What Is Acne?
Acne is an inflammatory and sometimes chronic condition of the skin that manifests itself in the form of bumps, big and small. It develops when the follicles of the hair are clogged with old dead skin cells and excess oil (source).
When this happens, the skin becomes unable to breathe. Bacteria find that mixture a perfect breeding ground. And when they begin to grow there, they cause the skin to become inflamed, which in turn leads to bumps like pustules, whiteheads, nodules and other symptoms.
It is one of the most common skin conditions that man knows. But the commonest groups of people it affects are teenagers, pregnant women and menstruating women.
Additionally, it can develop on any part of the body but it is more prone to some areas than others. Some of those areas are the face, the neck, chest, shoulders and back.
The reason why they are more prone is because they have many oil glands and tiny hair follicles (source).
You will learn more about acne problems as we go on.
What Causes Acne?
Any number of things could start this spiral. So there is no one thing you can place your finger on as the main cause. But here are some probable ones:
It is always a great temptation to heap makeup on your face, especially if you’ve got acne or acne scars, just to cover them up. But you could be causing your skin some problems.
Makeup and other cosmetics clog pores. This is even truer for those which are oil-based. Using too much of them only piles on the oil. This increases the chances of an acne breakout. And if you already have acne, it simply aggravates it (source).
These are changes that could occur in the bodies of groups of people like pubescent teens and pregnant women.
An increase in the levels of androgen, such as testosterone, in the body could lead to more oil or sebum being produced.
In addition to that, there could be changes in the activity of skin cells and a taking over of hair follicles by P. acnes, bacteria that cause acne. This could lead to inflammation that consequently show up as acne (source).
Medications such as steroids, anti-convulsants and birth control pills could cause acne. Even though this is not, in any way common, it still happens.
These drugs could cause a change in the levels of androgens in the body. The change in the hormone could lead to more oil production, which increases the chances of acne (source).
Another possible cause for acne is sweat. You could sweat profusely through exercising hard or working outdoors.
But if you don’t clean it and bathe properly, it could gather with dirt and clog your pores, making the skin open to the onslaught of acne.
What Could Aggravate Acne?
If you are prone to have acne or already have a breakout, here are some factors that could make it worse:
Constantly Picking on It
The urge to touch or pick acne or pimples is almost always irresistible. But you must keep resisting it because picking on them is one of the surest ways to make the breakout worse.
When you constantly touch them, you may push the pus deeper into the skin and even increase the chances of scarring (source).
Scrubbing Skin Too Hard
Using a thick wash cloth on your acne-prone skin, it will cause it to become irritated and worsen the breakout. What it could do is to bust the acne or pimples prematurely, giving room for bigger bumps to appear.
Consistently Washing Face
Getting your face washed constantly does not make your face cleaner. This is despite the belief that washing too often would help clear acne.
It only strips the face of protective oils and covering, leaving it susceptible to acne breakouts.
Humidity equals lots of moisture in the atmosphere. The mixture of moisture and heat causes the skin’s pores to open up. This increases its susceptibility to environmental dirt and excess sebum from within.
Consequently, this process aggravates already-existing acne or causes new ones to develop. If you didn’t know it before, acne and humidity don’t go so well together (source).
There is a general belief that chocolate and food rich in grease cause acne. But this is not really true, at least not for most people.
Additionally, the belief that dirt and stress lead to acne is not exactly true, for the most part (source).
Things to Consider before You Start Acne Treatment
There are number of thing to take into consideration as you set out to get rid of acne problems. It doesn’t matter the particular problem you are trying to treat. They could make or mar the treatment process.
Types of Acne
In case you didn’t know, acne shows up as pustules, blackheads, cysts, papules, whiteheads and nodules.
Some of these symptoms are mild while others are severe. Therefore, it goes without saying that each would require a different treatment. In the light of this, it is important to find out which you have before you start administering treatment.
Severity of the Different Types
They are the same as the common pimples everyone knows. They are bumps on the skin which are filled with yellow or white pus. You could confuse them with whiteheads but they usually look angrier and worse. But they are the mild type.
They have another name: open comedones. They are simply whiteheads which have open and have widened. When a whitehead goes through this process, it grows dark. So the color of blackheads has nothing to do with what they contain.
