Have you been suffering from acne for a while? If you think this situation is inevitable and that the only thing to do is wait it out, you are quite mistaken. There are effective treatments that can improve the situation and help avoid the negative consequences of acne.
Acne: one problem, several solutions
Acne is a very common skin problem. In fact, up to 80% of adolescents are affected by it, especially boys. Just as with diabetes or asthma, acne can have various repercussions on the person affected. In fact, a lowering of self-esteem, social isolation, anxiety, depression and difficulty finding employment are all possible consequences related to acne. To avoid these situations and prevent scars that may also result, treatment must be begun as soon as possible.
Generally, treating acne among adolescents is easier than among adults. Several steps can be taken to help clear up the skin.
Cleaning your skin properly: a basic step
Cleaning your skin is the first step in treatment. Affected areas must be carefully cleaned twice daily with warm water and gentle, fragrance-free cleanser.
Your pharmacy sells numerous cleansing products, some of which are especially designed for the particular needs of acne prone skin. Ask your pharmacist or cosmetician to help you choose an effective cleanser.
Here are a few additional tips on cleaning your skin:
- Do not clean more than twice daily. This can irritate the skin and worsen the problem.
- Ensure you rinse your skin properly after washing it.
- Do not rub too hard when drying your skin. Tap skin dry lightly with a clean towel.
- Wash your skin after sweating or a sports activity.
Moisturizing the skin: obligatory
To remain healthy, your skin must be properly moisturized. Dry and dehydrated skin defends itself by increasing the production of sebum, which aggravates acne. Again, it would be wise to seek professional advice before choosing a product for your skin. Normally, you should look for a moisturizing product that has the following characteristics:
Many moisturizing products available at your pharmacy are specially designed for acne prone skin.
Treating mild acne
If your acne appears in the form of small, white or red-tipped pimples, you probably have mild acne. In this case, topical products (that can be applied to the skin) will no doubt be your best allies, and are also sold without a prescription at your pharmacy.
The most frequently used active ingredients in anti-acne medication are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Products that contain these ingredients have proven effective in the treatment of mild acne. They come in several formats: gel, lotion, cream, mousse, etc. If your skin is dry or sensitive, it is better to choose a cream or lotion that will also moisturize the skin. On the other hand, if you have oily skin, alcohol-based solutions or gels are a better choice, given their drying properties.
It is important to remember that these products must be applied regularly over the course of several weeks to be effective. As well, the whole skin area where acne is present must be treated, not just individual pimples. You may find that your skin becomes irritated following the use of these products. If this happens, temporarily reducing the frequency of application (every second day, for example) may resolve this problem. It is often worthwhile to continue treatment, as the irritation can disappear with prolonged use. If the reverse is true, you might want to choose another product.
You must closely follow the recommendations of your pharmacist and the product manufacturer in order to achieve maximum benefit of topical anti-acne products.
Treating moderate to severe acne
For more severe cases of acne, it is often better to consult a doctor. Left untreated, it can result in consequences such as permanent scarring. Below are several examples of signs that may indicate you suffer from severe acne:
- large coverage of pimples on the face;
- larger, redder pimples, filled with pus or sensitive to the touch;
- presence of cysts;
- visible swelling;
- unsatisfactory response to basic care and the use of over-the-counter topical medication;
- your back, shoulders or chest are affected.
Treating severe acne often requires using prescription medication. Here again, patience is required because these treatments can also take several weeks before becoming effective. Your doctor and pharmacist can help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the various options available, which mainly include:
- topical or oral antibiotics;
- hormone therapy (for example, some oral contraceptives);
- retinoic acid-based topical products;
- isotretinoin administered orally.
Your pharmacist can give you advice on all aspects of medication used in the treatment of acne, including the expected benefits, secondary effects, precautions to take and directions for use.
For many people, mild acne will clear up without having to see a doctor. Only careful skin care and using products available at the pharmacy are required to bring skin back to its healthy look. However, don’t hesitate to consult your healthcare professional if these steps are not enough or if you have more serious acne. Otherwise, you run the risk of carrying around the scars of your carelessness for a long time!