Acne is one of the most common skin diseases. In the United States, it is estimated that nearly 50 million people suffer from some form of it. Although it usually begins during adolescence, this is not a disease that is reserved for teenagers; there are many adults that also suffer from acne. The potential causes are not related to poor hygiene or poor diet, but rather to genetics, an increased level of androgen, certain oil containing cosmetics and even some medications.
Acne occurs when an excessive amount of oil clogs a pore leading to lesion causing bacteria growth. The lesions or pimples can occur on the face, neck, chest, shoulders, and upper arms. There are several over the counter and prescription medications used to treat acne. These treatments are designed to address the causes of acne, not to only treat the symptoms.
What treatments are available?
One of the most common treatments is the use of over the counter products (OTCs) containing salicylic acid, which aids in the removal of dead skin and unclogs pores to help heal the lesions. Other products can also contain alpha hydroxyl acids that exfoliate the skin to prevent skin cell build up, or contain anti-bacterial properties to help reduce or prevent pimples from forming.
Depending on the severity of the disease, a doctor may recommend you use a stronger prescription medication or a combination of OTC products and prescription treatments.
Once treatment gets started, your acne may appear to get worse. Some common side effects include dryness, skin irritation, redness and sun sensitivity. It is very important that you continue treatment for several weeks in order to see results.
What can you do to improve treatment results?
There are several things you can do to help improve results. You should wash your face twice a day with a mild, oil-free, hypoallergenic soap such as Purpose or Aveeno. Use only non-comedogenic cosmetics and avoid over exposure to sunlight. Do not ever pop, squeeze or pick at the pimples, this will only make them worse! And last but not least, keep your hair away from your face. The oil in your hair can clog pores and make your acne worse.
With patience and perseverance, you can say good bye to acne and eliminate the stress and embarrassment cause by it. Several websites such as WebMD.com can provide you with more information and helpful tips to improve your condition. If you acne does not resolve with over the counter products, make sure to see your doctor for further treatment options.