The skin around them usually don’t appear inflamed or angry. They look like your normal skin but the center of them are darker than every other area. They are part of the mild and non-inflammatory types.
They tend to be large and painful lumps that grow within the skin. Even though they feel soft to the touch, they are usually filled with pus and are one of the most severe forms of acne.
Due to their severity, they could cause complications on the skin and lead to severe scarring. Therefore, it is important they are not pressed or aggravated further in any way.
They appear when there is too much irritation caused by blackheads and whiteheads. This irritation could lead to some damage to the skin, which in turn causes it to become inflamed.
They usually look pink and tender, with no center whether opened or closed. The skin around them also appear somewhat red and swollen. Despite all these, they are mild.
They are also called closed comedones medically. They are small bumps that could either be flesh-colored or white. The center is small and closed but white, and the skin around them appear red. They are inflammatory but mild.
Unlike cysts, they are hard. They are painful bumps that grow under the skin, having the look of papules but worse. They normally have no visible outlet, and they could fester within the skin. This, in turn, could cause complications.
Like cysts, they are considered a severe type of acne and could cause deep scarring or large and dark skin spots (source).
In treating acne, no matter the type, you should know your skin type. Due to the fact that acne has a lot to do with oil, it is usually associated with oily skin. But this couldn’t be more wrong. The possible causative agents listed above prove this.
What works for dry type of skin may not be so good for combination skin. And what is ideal for oily type of skin could aggravate normal skin. Above all these, sensitive skin is the most difficult to please (source).
One of the many things to consider before you begin treatment is your diet. It has been said that greasy food does not contribute to acne for the most part. But other types of food could contribute.
Diet rich in sugar increases the blood sugar of a person. When this happens, the pancreas would have to produce the hormone called insulin in excess in order to be able to carry the excess sugar to parts of the body.
Too much insulin in the blood could cause the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, increasing the chances of the development of acne.
How you treat or pamper your skin could make or mar the acne you have. Skincare routine is not just about cleaning up and applying a good moisturizer. It is way deeper than that, especially with acne-prone skin.
Using only wipes to remove your makeup without a cleanser or face wash afterwards is wrong. Not using an appropriate moisturizer at all or not using enough of it is wrong.
Too much exposure to the sun without enough sunscreen could cause acne. This is because the sun naturally dries the skin up and this could automatically cause the skin to increase its oil production. In turn, this clogs the pores and increases the chances of a breakout.
Getting Rid of Face and Body Acne
If you are prone to have acne, you will know that acne is not just restricted to the face. As a matter of fact, in our introduction, we listed the most common areas where it is possible to appear.
So in this section, we discuss how to get rid of them using medications and home remedies.
Medications for Acne
The basic things these medications do are slow the speed at which the skin produces oil, combat infection caused by bacteria and increase turnover of skin cells.
These actually take time of constantly using acne medications before results show; sometimes, as much as 8 weeks. So it is usually recommended to go with those who don’t promise complete treatment within short periods.
Before any acne medication is recommended to you, your doctor may have to consider the type of acne you have and its severity, your age and how committed you are willing to be to it.
You may be required to wash the affected area and apply the prescribed medication two times a day. Sometimes, the medication may be orally administered. But for pregnant women, drugs may not be recommended.
Thing is, it is important you speak with your doctor before you commence any treatment. No matter how mild the acne, seek the advice of a doctor. Self-medication is not recommended, especially if you are using other medications (source).
Below are the commonest medications that a doctor would prescribe for acne:
Mild acne does not require taking antibiotics. As an aside, using antibiotics frequently is not recommended.
To treat severe or moderately breakouts, you may be given antibiotics such as tetracycline, erythromycin and clindamycin. This would help reduce the amount of inflammation and combat the bacteria causing it.
Antibiotics usually work but there is a downside. Depending on how long you would be required to take it, there is a chance you would develop a general resistance to it.
For this not to happen, it would be good for your doctor to recommend it to be used along with benzoyl peroxide. The best thing to do, though, is to use the antibiotics for a short time.
Your sensitivity to the sun may increase as you use the antibiotics. Dizziness and stomach upset may also occur as part of the side effects of the antibiotics.
