Often the result of hormonal changes in the body, acne is common condition ranging in severity from occasional pimples to serious cystic acne that requires the intervention of the dermatologist If you suffer from acne, you may experience pimples around your forehead, nose, and chin, blackheads, whiteheads, and to a lesser degree, occasional more serious infections.Because the symptoms vary widely, there are a number of treatments for acne ranging from topical over-the-counter ointments to more serious prescription drugs and laser treatments.
The root cause of acne is a blockage in skin pores and hair follicles that leads to infection. Hormonal imbalances that result in the overproduction of oil by the sebaceous glands in the skin worsens the problem, as does the presence of any bacteria on the skin's surface. The most effective acne treatments work to reduce the amount of oil on the skin, keep pores and hair follicles open and clear, and keep affected areas free of bacteria.
Natural methods of treatment include mild scrubs with oatmeal or other abrasives designed to open clogged pores. They are often combined with cleansing creams that work to kill bacteria.
Many ointments, balms, and lotions sold to treat acne are mild antibacterial agents designed to kill bacterial colonies and keep them from reforming. Tea tree oil, salicylic acid, and sulfur have excellent antibacterial properties and have been used effectively alone and in combination with other acne treatments.
Aloe Vera, vitamin A, and vitamin E are useful in healing blemishes, repairing skin cells, and reducing inflammation. They are also used in combination with antibacterial agents to heal skin after an acne outbreak.
Treat Oily Skin
Preparations used to reduce the amount of oil on the skin often contain benzoyl peroxide, an antibacterial and drying agent. There are also non-prescription masks and peels designed to remove excess oil from the skin.
Mild scrubs, antibacterials, drying agents, and skin conditioners work together to open clogged pores and keep skin healthy and clear of infection. For minor skin problems they are very effective, and regular treatment using these products will reduce acne flare-ups.
More resistant acne often responds to chemical peels and abrasive techniques like micro-dermabrasion. These techniques are administered by a dermatologist in his office and can also be effective in reducing the acne scarring that may result from prolonged acne conditions.
Vitamin A Derivatives (Retin-A)
Therapies using concentrated vitamin A derivatives like Retin-A have had success in treating whiteheads, blackheads, and cystic acne. Used topically over a period of weeks, vitamin A derivatives increase skin production and help in keeping skin pores clear.
For women, often oral contraceptives have the side benefit of having a positive impact on problem skin.
Light therapy is a very effective treatment for acne. Reaching deep into the skin, lasers kill bacteria, help improve the skin's texture, and are effective at helping to reduce oil production.
Isotretinoin (Accutane) is reserved for the most serious skin conditions. Usually administered in pill form, it works internally to help reduce the skin's oil production and combat infection. Available only through prescription, it can have serious side effects, so discuss any treatment plan carefully with your doctor.
Acne can be a complicated condition, and it may require some trial and error to determine what type of treatment is going to work best for you. Even the most severe forms of acne respond to treatment, and with some experimentation you will discover a method that will provide the results that you are looking for. In the meantime, keep your skin as clean as you can, and never be tempted to squeeze blemishes. Although satisfying, damaging your skin invariably prolongs the healing process and can lead to deep and permanent scars.