Inside your hair follicles, there are small glands producing oil called sebum. This oil mixes with skin cells in the follicle and joins them on the journey outward. But when there’s too much sebum, too many dead skin cells or something on the surface that blocks their exit from the follicle, a blockage can occur. Bacteria joins the party, and the result is acne vulgaris, the most common form of acne.
Eight million people see the dermatologist every year for acne and millions more rely on infomercial products hawked by celebrities or over-the-counter products that total $100 million in sales every year.
But knowing that doesn’t make it easier when you look in the mirror and see a big pimple on your chin! The good news is that learning about acne and taking some simple steps can help you feel better about your face.
This medication is available in tablet form. It is a potassium sparing diuretic used to treat acne in women and particularly useful for non-hormonal acne. It’s available in a wide range of doses and often combined with other treatments. In many cases spironolactone can dramatically reduce sebum production, leading to less acne formation. Some of the side effects of using it include loss of appetite, weakness, cramping, pain, bleeding and bruising.
Reed says she advises patients to look for “noncomedogenic” or “for acne-prone skin” products. Noncomedogenic products don’t contain ingredients that tend to clog pores in people with acne-prone skin.
. A comparison of the efficacy and tolerability of adapalene 0.1% gel vs tretinoin 0.025% gel in patients with acne vulgaris: a meta analysis of five randomized trials. Br J Dermatol 1998;139(suppl 52):48–56.
There are a number of mild chemical peels available over the counter, but acne scar removal requires a stronger peel typically administered by a doctor or dermatologist. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels are slightly stronger than alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) peels and may be used for acne scar treatment. The strongest type, phenol peels, may cause significant swelling and require up to two weeks of recovery time at home. Neither are recommended for people with active severe acne.
Stay out of the sun and tanning beds. Tanning damages you skin. In addition, some acne medications make the skin very sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) light, which you get from both the sun and indoor tanning devices.
Breakouts erupt on the skin when the sebum interacts with debris in the pores. Each hair follicle is attached to a pore that has a sebum-producing gland. Every human has about 5 million hair follicles—this leaves a lot of opportunities for breakouts. When the pores are open, debris can get into the pore and interact with the sebum. Dead skin cells, dirt and other debris can clog the pore and cause a small infection. This is how the blemish develops. The redness you see is a product of the inflammation caused by this small infection. If the skin swells and a whitehead appears, it’s because a thin layer of skin still contains the infection. Blackheads develop when the pore opens and the debris oxidizes.
Oral antibiotics may be considered for patients with moderate acne, or mild acne that has not responded to topical treatments after two months. N.B. topical treatment with benzoyl peroxide or retinoid should be continued.
Magin, P., Pond, D., Smith, W., & Watson, A. (2005). A systematic review of the evidence for ‘myths and misconceptions’ in acne management: diet, face-washing and sunlight. Family Practice, 22(1), 62-70. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/fampra/article/22/1/62/440463/A-systematic-review-of-the-evidence-for-myths-and
Cucumber works as an anti-inflammatory, which is why people use cucumber slices to combat puffy eyes! They work just as well for pimples and will help to reduce the angry redness of them. You can make a cucumber face mask for instant effects!5
People with severe liver or kidney dysfunction, hyperlipidaemia, hypercholesterolaemia or diabetes may be at an increased risk of these adverse effects and discussion with or referral to a dermatologist should be considered before prescribing isotretinoin.
Now, however, it turns out I might not have needed those monthly tests. In 2015, Kirby authored a study that suggested only two blood tests would be necessary: one to measure baseline levels of blood fats, and one two months after beginning treatment, when levels reach their peak. Not only would this alleviate the cost of co-pays for the procedure, but it would
relieved the anxiety of having my blood taken each month, something Kirby said many of her patients experience as well.
In severe cases of acne, a visit to dermatologist or skin specialist is required to get rid of acne. Prescribed medication is needed for severe acne. Medication can be in the form of oral antibiotics, cream or lotion.