Derivatives of Vitamin A
Also called retinoids, these can be used orally or as topical creams. they work by influencing the growth and shedding of the skin.
They can work alone or together with some other treatments like antibiotics or benzoyl peroxide. But orally-taken retinoids can have side effects like itchiness, dryness or even redness of the skin. for some people, the redness and itchiness tend to clear up after some days.
If you have a severe case of acne, like cystic acne, the drug isotretinoin can be used. It is the one and only known drug that completely works on all the causes leading to any acne type. If the cysts have not responded to any other treatment, they are sure to respond to this.
But it can have some side effects like pain in the joints, headaches, dry lips and skin and an increase in the level of triglyceride.
More severe side effects include serious birth defects, the risk of suicide, depression and having inflammatory bowel disease.
Therefore, under no circumstance should a pregnant woman, nursing mother or one without contraception use it. And under no circumstance should you use it without having a talk with your doctor.
There are four of them, which come in a combined manner, that have been approved by the FDA to be used as acne therapy and for contraception.
Their best results may not show for several months. Therefore, using other mild treatments with them may be good. However, the contraceptives may cause you to gain weight, your breasts to become tender, cause you to gain weight or even have clots in your blood.
Spironolactone can alter the way hormones of the body affect the oil glands of the skin. while it is not approved by the FDA, it has been known to help women whose acne worsen with menopause or menstruation (source) (source).
Fish Oil Supplement
There are chances that eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) could affect curb oil production and reduce inflammation, two factors that contribute to the development of acne (source).
These two acids are types of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are natural to fish. Omega-3 acids have many health benefits and even though they can be gotten from food, most people don’t normally eat foods that contain them. Therefore, they have to be sourced for separately.
You could get them from eating foods like sardines, walnuts, ground flaxseeds and salmon. But if you would rather go the supplement way, they are available in drugstores everywhere (source).
This nutrient is important for immune functions, growth of cells, good metabolism and production of hormones. It has also been shown to boost the body’s resistance to acne. People who are prone to acne have been shown to have less amounts of zinc in their blood than those who are not (source).
Orally taking elemental zinc, between 30 to 45 mg daily, could significantly reduce acne. The amount of zinc which a compound contains is referred to as elemental zinc, and it comes in different forms.
But it can’t be used externally on areas affected by acne because it doesn’t work. This may because zinc is not easily absorbed into the skin (source).
This acid occurs naturally in animal products and cereals which are whole grain. With its mild nature but strong antibacterial attributes, it is safe to be used by pregnant and breastfeeding women.
A topical cream with about 20% of it would work just as well as any other acne treatment if used two times daily for about a month. Its effectiveness increases if it is used together with erythromycin.
Its use could cause the skin to become slightly irritated or discolored.
Salicylic acid is more common than azelaic acid and works by keeping the hair follicles from being clogged. It is more commonly used in acne cleansers, acne face washes and scrubs, as well as creams and lotions.
Its effectiveness is not very strong when used without any other active ingredient.
They are infused into topical creams, lotions and gels. You may not see the name ‘retinoids’ but you may see tretinoin, tazarotene and adapalene.
Retinoids usually cause the skin to become irritated during the first few days of use but it nothing to worry about. Your skin would get used to the ingredient. So, you may want to use it once in the evening until your skin becomes used to it. Then you can increase use.
Yes, they also come as topical treatments. They reduce the redness of the skin and kill off excess bacteria that could increase acne.
While they are good, they are never recommended to be used alone. This is to keep you from developing a resistance to antibiotics.
Instead, it could be combined with benzoyl peroxide, much like the orally-taken ones. Benzamycin, as an example, is a combination of the antibiotic erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide.
For inflammatory acne like pustules, using 5% Dapsone two times a day would help. This is especially true for adult females. But there could be some dryness and redness as part of its side effects.
Different Therapies for Acne
Using therapies could be suggested by your doctor, along with using some of the above-mentioned medications. But this depends on the type of acne and your body’s acceptance.
Severe cases of acne could be handled by having steroid injected directly into them. This quickly helps to reduce pain and the general look of the acne. But there could be a gradual thinning of that area.
