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Everyone’s skin is different, so keep in mind that effectively treating acne breakouts at home requires a multi-disciplinary approach. The home remedies for acne described below can be used in combination to provide the best results. However keep in mind that while you overcome acne it’s also very important to avoid the biggest mistakes that can make skin irritation or scarring worse:

Don’t ignore side effects. If you’re experiencing side effects from prescribed medications, speak up to your dermatologist. Individuals react to drugs differently; your treatment plan must work for you.

Acne vulgaris has a substantial impact on a patient’s quality of life, affecting both self-esteem and psychosocial development.1 Patients and physicians are faced with many over-the-counter and prescription acne treatments, and choosing the most effective therapy can be confusing.

If you are spot prone anyway, I would like to recommend Sudocrem. Forget the “put a tiny bit just on the spot”, you can spread it all over your face if you want, it won’t harm you, but it does reduce and clear spots very well if you leave it overnight. Unfortunately after a while, it doesn’t seem to work as well as the first few times you use it, but it still does help. It’s fairly cheap and can be bought pretty much anywhere that sells cosmetics etc.

Ward A, Brogden RN, Heel RC, Speight TM, Avery GS. Isotretinoin. A review of its pharmacological properties and therapeutic efficacy in acne and other skin disorders. Drugs. 1984 Jul. 28(1):6-37. [Medline].

Isolaz. This treatment combines a vacuum with a broadband light. The vacuum cleanses pores and extracts excess oil, while the light helps destroy the acne-causing bacteria

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well as reducing the activity of the oil gland.

The sebaceous glands or oil glands are where the acne form. These glands are more developed on the face, neck, scalp, and chest. Also, the face is more exposed to pollution and bacteria compared to the rest of the body. Both these factors work together to make acne mainly affect the face.

Topical erythromycin and clindamycin are generally well-tolerated and have been shown to reduce inflammatory lesions by 46% to 70% in several randomized controlled trials.2 Monotherapy with topical antibiotics should not be used routinely beause P. acnes may become resistant within one month after daily treatment has begun.6 Some argue that this resistance is not relevant because the antibiotics (e.g., clindamycin, tetracyclines, erythromycin) also have intrinsic anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects.11 However, antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus may also develop with monotherapy; resistance can be avoided when a topical antibiotic is combined with benzoyl peroxide.12

Although there is no one single cure that works in all patients with acne, dermatologists can recommend patient-specific treatment regimens to control acne and minimize future breakouts. In women, hormonal therapies are commonly used to treat acne safely and effectively.

April W. Armstrong, MD, MPH, is an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of California Davis Health System. She tells patients to give a product 1 month and then keep using it if they notice any improvement.

Exfoliating cleansers and masks: A variety of mild scrubs, exfoliants, and masks can be used. These products may contain salicylic acid in a concentration that makes it a very mild peeling agent. These products remove the outer layer of the skin and thus open pores. Products containing glycolic or alpha hydroxy acids are also gentle skin exfoliants.

In 2002, Haspel was in charge of a secret “black site” prison in Thailand where detainees were subject to abusive interrogation techniques. In a 6,700-page classified report on the CIA’s interrogation programs, the Senate Intelligence Committee documented among other things what agency contractors and personnel did at the site to Abu Zubaydah—a Saudi-born Palestinian citizen accused of a “key role” in al-Qaeda, including possible advance knowledge of major attacks—and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri—a Saudi national suspected of involvement in al-Qaeda’s bombing of the American destroyer USS Cole in 2000. (Both are now imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, where they are considered “high value” detainees.)

One last word of advice: apply sunscreen daily. Dr. MacGregor couldn’t stress enough the important role sunscreen plays in reducing marks and scars. “I always suggest using a broad spectrum sunscreen because the spots only get worse if the person is constantly getting sunlight on the skin,” she said.

2. Use an exfoliating acid to de-gunk your pores. When you think about an exfoliant, you probably think of a cleanser with beads or granules. These are called physical exfoliants, and while they’re great for sloughing away dead skin, they can be irritating to acne that’s already present on the skin. And, even worse, they inadvertently spread bacteria across your face, causing more breakouts. Acid exfoliators (also referred to as chemical exfoliants) sound strong and scary, but in reality, they’re phenomenal for your complexion. They work like little Pac-Man on your skin, helping to devour dirt, debris, and dead skin cells that clog your pores. The all-star chemical exfoliators for acne are glycolic acid and fruit-based enzymes, such as papaya and pumpkin. Just be careful not to over-exfoliate, which can dry out the skin and lead to the overproduction of oil and, therefore, more acne; two or three times a week should suffice.

