I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first? Ok…let’s start with the bad. The bad news is that unfortunately we will always be prone to acne…blah! But…the good news is that even though it’s not curable… it’s definitely treatable and controllable. (yay!!)
There are many options to treat our adult acne but there are no quick fixes.
You may think that if you have acne that you can rub a little cream just on those areas and that will take care of the problem…Not so! Spot treatment does not work. I am speaking from experience. Trust me on this. It might work temporarily but if you want a long term solution you need to treat your entire face to stop what’s happening deep inside of those pores. It would be like only brushing the teeth that have cavities instead of your whole mouth…how silly is that?
The basic three steps in effective treatment are:
-Unclogging the pores
-in order to prevent dead cells from clogging the pores and creating a plug, you have to prevent them from sticking together.
-you need ingredients that will go down deep into those pores. Salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acids, retinoids and sulfur are all effective in keeping those pores clear.
-Killing the bacteria
For long term treatment, the most popular antibacterial agent is benzoyl peroxide. Studies show that this is actually more effective than antibiotics like tetracycline and minocycline which are prescribed by a physician. They are more for short term use.
Most dermatologists recommend using the 2.5% concentration of benzoyl peroxide because it is just as effective as killing the P. acnes bacteria, the bacteria that causes acne, as a higher concentration like 10% and with less irritation.
-Calm the inflammation
Ok, so now that we are unclogging our pores and killing bacteria we need to treat the swelling and inflammation. That redness we get with our pimples is not sexy! To alleviate some of this we can turn to ingredients like sulfur.
Did you know that dabbing egg white on the face and leaving it on for 20 minutes can alleviate swelling?..Yep, it does. Just make sure you are not allergic to eggs because that would not be pretty. You can also a dab a little toothpaste on the area and let it dry overnight.
Got a hot date and need to reduce swelling quick?
Apply ice for 10 to 15 minutes to reduce swelling then cleanse and apply a product containing sulfur which will help to further reduce swelling.
You can even take an ibuprofen tablet like Motrin (read label for dosage instructions) to bring the swelling down as well. Just make sure you eat something with this so you don’t get an upset stomach.
For women, cover the area with a medicated concealer before applying your make-up.
Stick To It
Whichever skin care regimen you are using or decide to use…be diligent and consistent! If you are trying a new regimen be patient. Don’t expect your face to miraculously be completely clear overnight.
Because everyone’s skin is different, it may take some longer than others to see results.
It may take six to eight weeks to really see some good results. You may even see a temporary increase in new blemishes as your skin’s cell turnover rate increases. This is all ok…don’t freak out!
For most effective acne regimens out there you should see positive results after at least 8 weeks. If not you should see your doctor for more aggressive therapy.
Tasha Nelson is a registered nurse and licensed esthetician who has suffered with acne since the age of 12. She wants other acne sufferers to understand that even though acne is not curable that it is definitely controllable with the right regimen and lifestyle changes. Clear and radiant skin does not have to be a dream, it can be your reality!