Chemical peels like glycolic acid and salicylic acid are used in this therapy. They are applied on the affected area repeatedly till the skin is weakened and wears off to reveal better skin.
However, results may not last long so this treatment may need to be repeated over and again, for as long as your skin would be able to take it.
Photodynamic Therapy and Lasers
Different light-based forms of therapies have been tested over the years and there has been some success. The source of light and the right dosage, as well as the best method, would have to be determined before use.
As a way to complement what medications or topical treatments couldn’t do, your doctor could use some tools to remove comedones. But there could be some scarring from using this therapy (source) (source).
Natural Home Remedies for Acne
While it is true that some of the medications and other conventional treatment for acne are easily accessible and affordable, a lot are quite pricey.
Not only are they pricey, most of them tend to cause some irritation, from mild to severe. Because of this, there have been researches into natural treatments that can be used comfortably at home.
In this section, we look at those verified ones that are supported by science.
Cinnamon and Honey Mask
Using antioxidants on skin affected by acne is one effective way of reducing it, more effective than retinoids and benzoyl peroxide (source). Cinnamon and honey are superb wellsprings of antioxidants. They equally have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
It is important to point out here that they don’t treat acne but help to reduce it. So while you use them as a mask, you may want to use other treatments that are sure to completely take of acne, according to your doctor’s prescription.
To make them into a mask:
Mix with one teaspoon cinnamon with two tablespoons honey until they become paste. After cleaning your face with a good cleanser, apply and wait for about 15 minutes. Then thoroughly rinse it off and dry by patting with a towel (source).
Learn more about gentle acne masks here.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The health benefits of apple cider vinegar (ACV) are too numerous to mention. But among them is the ability to acidify the skin and make it unconducive for acne-causing bacteria (P. acnes) to dwell.
It could also help to dry up the excess oil that brings acne. Additionally, it could prevent inflammation, which could in turn prevent the occurrence of acne scars.
To use ACV:
Take a little amount of it and add water three times its amount to it. If you have sensitive skin, use a little more water.
Cleanse your face and put on some of it using a wad of cotton wool. Leave it on for about 15 to 25 seconds and rinse completely with water. Repeat this once or twice a day, depending on what your skin can take.
Don’t overdo the use of ACV on your skin because of its acidity. It could cause burns and severe irritation to your skin (source).
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)
A possibility exists that this plant contains some compounds that could kill off bacteria and viruses, including P. acnes.
There are supplements and topical creams that contain it. So you can either take the supplements or apply the creams to the affected areas (source).
Many toners contain witch hazel. This could be due to the presence of tannins, with their strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial attributes.
There is no scientific proof that witch hazel specifically treats acne. But the inflammation and bacteria breeding on the skin from acne can be reduced with it, according to studies (source).
To use Witch Hazel:
Get one teaspoon worth of the bark of witch hazel and a cup of water. Add all to a small pot or saucepan. Soak it for about 20 to 30 minutes before you boil it.
After it has reached boiling point, reduce the heat for it to simmer for about 10 minutes. Take it down and allow it to cool for another 10 minutes.
Then strain out the chaff and use an airtight container to store it. Use it according to your skin’s needs (source).
Tea Tree Oil
Like the others, this essential oil is capable of reducing inflammation and fighting bacteria. But unlike them, it has shown promise of reducing acne (source).
Even though it didn’t work as quickly as benzoyl peroxide, it showed significant results after 3 months of constant use. The upside of it is that it doesn’t give side effects such as dryness and irritation.
To use Tea Tree oil:
Mix a little of it with water 9 times its amount. This is because it is very concentrated. Like ACV, use a cotton wad and massage it into the affected areas. You can apply some moisturizer if you desire. Do this twice a day or as you need (source).
Coconut oil naturally contains antibacterial together with anti-inflammatory attributes. These properties would help reduce redness of the skin and inflammation caused by bacteria. Its potency may also help in healing open sores caused by acne.
The best type to use is the pure virgin one and it must be applied to the areas affected by acne (source).
This plant contains sulfur and salicylic acid, two effective treatments for acne. But while these have been proven, the pros of aloe vera on acne is yet to be proven.
