your end of things—be diligent about washing and treating your skin even when it seems like nothing is changing—and eventually you’ll see results.
The most common acne treatments fall into one of three categories: topical, antibiotics, and Accutane. Topical treatments are medications that you apply directly to your skin as a gel, lotion, or cream. Antibiotics are taken orally and fight off bacteria in your body. Accutane is only for severe cases and can have serious side effects, so it’s important to be evaluated by a dermatologist before using it.
Fungal acne treatment
Fungal acne isn’t an actual kind of acne, but rather a type of inflammation. Fungus thrives in warm, damp environments and loves nothing more than oil-drenched pores. Rather than fighting bacteria with antibacterial products, treat fungal acne by targeting oil production with drying ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide (or both). Be careful not to overdo it on either ingredient, as both can be harsh if used too frequently or in high concentrations. A good rule of thumb is once or twice a day—morning and night for maximum efficacy.
Always apply products with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide after you’ve thoroughly washed your face, since dirty skin is more susceptible to both types of acne. These ingredients work by eliminating dead skin cells and drying up oil, preventing new blemishes from forming. In addition to aiding in the treatment of current breakouts, the chemical components of activated charcoal also possess anti-inflammatory properties. Tea tree oil is another ingredient that has anti-inflammatory effects and can help calm an irritated complexion and reduce redness. It also contains natural antibacterial properties that may kill P. acne and other acne-causing bacteria, but it shouldn’t be applied directly to pimples—instead, you should dilute tea tree oil in a moisturizer for best results.
How hormonal acne develops
Acne is a problem that affects an estimated 85 percent of teenagers and 75 percent of adults in North America. Most people think acne is caused by dirt on our skin or excess oil produced by our skin glands. That’s not true. Acne actually starts inside your body, when hormones stimulate oil-producing glands (sebaceous glands) under your skin. The glands are activated and produce an excessive amount of sebum. This extra sebum mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria, clogging pores and leading to acne breakouts, which can be either blackheads or whiteheads. Different types of acne respond better to certain treatment methods; knowing which kind you have will help you find a regimen that works best for you
Hormonal acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is one of four main types of acne. Hormonal acne develops when your body produces too much male hormone (androgen) or other hormones that stimulate oil production. Sometimes referred to as adult acne, hormonal acne affects an estimated 85 percent of people ages 20 to 49. The good news: Getting hormonal acne under control can help improve your self-esteem and boost your self-confidence. Luckily, there are many effective treatments for hormonal acne available today. Learn how you can treat hormonal breakouts so you can say goodbye to embarrassing blemishes forever!
Salicylic Acid Cleansers
Salicylic acid can be an effective anti-acne agent. Salicylic acid is what’s known as a beta hydroxyl acid, which basically means it exfoliates your skin by loosening and removing dead skin cells. It works especially well on acne-prone skin, which tends to have increased oil production in pores. Salicylic acid is most commonly found in products marketed for oily and blemish-prone skin; look for them if you suffer from both breakouts and oily complexion.
Another reason salicylic acid is ideal for acne-prone skin is that it can remove excess oil and sebum from your pores. This is especially helpful for people who struggle with blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. The best way to use a salicylic acid cleanser is in addition to regular washing with a gentle cleanser and warm water. Gently massage a few drops of salicylic acid into your face twice daily and rinse thoroughly.
Using Tea Tree Oil
Commonly used in conjunction with topical antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide clears acne by reducing skin bacteria and inflammation. It’s best for those with oily skin and hormonal breakouts. While it can make your skin dry, a gentle moisturizer is key after you wash your face. Rather than one that may clog pores, look for a label on it labeled non-comedogenic. Products that contain salicylic acid are also effective; look for them in combination products with benzoyl peroxide or other anti-acne ingredients like tea tree oil and witch hazel extract. If you have sensitive skin, try a non-prescription cleanser made from salicylic acid instead of benzoyl peroxide as it will likely be less irritating on your face.
Benzoyl peroxide gel
As a topical treatment, benzoyl peroxide is helpful in preventing new acne blemishes. It’s an antibacterial agent that can fight acne-causing bacteria. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory properties that are especially beneficial for reducing inflammation and redness. When buying benzoyl peroxide gel, be sure to read product labels carefully as ingredients and concentrations vary greatly among products (and even brands). Some contain alcohol that can dry out your skin and aggravate existing skin conditions like rosacea or eczema. Look for a formulation containing between 2% and 10% of benzoyl peroxide; anything above 10% may irritate your skin.