Treating acne takes time. There are no quick cures. Most acne treatments take 4 to 6 weeks to take full effect, so don’t give up on acne products too soon. Being consistent with treatment is super important!
Step one: Wash
Wash your face and any other area of the body that has acne twice daily with one of the following cleansers. Always rinse well with clear water. Your face shouldn’t feel dry and tight after cleansing. Overly harsh cleansers and hard scrubbing can make skin conditions worse. Be sure to follow product directions. Here are some good cleansers to try:
- Neutrogena oil-free acne wash (Salicylic acid wash-helps unplug pores and eliminate blackheads and whiteheads)
- Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser (gentle salicylic acid wash-unplugs pores for sensitive skin)
- Clean and Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser (benzoyl peroxide wash- A great wash for face chest and back for those who don’t like to apply creams and need a one-step approach to get rid of pimples)
- Dermacontrol Cetaphil Oil-control wash (A good, gentle all-purpose acne cleanser)
Step 2: Apply Acne Treatment
There are two basic types of effective over the counter medications to treat acne: Retinoids, like adapalene (related to Vitamin A) and benzoyl peroxide. To avoid side effects, don’t apply over the counter retinoids at the same time of day as benzoyl peroxide. (If you’re using both, apply benzoyl peroxide in the morning and adapalene at night.)
Even though acne treatments are often called “spot treatments” you use a pea-sized amount applied to your whole face, not just to the acne spots. Spot treatment does not work! You’ll continue to get new bumps even if a few heal. Acne treatments are designed to prevent new bumps and clear up your face. They need to be applied to the entire acne-prone area of your face and body.
How and why to use retinoids:
Retinoids: (Differin, Adapalene) are one of the most effective acne medications when used properly, but they take time to work. They help heal blackheads and whiteheads (comedones) and prevent new ones from forming. They also help prevent and treat acne scars. Unfortunately, because retinoids improve acne by bringing comedones to the surface so they can slough off, your skin may actually look a little worse the first week or two before it gets better. It often takes 4 to 6 weeks to significantly prevent new acne bumps from forming, but it is so worthwhile once your skin gets clear!
Retinoids can be irritating to the skin. Start using it every other day until your skin adjusts to it. This will help prevent redness or irritation. (Usually the first week or two.) Don’t use retinoids during the day. They make you sensitive to sunlight. Always use sunscreen.
- At night, after washing and patting your face dry with a towel, apply a pea-sized amount to your entire face. (Do not just apply it to acne lesions.)
- Apply a moisturizer afterward. Don’t worry, applying moisturizer will not give you zits!
How and why to use benzoyl peroxide:
Benzoyl peroxide is a great all-around acne treatment. It helps prevent and treat red pimples and helps treat whiteheads and blackheads. These are some effective ones I recommend: 2.5% benzoyl peroxide cream by Neutrogena, and Effaclar acne treatment
- After washing and drying your face, apply a pea-sized amount to the entire face (not just to acne lesions) once or twice daily.
- Avoid sun exposure and use sunscreen.
- Wash hands well after using benzoyl peroxide creams. They will bleach fabrics.
- If skin becomes very red or dry you may be sensitive to the product. Tell your doctor.
- If there is a white film on your skin, you have used too much product.
- Apply oil-free moisturizer, like Cetaphil Dermacontrol Oil Control moisturizer SPF 30 after your acne treatment.
Do not pick, squeeze, or touch acne lesions!! The average pimple will heal in about 3 days if left alone. Lesions that have been manipulated can take weeks to months to heal, often with scarring.
What to do if you have a big zit: If a pimple becomes red and inflamed, use a warm compress 5 to 10 minutes to help bring the pus out without squeezing. When the pimple is ready to heal, you can use a washcloth to gently wipe the pus away. If the zit doesn’t pop with gentle cleaning it’s not ready to heal. It’s hard to be patient and leave zits alone, but your skin will look much better if you do. Every time you touch your face you bring acne-causing bacteria to your skin. Squeezing a pimple pushes infection and inflammation deeper into your skin.
Always wash your skin with a cleanser as soon as possible after working out or sweating. Sweat will clog pores and make acne worse if not washed away quickly. Wear tank tops rather than t-shirts to exercise if you’re prone to back acne. Tight or sweaty clothing can make acne worse.
Wash your hair daily and keep it off your face. Hairstyling products can make acne worse by clogging your pores. If your acne is worse at the hairline stop applying hair styling products and check for dandruff. If you have dandruff (white flakes in the scalp) use a dandruff shampoo like Head and Shoulders most days.
If your skin does not look a lot better in 4 to 6 weeks, see your doctor. If you have large hard inflamed cysts or scarring, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
While there aren’t specific foods that cause acne, there are foods that make it worse as well as foods that make it better. The Anti-Acne Diet may help you.
Check this out for further information: www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/acne-treatment-mistakes
The above information is intended for people 13 years old and up with np ongoing health problems.