However, it contains anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been used to treat burns and other kinds of wounds.
To use it, just scoop the gel out of the plant and apply to your skin, much like a lotion or moisturizer. There is no need to clean or wash it off. Repeat this as your skin needs.
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the main antioxidant in green tea, is known to fight inflammation, reduce the production of sebum and slow the advancement of acne-causing bacteria, P. acnes (source).
Drinking it may not help as much as applying it on the skin as a cream. This may be because the effect wouldn’t be as direct from intake as with direct application.
To use it:
Soak it as if you are going to drink it, for about 3 minutes and allow it to cool. With a cotton wad, apply the liquid to your skin and allow it to get dry. After that, wash it off.
You could also pour the liquid into a bottle with a nozzle and spray on your face. This may be more effective (source).
Jojoba Essential Oil
This essential oil could help reduce inflammation, swelling and redness which occur around acne manifestations like pimples and blackheads.
You could apply it directly to the area affected by acne or you could mix it with your cream and use daily (source).
This is a process through which the topmost layer of skin cells is removed. When this is done, there is a lower chance of the dead cells clogging the pores. It has been used by many to curb acne and there has been good success.
Microdermabrasion is one way to exfoliate. It strips the skin old layers to reveal newer and better skin. it is a process that can be done at home if you get a kit.
You could also buy a good scrub or make one for yourself, which is not difficult. There are different ingredients that could act as scrubbers but the most common is sugar. If sugar is too harsh for you, you could try ground oatmeal.
Whichever you choose, you could mix with honey or coconut oil. use the mixture on your face and body 2 to 3 times a week or daily, according to how your skin receives it (source).
These remedies may not be so effective on severe cases of acne. If you have such, it is recommended you go see a doctor instead of self-medicating.
Quick Home Remedies for Acne
A sudden breakout of acne or pimples could be one of the greatest tragedies to befall anyone. This is especially true if you have a special event the very next day.
The stress and anxiety of preparing for such an event, even if it is a date with someone new, could cause stress zits to appear. So what do you do to get rid of them in just a few hours? Here are a few tips that could help.
While it is such a wonderful tea, it can help remove any sudden but mild acne overnight. Soak about 3 teaspoons in 2 cups of water and leave it for a little while. Strain out the hibiscus and put it into a clean cloth. Wrap it into a poultice.
Hold the poultice to the spots for about ten minutes then remove it. Don’t clean off the wetness; allow your skin to absorb it. It has been known to work wonders.
Lemon juice is a powerful astringent. It can absorb some of the excess oil from the breakout, to give it a chance to shrivel up. But if you are heading out, be sure to clean it off because it could make your skin very sensitive to the sun.
Get one slice of potato and leave it on the spot for 15 minutes, at least, or all day if you can. It can cause the pimple or acne to disappear.
Mix some distilled water into clay to make a paste. Rub it all over your face and allow it to dry. You could leave it on all day or all night, as clay is not harmful to the skin.
It would absorb the oil and cause the pimple to dry up quickly. But it has to be washed off so that ti doesn’t cause excessive dryness to the skin.
You could apply the juice to your washed face and leave it for one hour before washing it off. It has the same drying effect like clay, plus antioxidants.
A little bit of a strawberry on a pimple can work like magic. Rub it on the spot for a little while and leave it for about 30 minutes before rinsing.
Separate the white of an egg from the yolk, whip the white and apply to the problem areas. You can leave the mask on overnight and wash off completely in the morning.
Get some of them mushed to get some juice out of them and apply on the spots you want to treat. Leave the juice for about 25 to 30 minutes and wash off. Depending on how your skin reacts, you could apply an astringent after this.
It is important to point out here that these quick home remedies may not all be effective. And different skin types may react differently to each ingredient mentioned. So it is necessary to find what works for you. But if the breakout is severe, see a doctor.
Best Foods for Acne
Not all types of food contribute to the development of acne. But the ones that do are usually high in simple sugars. They are called high-glycemic foods and they are foods which raise blood sugar easily (see the section on diet).
However, there are some foods that could contribute to fighting acne, some of which are low-glycemic. Examples of such low-glycemic foods include barley, oatmeal, pasta, lima beans, sweet potato and yam.
