With a plethora of confusing advice on the internet, I thought it would be helpful to give a few simple acne tips to help prevent and treat acne. Unfortunately, acne is a very common skin condition in teenagers that is caused by the clogging of pores (whiteheads and blackheads) which can also cause red bumps, pimples and deeper lumps (nodules and cysts) to form. It is most frequently seen on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and the upper arms. The cause in teenagers is typically increased hormones and overactive oil glands. In adults, stress and the effects that play on hormonal stimulation of the oil glands is often a factor. Acne can be disfiguring and have a substantial emotional impact on patients so it is important to treat early and prevent scarring. Below are several simple tips that can help improve acne.
1) Dirt does not cause acne! Acne is caused by the clogging of the pores on your skin, not dirt! Twice daily washing of your face with a gentle cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and cosmetics is recommended to prevent oil and grime buildup.
2) Wash your face twice a day! Some patients benefit from cleansers that contain benzoyl peroxide, salicyclic acid, or other products. Washing your skin too often, though, can actually worsen acne due to excessive irritation of the skin.
3) Keep your hands off your face! The oil from your hands is transferred to your face which can worsen acne. Try your best not to rest your chin on the palm of your hand!
4) Do not pick your acne! Manipulation of acne lesions causes an increase in inflammation and can sometimes cause scarring. Furthermore, it makes the acne look worse than it really is.
5 ) Eat healthy! Acne is generally not caused by your diet or the foods you eat. There are conflicting studies on this topic and varied opinions on the importance of diet in the management of acne. Generally speaking, though, it is felt that a healthy diet makes one feel better, lowers stress, and improves acne.
6) Remove your makeup at night! It is important to choose a make-up, foundation or moisturizer that is "non-comedogenic" (does not cause you to break out) and remove it every night with a gentle cleanser. Do not go to bed with your makeup on !!
7) Prevent your acne; do not wait until you already have a zit! The main focus is to try to prevent acne in the first place. It is much easier to control acne by trying to prevent new acne pimples, breakouts, and blemishes from forming.
8) Lower your stress! This is easier said that done. However, it is widely know that the increased stress of modern living has contributed to an increase in acne.
9) See a dermatologist! If your acne is nodular or cystic or has not improved after these simple tips, you may need to be more proactive and aggressive in your treatment. Early treatment by a dermatologist with experience in acne prevention and treatment is important to improve your results.
10) If your acne is moderate or severe, do not wait to see a dermatologist! If you do, you risk the possibility of scarring. Some cases may be managed with an antibiotic or birth control pills. Moderate or severe cases of acne often require a dermatologist to prescribe isotretinoin (accutane) to prevent acne scarring. Isotretinoin is a strong acne medication that improves excessively oily skin, treats cystic acne, and helps prevent scarring from acne.