ACNE-How to Treat it

Some Basics on Acne:
There are different types and grades of acne, but most of them have a hormonal cause. Often acne responds well to birth control pills, which reduce the presence of androgen (male hormone) in the body. Excess androgen causes increased oil production in women, which leads to breakouts for those susceptible to the condition. Given the side effects of birth control pills (even the low-dose versions approved for managing acne), it may not be the best decision to keep taking them solely to keep your skin clear, but that is something to discuss with your physician. If you decide not to take birth control pills, your breakouts may be manageable if you follow a routine of gentle cleansing, disinfecting, exfoliating and moisturizing but that takes experimentation and dedication. You might also speak to your physician about prescription products for acne, including tretinoin (Retin-A), Differin (Adapalene), or topical products that combine 2.5% benzoyl peroxide with an antibiotic or .5% salicylic acid. Higher percentages in the benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can cause other problems, and it’s best to begin using lower strengths and increase slowly. These products help exfoliate skin or eliminate bacteria. One or all of these methods might keep your skin clear without the need for birth control pills or expensive treatments and many of these ingredients are available in over-the-counter products. The chemical action of these exfoliating creams helps rid skin of the dead skin cells that clog the pores along with the excess oil and bacteria which leads to breakouts and infections. Don’t over dry your skin since your skin will react to it by working harder and producing even more oil and you’ll probably end up with irritated, flakey skin along with the acne. Use a mild, oil free lotion to keep skin hydrated along with a sunscreen to keep skin from drying out from the sun.

Mild and occasional outbreaks of acne can respond well to: natural products such as clay masks to draw out excess oil; mild exfoliating scrubs (be sure skin scrubs contain perfectly sphere shaped beads, not jagged ones like apricot kernel seeds which tear skin and irritate) or use natural fruit acids such as papaya and apple to rid skin of dead, pore-clogging skin cells; and natural disinfectants to keep acne causing bacteria at bay such as honey and apple cider vinegar.

Try alternating weekly face masks: one week with a clay mask for drawing out excess oil, and one week with a medicated mask with benzoyl peroxide in it. And don’t forget to keep your pillow case and towels absolutely clean and bacteria free too. Avoid touching your face since your fingers have oils and bacteria on them that can affect acne. Since stress is a major trigger of acne, try to rid your life of any unnecessary stress or learn yoga and/or meditation for stress release, or just some brisk exercise regularly can purge your body of stress. That’s why when you have a big event coming up (like your wedding day!) you tend to get a pesky pore blowup!

To hide a bad pimple, press an ice cube in a washcloth over it to shrink swelling or apply Preparation H hemorrhoid cream, dot on some Visine to reduce redness and camouflage with makeup (see also other categories on “Makeup Tips” and “Acne”).

Here’s a good outline to follow on skin care for acne:
Each Morning
Wash with Cetaphyl gentle liquid cleanser, apply plenty of medicated cream containing 2.5% benzoyl peroxide and .5% salicylic acid, then a light, oil/fragrance free moisturizer with SPF15 sunscreen. If applying makeup, use mineral foundation makeup.
Each Afternoon
Wash again if needed to remove oiliness and reapply all creams. Avoid caking up makeup.
Each Night
Wash with Cetaphyl liquid cleanser, wipe face with pH balanced toner on a cotton pad to remove all traces of dirt (such as 1 part apple cider vinegar mixed with 2 parts water) and apply a heavy coat of the medicated cream again and light moisturizer if needed. Treat inflamed blemishes with a topical antibiotic.
Apply a facial mask for 15-30 minutes and rinse. Alternate a clay mask one week then medicated mask the other. Exfoliate once per week with a mild exfoliant such as baking soda mixed with your cleanser or water.
Always Avoid:
Stress, sun, junk food and sodas, touching your face, dirty linens, alcohol based products which irritate, and abrasive exfoliant scrubs. Never, ever go to bed with a dirty face.
Always Have:
Plenty of exercise (breaking a sweat preferably), relaxation, 8 hours of sleep every night, good wholesome foods and lots of water, clean linens and hair, along with religious daily skin care treatments as above.
For much more info on acne and natural treatments: Beauty and the Budget at VirtualBookWorm

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