Spots, zits, pimples, blackheads, whiteheads and scarring are all symptoms of acne.
Have you visited every cosmetic counter and pharmacy and spent a fortune on different over the counter products with no improvement in your acne symptoms? Despair not, there are acne cures available.
What exactly is acne?
Acne is a common skin condition which occurs when the oil glands in the skin produce too much oil or sebum. The pores become congested with keratin and this results in blockage and swelling due to the overproduction of oil leading to blackheads and whiteheads. Acne bacteria called Priopionbacterium Acnes target the congested pores and this results in inflammation leading to the development of spots, zits or pimples.
Why go to an acne expert?
It often surprises me, that most people attend a beauty counter or a pharmacy first rather than their doctor to try and treat their acne. They sample every over the counter cream available at great expense. This leads to inappropriate and ineffective treatments. It is advisable to attend a doctor with a special interest in acne and dermatological problems. This will save time and money and result in better treatment outcomes in the long term. After all, the most effective treatments for acne are often prescription items.
Does acne affect everyone?
Acne is most commonly found in young teenagers which is also called adolescent acne. Whilst spots and pimples usually resolve for the majority of sufferers, for a small percentage of individuals acne can persist into adulthood.
What should I do to improve my acne symptoms?
Cleansing your skin:
It is recommended to use a salicylic acid cleanser for effective skin exfoliation and to control your acne e.g. Obagi Clenziderm which contains 2% salicylic acid. Wet your face with warm water, apply a dime sized amount of cleanser to your face. Lather your face and keep the cleanser in contact with your skin for up to 20-30 seconds. You should not use a salicylic acid cleanser if you have a known allergy to aspirin products.
Make sure that your moisturiser is non- comedogenic or oil free e.g. Obagi Clenziderm therapeutic moisturiser of Neostrata sheer hydration.
Makeup can be one of the main triggers for acne. The ideal is mineral makeup which you can purchase at the chemist or better still Lycogel breathable foundation.
Sun- protection is vital when using products containing retinoids or benzoyl peroxide because these products can make you more sensitive to the sun.
Recommended sunblocks are Heliocare SPF 30 oil free gel or Hamilton Everyday Face.
DO NOT PICK AT YOUR SPOTS!!
If your skin flares with dairy, chocolate or fatty foods, it stand to reason it is best to avoid these foods.
Why do people suffering from acne need to see a medical professional?
Many of those who suffer from acne think that it is a simple problem that can be corrected easily. Though in the early stages the acne may be overcome by over the counter creams and potions, it is not so easy to get rid of more severe acne.
Why go to a doctor for advice?
A doctor can prescribe prescription strength creams and oral antibiotics depending on the severity of your acne while a beauty therapist can’t.
Topical treatments such as benzoyl peroxide and retinoids tend to be more efficacious than over the counter remedies.
Oral treatments include the hormonal contraceptive pill, antibiotics and Isotretinoin. The acne treatments should not only aim at the removal of acne, but the causes of acne should be identified and the root cause should be treated.
Therefore, simply taking antibiotics is not the answer. Every spot starts with a blackhead or whitehead. Unless the underlying cause i. e. over production of oil or sebum is treated, your acne will recur. Examples of effective treatments include preparations which contain vitamin A, retinoids or tretinoin. So, in summary oral antibiotics should ideally be prescribed in conjunction with topical anti- comedonal prescription creams.
If you are suffering from acne, it is important to attend a medical expert who can identify the cause of your acne and devise a treatment plan that is customised and formulated for you, to help you on the path to clear skin.