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4. Moisturise the skin with a light gel-based moisturiser that is “non-comedogenic” i.e. prevents the formation of blackheads. Even oily skin needs moisturising as oils do not equate to hydration. Moisturising the skin will maintain the integrity of the barrier function of the skin and is vital for good skin health.
Benzoyl peroxide. It’s an antibacterial that eliminates P. acnes on skin. Look for this ingredient if you have lots of pustules, since they’re an indication that you’re dealing with higher levels of bacteria on your skin. This ingredient won’t be as effective when used on blackheads.
Acne products should be applied to all areas usually affected by acne, rather than just applied to individual lesions.5 Patients should also be informed that when using topical products, including prescription products, it may take several months before significant results are seen.4
Acne is the most common skin disorder in the world. If you suffer from acne, you are not alone and many treatment options are available. Learn more about pimples, blackheads, and comedones with the Acne Quiz.
Correct hygiene: wash your hands before touching your face, but, if at all possible, keep your hands away from your face. Change your pillowcases and bedding often, and replace your makeup brushes every few weeks. Remember never to share washcloths or towels and to wash them after every use.
Diet therapy has been suggested. Fulton et al performed a study on chocolate, having teenage patients with acne consume 1 bar of chocolate each day. Some of the patients improved and some worsened, but the vast majority were unchanged.  This study helped decrease the emphasis on diet as a causal factor in acne vulgaris. However, investigators always returned to the diet question. Data suggest that the westernization of certain Native American populations and the related consumption of unhealthy “junk” foods (eg, potato chips, soft drinks) has had a negative impact on general and skin health, resulting in acne flares. Skim milk, compared with full-fat milk, has been found to have a positive association with acne, especially in teenagers and young adults. [68, 69] Causation was not able to be drawn from the case control studies, but the mechanism involving hormonal constituents of the skim milk has been postulated.  . Whey protein is a commonly used supplement that has been suggested to worsen acne and should be discontinued if flaring of the condition is associated with its use.
If benzoyl peroxide, retinol, and salicylic acid help a bit but not completely or if you have cystic acne, see your dermatologist. You may need something beyond topical treatments, says Dr. Lee. Here’s the extra oomph that may make a difference.
What it is: Oral antibiotics are taken in pill form usually once per day. (Learn more about Doxycycline, Minocycline, Levofloxacin, Co-trimoxazole AKA sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim from the U.S. National Library of Medicine)
As your doctor will tell you, Retin-A should only be used at night, because it makes your skin more sensitive to the sun and more susceptible to sunburn. Use extra sunscreen and sun protection when outdoors.
^ Jump up to: a b c Barnes, LE; Levender, MM; Fleischer, AB, Jr.; Feldman, SR (April 2012). “Quality of life measures for acne patients”. Dermatologic Clinics (Review). 30 (2): 293–300. doi:10.1016/j.det.2011.11.001. PMID 22284143.
If you have a lot of acne, cysts, or nodules, a medicine that you can buy without a prescription may not work. If you want to see clearer skin, you should see a dermatologist. Dermatologists offer the following types of treatment:
General Practitioners are now significant prescribers of isotretinoin. From July, 2011 – June, 2012 there were a total of 46 531 dispensed prescriptions for isotretinoin, of which 58% originated from a General Practitioner.24
Acne is a chronic condition and the most common skin problem in the United States.2 It affects both men and women, and can happen at any age.3 It is characterized by whiteheads, blackheads, and inflamed red pimples—all of which can go by the endearing term, “zits.”4,5
Acne is an inflammatory disorder of pilosebaceous units and is prevalent in adolescence. The characteristic lesions are open (black) and closed (white) comedones, inflammatory papules, pustules, nodules and cysts, which may lead to scarring and pigmentary changes (Figures 1 to to4).4). The pathogenesis of acne is multifactorial and includes abnormal follicular keratinization, increased production of sebum secondary to hyperandrogenism, proliferation of Propionibacterium acnes and inflammation.2,3
Sulfur. Sulfur removes dead skin cells that clog pores and helps remove excess oil. It’s often combined with other ingredients, such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or resorcinol. Products containing sulfur may cause dry skin. And some products have an unpleasant odor.
Fractional laser treatment is less invasive than ablative laser treatment, as it targets only a fraction of the skin at a time. Fractional lasers penetrate the top skin layers, where its light energy stimulates collagen production and resurfaces top layer of the epidermis. Treatments typically last between 15 and 45 minutes and effects become visible in 1 to 3 weeks.
But the side effects of targeted spot treatments aren’t always worth it. “So many products instruct consumers to use benzoyl peroxide to spot treat red bumps and pustules. I don’t recommend it,” says Dr. Green. “Benzoyl peroxide, when placed on red spots, can actually cause more irritation and inflammation to the area. It’s best used to prevent red bumps and pustules, and applied all over the area you want to treat.” Robin Townsend, a medical aesthetician based in Cincinnati, was also quick to naysay a spot-treat-only approach: “Acne affects all of the pores. If someone is going to spot treat against my advice, I still suggest they spot treat one day and treat the whole face the next.”
What is it: Made under the brand name “Azelex.” Azelex is a cream containing 20% azelaic acid, a naturally occuring acid found in whole grain cereals and animal products. It is normally applied twice daily.1Learn more from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.