Basic and Best Acne Treatment
The basic (and still recommended) way to treat acne is with a gentle cleanser (most Dermatologists recommend liquid Cetaphyl Cleanser which is great for sensitive skin and contains no detergent to irritate) at least twice a day, applying a 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide product twice daily, along with a light, oil free moisturizer. The twice daily Benzoyl Peroxide treatment should be applied about 12 hours apart and liberally, starting out with approximately a dime size amount and increasing the amount as skin tolerates. A very thin layer will probably do nothing for you and probably the reason many people give up on it is too scanty application or not often enough. Some people’s skin do not tolerate Benzoyl Peroxide very well so if you have sensitive skin, start even slower until you know how your skin will react. Include application of a BHA-Beta Hydroxy Acid .5% cream (Salicylic Acid) along with the Benzoyl Peroxide for better success. The BHA helps rid skin of top layers of dead cells that can collect in pores and when mixed with oil from your skin and bacteria, the result is an eruption of a blemish. The Benzoyl Peroxide helps clear up the bacteria causing havoc. The products should be pH correct (between 3 & 4) and not include any irritants or fragrances like mint or alcohol or anything else you know you are sensitive to). This routine is generally what a doctor would start you with before working up to other treatments, but you can do it without the Dr’s office fees since they are all products available over the counter without a prescription. It works for many people but just like other treatments for acne, it might not work for everyone. Even Accutane, with its touted success, does not always work even after repeated treatments and is very pricey. This basic routine is the most cost effective route to take to begin treating your acne before taking expensive, drastic measures. When using any product containing Benzoyl Peroxide, keep in mind that it can stain and bleach fabric as well as hair. Be sure to sleep with a towel to protect your pillow and change the towel every couple days to prevent bacteria from growing and causing more acne problems. Avoid getting it on your eyebrows or hairline since it will bleach hair.
Basic and Best Blackhead Treatment
If you have acne along with the blackheads, follow the treatment described above making sure you are using the Salicylic Acid .5% (BHA-Beta Hydroxy Acid) cream which helps improve the pore lining functions to keep them clear and slough off the dead skin cells. Don't go any stronger than .5% since it could cause other problems. Again, be sure the product is pH correct (between 3 & 4) which helps it penetrate the follicle lining of the pore to dislodge blackheads and allow the oil to flow freely to the surface of the skin. Benzoyl Peroxide works for the bacteria that causes acne but has no effect on the blackheads since they aren’t caused by bacteria. To effectively remove the blackheads, squeezing is the best remedy and is exactly what you pay a facialist to do. Blackheads are not ‘dirt’ and you cannot scrub them away since they begin well under the surface of the skin. Just take care to gently squeeze out blackheads using a soft cloth so you don’t damage the skin and create scarring. The removal works more efficient if you first steam your face to soften skin and open the pores. After removing the blackheads, apply a toner or alcohol free astringent to help shrink the pores. Some natural liquids that are oil reducing by nature and help close up the open pores: Vodka, lemon juice, witch hazel and buttermilk. Applying aloe vera gel is a great alternative too since it’s astringent, very healing and soothing to skin. You can also help shrink the open pores by brushing on raw egg white to the skin and letting it dry then lightly rinsing. Never apply rubbing alcohol to shrink pores which is much too harsh and can make problems worse. See the other topics under ‘Acne’ for further information and tips.
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