Rest assured knowing that you are not alone and there is help! A considerable amount of people suffer from acne problems; in fact one in five women aged 20 to 40 suffer from acne.
If left untreated acne may lead to permanent scarring, but also, (and often worse) to low self esteem. There are many treatment options and preventative tricks available.
What causes acne?
Hormonal changes play a major role in acne breakouts. While men can also be affected, acne affects more women than men. Usually, acne will appear on the face, neck, back and chest due to the increased sebaceous glands that produces the sebum. Sebum is responsible for clogging pores and causing blackheads. The oil on the skin is also a great environment for bacteria that leads to pimples and infected acne cysts. Acne is NOT related to bad hygiene, although it can be caused by cosmetics at times. It is also a myth that food will cause acne. Bad eating habits will bring you many health issues, but acne is not one of them.
How to avoid acne
The best ways to avoid breaking out are:
- Don’t squeeze, scratch or pinch blackheads and pimples…In fact, try not to touch your face with your hands at all.
It may seem like you will look better with a red spot rather than having to walk around with a big white pimple on your nose but, think long-term. This may lead to severe scarring and repair treatments and lasers can cost a fortune.
- Be gentle on your skin.
While some over the counter products may be good, some may be very irritating. Avoid any harsh scrubs, astringents, masks, toners, and exfoliants as they may cause irritation which lead to break outs more easily.
- Avoid cosmetics.
The more you apply, the more at risk you are of having acnea cosmetic (acne aggravated by cosmetics) and increasing your pimples. Make sure you are using the right products! If you choose to use cosmetics, make sure they are oil free, fragrance free, hypoallergenic, and specifically for acne skin prone skin. Remember when applying cosmetics, you are at risk of increasing acne. Discontinue using if you feel an itch or burning sensation.
If after following these tips there is no relief, seek medical advice. If your acne is on your back and chest, you may need stronger medical treatments.
What are some treatment options?
Many treatments can be offered to patients that suffer from acne. The first line of treatment will probably be a prescription cream, such as Benzoyl peroxide or Retinoid cream, with or without oral antibiotics.
Your dermatologist may also request a blood test to rule out a hormonal unbalanced and could even prescribe a contraceptive pill to help control hormones and reduce acne that way.
There is also the photodynamic treatment which is safe enough to be done on pregnant women and children. It can be used on anyone and is also used to treat pre-cancerous cells “actinic keratosis”. It rejuvenates the skin and reduces the size of pores and scarring.
If you have scarring from acne, some doctors will offer a laser treatment for the face. This is usually efficient depending on the severity. Dermatologists may also suggest natural peels, although this will only treat acne scars and not active acne.
When to consult a dermatologist
You may think you have your acne under control, but consider seeking expert advice to deal with your specific issues. They can pinpoint a treatment plan for you and likely clear up your skin relatively fast. Don’t hesitate to consult a doctor if you feel embarrassed or discouraged about your acne and especially don’t wait if you are starting to notice scarring or if you have cysts.