Castor oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can speed up healing, making it ideal for breakout-prone skin. Though I recommend using it in very small amounts with jojoba oil, hemp seed oil or coconut oil, along with one of the essential oils above, it’s high in unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, proteins and minerals, which can help reduce acne-causing bacteria and inflammation associated with breakouts. It can even help heal scars caused by acne.
The adverse effects of benzoyl peroxide include skin irritation, dryness and redness. Direct contact with eyes or other mucous membranes will cause severe irritation. Most of the adverse effects can be minimised by reducing the time the product is on the skin before being washed off, or by reducing the concentration used. Advise the patient that if their skin peels or becomes very dry, an oil-free moisturiser can be used. Benzoyl peroxide will bleach linen, clothing and towels.
Before deciding which treatment to use, it’s important to identify the symptoms that are causing concern. Treatments for mild to moderate acne tend to address one or more of the four issues attributed to the condition. They work by:
Moderation and regularity are good things, but not everyone can sleep eight hours, eat three good meals, and drink plenty of water a day. One can, however, still control acne despite one’s frantic and unpredictable routine. Probably the most useful lifestyle changes one can make is to never to pick or squeeze pimples. Playing with or popping pimples, no matter how careful and clean one is, nearly always makes bumps stay redder and bumpier longer. People often refer to redness as “scarring,” but fortunately, it usually isn’t permanent. It’s just a mark that takes months to fade if left entirely alone.
“Leafy green vegetables and other brightly colored fruit and vegetables which are rich in antioxidants and nutrients dampen inflammation and improve skin quality (studies have shown acne patients have higher oil production and lower antioxidant levels),” says Dr. Weiser. “Limit intake of dairy products which can contain hormones and antibiotics that can worsen acne breakouts.”
It’s not news that birth control can help stabilize hormones that prevent breakouts, but it’s worth exploring different types of birth control pills even if you had adverse reactions to one in the past (i.e. weight gain or heavier acne flare-ups). The FDA approves of Estrostep, Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Yaz to combat acne, but the trick is to be patient, as it can take up to four months to start seeing results. “This plan of attack works best when paired with whatever topical treatments you’re already using to treat your acne, like Proactiv, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, etc,” advises dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi.
You’ve probably seen the Proactiv clear skin system advertised on television at some point over the last several years, but does it work? Proactiv is one of the better acne remedies out there for mild cases of inflammatory and noninflammatory acne, hormonal acne, and adult acne. The basic kit comes with a gentle glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide exfoliator, a benzoyl peroxide pore cleanser, and an oil-free moisturizer that contains both glycolic acid and salicylic acid. Prices and shipping rates vary by location but Proactiv typically starts at $30.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but popping a zit is never a good idea. Your hands aren’t always clean, and dirt under your fingernails and improper squeezing can cause acne to spread or lead to further infection, Dr. Hammerman says. Plus, popping can lead to pitted scars, which stick around much longer than that pimple would.
D There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
Dermal injections have become a popular way to treat and alleviate shallow acne scars. There are many dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons performing these injections, and there’s been a significant increase in the number and quality of filler substances used to help decrease the appearance of scars. Dermal fillers may also stimulate the production of collagen, to help smooth the skin even further. While these injections have immediate effect, they also are only temporary, and last around three to 12 months after injection.
Oral isotretinoin is the best oral retinoid treatment for severe acne. It reduce* sebum (oil) secretion, acnes infection as well as has anti-inflammatory properties. It is used for patient that does not respond to regular treatment of severe acne.
Eliminating sugar, drinking plenty of water and getting your omega-3 foods can make a difference. Too much sugar can cause insulin spikes, which can create inflammation in the skin and clog up the pores. Water, conversely, hydrates, and it seems we cannot get enough of it. Make sure to get at least half your bodyweight in ounces every day.
Homeopathy treatments aim at getting rid of the root cause of acne. It is a holistic treatment that can help you to get relief from acne breakouts. Commonly used ingredients in homeopathy treatment for acne include sulphur, kali bromatum, arctiumlappa, belladonna, and nux vomica. Do not take homeopathy medication without a certified doctor’s prescription.