Acne is a skin condition that affects the oil glands at the base of your hair follicles and activated during puberty with the production of male and female hormones. Acne subsequently occurs when those glands get blocked, and sebum accumulates under the skin.
Although acne isn’t considered medically dangerous, it can be frustrating because it is embarrassing, especially for teenagers. Nearly 3/4 of those ages 11 through 30 will be affected by acne. The most common location for an acne flare-up is the face; however, it can occur on the back, neck, shoulders, and chest.
Scientific studies show that acne may be related to the genetic component. If a child’s mother or father had acne, the child is more likely to have it. Furthermore, some medications can cause dermatological conditions such as acne, and these include lithium and androgens.
Those susceptible to acne may experience flare-ups when using certain cosmetics or eating certain trigger foods. Hormones can also contribute to acne, and breakouts are commonly noticed before the menstrual period and during pregnancy.
Types of Acne
Acne appears in various forms. They are:
— Whiteheads are small pimples or blemishes that remain under your skin and may contain a white substance.
— Blackheads are visible, but it is important to note that dirt doesn’t cause them. Regardless of how clean you keep your face, blackheads do not go away on their own.
— Papules are small reddened bumps that you can see on the surface of your skin.
— Pustules are red bumps that are visible on your skin which typically contain pus.
— Nodules are large pimples that are solid and painful. They also form in the deeper layers of the skin.
— Cystic acne can cause scarring on the surface of your skin. Cysts are often pus-filled and can be quite painful.
Everyone admires the beautiful, perfect skin of celebrities. However, what you see may not be as flawless as you might think. Many stars are affected by acne, but stage makeup provides them with glowing skin, while underneath it all may be evidence of acne.
As puberty approaches so does acne. It is at this age when hormones start raging, promoting acne. During puberty, even a single pimple can be cause for embarrassment, but fortunately, one zit typically resolves quickly with simple home remedies.
Many teenagers get the occasional blemish. For others plagued by severe, cystic acne that affects the entire face, no treatment seems adequate. In fact, their acne may follow them into adulthood before it clears up. Furthermore, even when their acne starts to improve, these people may have already sustained permanent facial scarring.
Severe acne is embarrassing and can harm a teenager’s self-esteem. Unfortunately, kids with acne are often targets of unkind remarks. The taunting causes stress, which can exacerbate existing acne, and thus begins a vicious cycle. Fortunately, there are some highly effective treatment options.
Sifting through the maze of acne care products can be confusing, and some people even spend thousands of dollars to find that perfect product.
Acne products include gels or creams containing benzoyl peroxide, which helps remove dead skin cells while helping to prevent the pores from clogging. Salicylic acid helps unclog the pores, while prescription medications such as anti-microbial ointments help eliminate acne-causing bacteria.
Women who have acne may notice an improvement while taking oral contraceptives because certain hormones can help calm their sebum-producing glands. When topical or oral medications fail to resolve acne, dermatological procedures can often help. These methods include chemical peels and dermabrasion, which helps improve the appearance of the skin.
Over-the-counter acne treatments include toners, cleansers, and medicated creams and lotions. Prescription acne treatments include topical creams, antibiotics, hormonal treatments, and for severe cases, steroids.
Chemical peels, dermabrasion, and laser treatments are often quite useful, although the patient may need repeated treatments.
Common prescription acne medications include:
• Retin-A Micro
Although prescription acne medications are often beneficial, some people find home remedies just as effective in treating their breakouts. Natural treatments for acne are usually cost-effective, and many of the necessary ingredients may already be in the house.
Before trying natural or home remedies for acne, talk to your doctor first to make sure they are safe and appropriate for your situation.
Here are some practical natural and home treatments for acne:
• Baking soda
— When people think of baking soda, they think of baking cookies or freshening their refrigerators. However, bicarbonate of soda can help clear up acne when combined with equal parts of water. Mix well to form a paste, and then dab it on each spot with a cotton-tipped swab. When it dries (or after about 10 minutes), wash it off with cold water. Repeat twice a day for best results.
• Lemon juice
— The citric acid in lemon juice helps fight the bacteria that causes acne. Just cut one in half and then gently rub it on your face. You may feel a slight stinging, but that’s how you’ll know that it’s working. Leave the lemon juice on your face for about 10 minutes, then wash it off with cold water. If you use lemon juice on your face, wear sunscreen if you go outside. Citric acid can bleach your skin and make it susceptible to sun damage.
— Raw potato is another time-tested home remedy for acne. Slice a raw potato in half and rub it on your acne. Not only does the tuber promote healing, but they also have potent anti-inflammatory properties as well, so it will help relieve swelling and reduce redness. After rubbing the potato on your face, rinse off the residue with cool water.
— Toothpaste works wonders for pimples. It works fast because it contains silica, which can quickly dry out and reduce the size of a pimple. If you leave a dab of toothpaste on the blemish overnight, you may notice a marked improvement by morning.
— Ice is a potent anti-inflammatory, which helps reduce inflammation and redness related to acne. Ice also helps to minimize the appearance of large pores by constricting subcutaneous blood vessels, i.e., those that are under your skin.
• Tea tree oil
— Tea tree oil is an excellent antibacterial and antifungal, and studies have shown that it may be just as effective in treating mild to moderate acne as benzoyl peroxide. Before using tea tree oil, check with your doctor, as it can mimic the effects of specific hormones in some individuals.
— Aspirin contains salicylic acid, which is a potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent, and it helps dry the pimples, so they heal faster. Crush an aspirin and add a small amount of water to it to make a paste. Using a cotton-tipped swab, dab the mixture on each blemish. Leave the aspirin paste on your face until it dries (or about 10 minutes), then rinse off with cool water.
— Alum, or potassium alum, is the active ingredient in natural deodorants and the styptic pencils used to stop the bleeding of a cut or scrape. A natural astringent and antiseptic, alum has also been shown to reduce the appearance of acne.
Other effective remedies for acne include reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates. Pasta and bread can worsen acne, as can sugar. If you get a craving for a candy bar, consider eating a healthier alternative such as a piece of fresh fruit.
Eating more fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, goat cheese, and sauerkraut can also have a dramatic effect on acne, as well as boosting your immune system. Probiotics and healthy enzymes help reduce acne and may even help prevent breakouts.
Try cutting back on makeup, face creams, and cleansers, as these can all exacerbate acne. If you do choose to use these products, look for ones that are natural.
Adding more vegetables to your diet may also promote healing of your acne. Veggies can help cleanse toxins from your body that can contribute to acne, and those rich in antioxidants, which help prevent skin damage from free radicals.
Drinking plenty of water is also a simple but efficient way to manage acne. Water helps cleanse your body as well as your pores. It also helps keep your pores from getting clogged. Drinking more water not only helps manage acne, but it also enhances urinary tract health and promotes weight loss.
Staying active helps to rev up your circulation, which helps promote the healing process. Try to incorporate 15 minutes of aerobic exercise into your day.
Natural and alternative treatments for acne can be useful in the management of mild to moderate cases. Those with painful or cystic acne, however, should be evaluated by a healthcare provider.