Other types are foods which are rich in complex carbohydrates such as legumes, vegetables, unprocessed fruits and whole grains.
Generally, the following foods are some of the good ones for the skin and could help curb the frequency of acne breakouts:
Brown rice, pumpkin seeds, nuts, tomatoes, salmon, whole-wheat bread, sardine, mackerel, quinoa, blueberries, spinach, beans, peas, orange and green vegetables and fruits, and lentils.
People react differently to different foods so you may want to find out form your doctor how you should proceed with dieting as it concerns treating acne (source).
Treating Acne While Pregnant
Getting acne while pregnant is a normal part of the process and nothing to worry about. More times than not, it would occur during the first 3 months. This is especially true if you are prone to acne normally.
But this doesn’t mean you should rely on old treatments or medications. In fact, it is advised that you stay away from medications and over-the-counter treatments that contain chemicals.
Isotretinoin is one drug that must be kept far away because it can cause serious birth defects. This is true even when you are still planning to get pregnant, except you are on certain birth control pills. Even then, you must be under the constant supervision of a doctor.
Safe Remedies for Pregnancy Acne
Instead, it is safest to go with home remedies that are natural and chemical-free. Here are some ways:
i. Don’t over-cleanse. It may cause an increase in oil production because the skin would automatically try to keep up due to dryness that comes with too much cleansing.
ii. Wash your face only twice a day or after you have sweated a lot.
iii. Wash your hair regularly with a shampoo, especially if you have oily skin. keep away from oily hair products and petroleum jelly near the hair.
iv. Get your pillowcases changed as often as possible.
v. Don’t hold your cellphone against your face. Instead, you could use hands-free headsets.
vi. Avoid using any coarse washcloth on your face.
vii. Don’t pick on the pimples, blackheads or any other type of breakout you may have. Your fingers produce oil, which easily magnet dirt and good places for bacteria to breed (source).
Getting Rid of Baby and Infantile Acne
Baby acne, also known as neonatal acne, is a common skin condition which appears on a baby after birth. It shows up as pimples, white or red bumps. More times than not, the condition occurs between two and six weeks, and goes away after that on its own.
On the other hand, infantile acne, a less common skin condition, can occur after the first six weeks. It shows up as blackheads, nodules or cysts. This is completely different from baby acne. Infantile acne could leave scars while baby acne rarely leaves scars (source) (source).
Baby acne may not need any treatment because it vanishes without help after a little while. But if it lingers stubbornly, don’t use any cream, lotion, gel or treatment without the pediatrician’s consent.
Don’t squeeze or scrub their face. Keep them as clean as possible and avoid using any strong ointment, especially those with fragrance. The best thing to do is to leave it alone. It doesn’t hurt your baby in any way.
Due to the severity that could be associated with infantile acne, it may require a different approach.
Some topical retinoid creams, antibiotic gels and benzoyl peroxide could be used, according to the doctor’s prescription. Antibiotics could also be taken orally to work from the inside.
However, like baby acne, it could clear up on its own when the baby gets to 2 years or thereabouts. Of course, this is at the risk of scarring if it isn’t treated (source).
How to Remove Permanent Acne Scars
If you have had acne for a very long time, one of the signs is scars. This is especially true if the acne was severe. It can be demoralizing and can affect self-esteem.
But there are ways to get rid of them, even seemingly-permanent ones. In this section, we will take a look at the proven ones.
Your dermatologist could use really small crystals to scrape off the surface of the skin to reveal better skin underneath. While this is not a painful process, it may require a few visits before the treatment is done. And you may need some days to get over the tingling become adjusted to your new skin. But the reward is worth it.
Fillers are used on scars that look like pits on the skin. Substances like fat and collagen could be used as fillers, to raise the depressed areas of skin to the same level as others, covering them up.
It is not a one-off process so will have to be repeated for several months, until your skin absorbs the substances as part of it.
Try a Chemical Peel
This may not take care of deep scars but it can help reduce the hyper-pigmentation caused by old inflammation.
A harmless acid is sprayed on the face to peel off the top layer to reveal newer skin. It may take some days for the redness and tingling to fade but it works.