Use a clay mask every night. Bentonite clay is an excellent anti-inflammatory that also draws out impurities from your skin. Using a mask every night for 20minutes will help calm any redness and swelling, and help to prevent new pimples from developing (it also mops up oil and helps reduce blackheads). Check out our Clearing Clay Mask here which is ideal for this.

34. Van Vloten WA, van Haselen CW, van Zuuren EJ, et al. The effect of 2 combined oral contraceptives containing either drospirenone or cyproterone acetate on acne and seborrhea. Cutis 2002;69(suppl4):2–15 [PubMed]

Clogged pores, caused by things like excess oil production and dead skin cells. Sebum is the type of oil released into hair follicles that can become trapped beneath surface of the skin and clog pores.

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Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. Although it’s common, accurate information about acne can be scarce. This can make it difficult to get clearer skin. The information on this site can help you understand acne and how to successfully treat it.

7. Webster GF, Guenther L, Poulin YP, et al. A multicenter, double-blind, randomized comparison study of the efficacy and tolerability of once daily tazarotene 0.1% gel and adapalene 0.1% gel for the treatment of facial acne vulgaris. Cutis 2002;69 (Suppl):4–11 [PubMed]

• Eating omega-3 fats and fiber (to reduce testosterone in women), cutting out sugar (to reduce insulin), and using soy foods (to reduce toxic testosterone levels) help balance hormones. Exercise also helps improve insulin function.

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Isotretinoin is associated with a range of serious adverse effects (Table 1). Some, particularly cheilitis, are so common that they can be considered indicators of adherence.17 Isotretinoin may cause an initial worsening of acne, but severe flares are uncommon. It is important to discuss these adverse effects with patients prior to initiation, to optimise adherence. Most adverse effects are dose-related and starting with a low dose may reduce the incidence and severity.

Goulden V, McGeown CH, Cunliffe WJ. The familial risk of adult acne: a comparison between first-degree relatives of affected and unaffected individuals. Br J Dermatol. 1999 Aug. 141(2):297-300. [Medline].

Benzoyl peroxide clears the pores and reduces bacterial count by creating an environment where bacteria cannot survive. It dries skin and works as a peeling agent. It commonly causes dryness and irritation, and in some can cause burning, itching, peeling and swelling. Topical use of green tea reduces sebum production and protects against acne-causing bacteria. Its high antioxidant concentration eliminates the free radicals that lead to inflammation.

Certain ingredients found in products such as cosmetics, sunscreen, and moisturizers are more likely to clog pores. They include isopropyl palmitate, isopropyl myristate, butyl stearate, isopropyl isostearate, decyl oleate, isostearyl neopentanoate, isocetyl stearate, myristle myristate, cocoa butter, acetylated lanolin, and D & C red dyes. Products containing oil can clog pores and lead to breakouts.

Given the high likelihood of significant side effects, only those with very severe acne should consider this medication. I hope this information makes her further discussions with her doctor more productive.

You just have to work harder to find the right one for you. Renée mentions that many of her clients with acne-prone skin are paranoid about using moisturizer, thinking that it will immediately clog up their pores and not let the skin “breathe.” “For starters, wearing moisturizer does not cause breakouts,” Renée clarifies. “Acne happens when the cells that line the inner pores fail to fall off properly, clogging the pore. This happens whether you moisturize or not. Secondly, your skin doesn’t perform the function of respiration, so the concept of your skin breathing is false.” Everything you thought you knew was wrong! Or not—but either way, you should moisturize. No matter what.

The toothpaste really works. I first tried putting it on at night- and I suppose it helped some. But what works better for me is to put it on after I wash my face in the morning with a scrub. It stings more but it’s not that bad. I keep it on for 30 minutes and then I wash it off.

If your acne is the hormonal type, “no topical product alone will make a huge difference,” says Jennifer MacGregor, a dermatologist in New York City. In fact, the treatment a doctor gives you may not even seem like it’s about skin at all. For many women, taking birth-control pills can help clear up skin. Because most contain estrogen and progestin, they help suppress testosterone and prevent breakouts. Already on the pill and still breaking out? A doctor may prescribe spironolactone, a drug for hypertension that controls androgens. Don’t take it if you’re thinking of getting pregnant, though, since it can cause birth defects. (Many doctors prescribe spironolactone to women of child-bearing age only if they’re also on the pill.)

The good news is that whatever parts of your face are having a little high-school reunion, your body is probably in the clear. Oil glands on the chest and back typically become less active with age, so if you’re still suffering from a bumpy chest or bacne, a change of wardrobe may be in order. “The times I see increased body acne in adults are more commonly in women who work out and who wear spandex or tighter-fitting clothing,” Day says.

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