Jul 27

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How to Treat Acne – Health Articles

How to Treat Acne

Everyone emits a huge sigh of relief when the teenage years are past, confident that the days of fighting acne are gone for­ever. I hate to burst this happy bubble, but I actually treat more acne in adults than in adolescents. Understandably, acne in adulthood is very distressing to patients, and they are often clueless as to how to rid themselves of it.

In adults, acne can often be traced to a mild hormonal imbalance, but there are other culprits, such as stress. Quite simply, acne results when the pore (technically known as a hair follicle) is blocked by dead skin cells that are never thor­oughly expelled. Instead, the sloughed-off cells stick together inside the pore, and this plug, along with the accompanying sebum, then becomes a source of nutrition for bacteria. The bacteria then greedily invade the pore and cause redness and inflammation. In all, not a pretty picture.

As acne heals, it might sometimes leave the complexion with a dark spot. Those plagued with this condition often refer to the spot as an acne scar, but that’s actually incorrect. Rather, it’s an inflammatory response to acne that leaves behind a change in the pigment in the skin. By comparison, a scar leaves a textural change in the skin. In any case, it may take a few months for these spots to go away, but their appearance is helped greatly by a light peel or a prescription vitamin A product.

Solution – Treating Acne

Now for the good news: with the many acne treatments that are available today, adult acne can soon be as distant a mem­ory as your year book picture. Topping the list of highly effective antiacne ingredients are retinoids, which are derivatives of vitamin A that work by controlling the cell stickiness that is the primary cause of acne. The most popular retinoid is tretinoin, and it can be found in the prescription medica­tions Retin-A, Retin-A Micro and Avita, both of which are FDA-approved for the treatment of acne. Other retinoids are tazarotene (found in the prescription medication Tazorac), adapalene (Differin), and to a slightly lesser degree retinol, which is found in many products sold over the counter. Cer­tain oral contraceptives, such as Ortho Tri-Cyclen, have FDA approval for the treatment of acne and are helpful for those patients whose acne is a result of mild hormonal imbal­ances.

Significant improvement can be obtained by unclogging the pore. Salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid that is lipid-soluble and can therefore penetrate the sebaceous material in the follicle, is simply magical at this. Salicylic acid is found in a multitude of products, even cleansers. Finally, it’s very help­ful to use a topical antibiotic, such as clindamycin, to control bacteria. Benzoyl peroxide is not only another reminder that your teenage years will live on forever; it’s also a very effective, commonly used antibacterial ingredient in many over-the-counter acne medicines. Many of today’s acne preparations contain up to 10 percent benzoyl peroxide, which is a pretty significant amount. Its only downside is that it may provoke an allergic reaction in a small group of people. Finally for acne that is very resistant to other topical treatments, there is Acu-tane. However, this is an extremely potent oral medication that requires an in-depth discussion with your doctor.

Supplement It With – Treating Acne

An in-office salicylic acid “beta” peel, usually at 20 percent to 30 percent, administered every couple of weeks, is an excel­lent partner to an acne-fighting home routine. Glycolic peels can be used to treat acne, but I prefer salicylic acid peels for the same reasons that I like salicylic acid in general. Its unique fat-soluble composition permits salicylic acid to penetrate deep into the pore and clean it out thoroughly.

What You Can Expect – Treating Acne

As long as the patient is committed to a maintenance pro­gram, acne is a very treatable condition. But patience, at least eight weeks’ worth, is crucial, since the skin needs time to regenerate.

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1 comment

  1. Mayo

    Skin is the largest organ and literally “drinks in” what you put on it, getting it into your bloodstream and your organs in a matter of minutes or even seconds.

    What you put on your skin can either help it or harm it – and your entire body – depending on what’s in the product.

    Therefore, it’s important to consider the ingredients in ALL the products you use – like those on your hair and body as well as your face. 

The best treatments for any age or type skin are not the most expensive ones, but rather gentle ones that are effective.

    Chemicals are not gentle or effective. In fact, research is showing that a buildup of chemicals on the skin can cause acne, dryness (which leads to prematurely aging skin) and skin cancer.

    The best products are those with the highest-quality ingredients, not the highest price.

    With so many manufacturers using chemicals in their products, almost any product – cleansers, moisturizers, shampoos, shaving creams, conditioners, hair gels, sunscreens and makeup – can be causing breakouts on your face and body.


To find chemical-free products, read labels and research ingredients – or start with certified organic ingredients which don’t contain harmful chemicals.


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