Lasers are used to remove top skin layers, reduce redness or contour acne areas. Different types of lasers are employed and, depending on which is used, you may need more than one visit. Additionally, it may take a few days to heal completely.
This process is sometimes used for really deep acne scars that need to be filled up or when other treatments leave grooves on your skin. Doctors take normal skin to fill up the affected area and, over time, it blends and heals.
Some scars may not fare well under the normal treatments for acne scars. Instead, creams that contain retinoid acid could be applied directly to them to reduce their appearance (source).
For simpler home scar treatments, here are few:
These acids are gentle on the skin and may help to peel away the top skin to reveal newer and better skin over time. This way, they help treat acne, eliminate scarring and discoloration due to hype-pigmentation.
The acid is mild on the skin and gently sloughs away dirt and dead skin cells to prevent acne. Its anti-inflammatory properties help inhibit redness and swelling, which usually lead to scarring.
It is a gentle peel that treats acne as well as prevents scarring. But while it may lighten dark scars, there is a chance it may cause hyper-pigmentation. So it is important to test it first to be sure your skin is compatible with it.
You could also use some natural home treatments like shea butter, baking soda, coconut oil, raw honey, lemon juice and aloe vera (source).
It is important to note here that these treatments do not guarantee you will get your skin back like you had before acne. They can only do so much. But talk with your dermatologist about the best options for you.
Preventing Future Acne Breakouts
It is good to know how to treat acne and remove scars. But if you don’t employ preventive measures, you may find yourself back to fighting it again. Truth be told, acne is preventable sometimes.
Wear Less Makeup
Keep your skin as free as possible, especially if you are prone to acne. It need to breathe and a lot of makeup does not allow it do that.
If you can, go natural most of the time. But if you must wear makeup, go with water-based ones and keep far from oil-based ones. Choose those that are fragrance-free, light and non-comedogenic.
Choose moisturizers that have no oil and are non-comedogenic. Use them after washing your face to keep your skin hydrated. This will help keep your oil glands from producing excess oil to keep your skin hydrated.
There are different acne moisturizers available. If you would like to know the best way to choose right, read here.
Your Skin Type Matters
The truth is that oily skin is the most acne-prone one due to excess oil. but other skin types can be prone to acne, too. Combination dry and oily could get breakouts, as an example. So it is important to know your type of skin in order to use the right products.
Wash Face Properly
It is important that you don’t use any harsh cleanser or hot water on your face. The best way to wash your face is to use a gentle cleanser and warm water. Don’t scrub because that could aggravate the skin. Instead, go in slow circular motions until you wash your entire face. Then rinse your face completely.
To learn more about getting the right cleansers for acne, check out this article here.
Drink Lots of Water
Staying hydrated is important if you want to keep acne at bay. When you don’t drink enough water, your oil glands would try to keep up by producing more oil. This, in turn, would cause breakouts.
If you live in a place with high humidity or you work outdoors a lot, drinking water would go a long way. And if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or exercise a lot, water should be your friend.
Use Mild Treatments Intermittently
Whether there is a breakout or not, it may be profitable to use some over-the-counter creams and acne cleansers with salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and sulfur. It is necessary to follow the instructions as closely as possible.
Keep Finger Away from Face
Resist the temptation to regularly touch your face to see if there is zit. That could cause a breakout due to dirt and oil on your fingers (source).
Regular and good exercise is beneficial to your skin and general well-being. The more regularly you exercise, the lesser the chances of an acne breakout.
Reduce Sun Time
It is important you reduce the amount of time you spend under the sun. it can increase the chances of inflammation, especially if you are already using an acne treatment.
But if you can’t help it, use sunscreen with SPF value of not less than 30. Cover yourself properly and use a broad-brimmed hat to keep damage away from your skin.
Foods low in the glycemic index would be more beneficial than those which are high. Eat more fruits and vegetables rather than greasy foods and those high in dairy.
Stress can cause breakouts or aggravate already-existing ones. So to avoid this, make a deliberate effort to rest as much as possible (source).
It cannot be stressed enough that consulting a doctor is very important. As much as is up to you, keep from self-medicating and find out from a professional what steps you should take. That is guaranteed to give you the best results.