Unlike your favorite jeans or that band you listened to in high school, acne is something that you may not be able to outgrow in your adult life. For those lucky few, acne can go away, but it can also get worse or spots can creep up on you even if you had clear skin in high school. We are seeing more adults – in their 20s, 30s and beyond – still complaining about pustules, papules and painful cysts.
Prescription treatments range from topical to oral medications, depending on the extent of your acne condition. Acne sufferers often avoid professional help to deal with flareups, and spend hundreds of dollars trying one system after another, before ever seeking the advice of a skincare professional. When your breakouts are out of control, instead of embarking on the process of trial and error or wasting your money on treatments that may not make a difference, your best option is to get a referral from your doctor for a good dermatologist. If you don’t have a go-to dermatologist, visit www.aad.org.
The challenge, of course, is to find that ideal regimen that works without the side effects of redness, dryness, peeling, and sensitivity to the sun that would stop you from continuing the treatment. As most dermatologists will tell you, acne is a chronic skin condition and the key to controlling it long-term is to keep using your medication even when you don’t see blemishes. Many people will stop using their anti-acne regimen only to have their acne flare up several weeks later. There is always a blemish lurking though, so I advocate preventative acne control. If you are using multiple products that are harsh or abrasive, you might discontinue one at a time and judge results before discontinuing them all at once.
Keep using a product that contains salicylic acid to help minimize oil the major cause of blemishes. “Sal acid” as skincare pros call it, prevents pores from clogging by slowing down the shedding process of cells inside the hair follicles. It may also get rid of whiteheads and blackheads. Two more products to use when you experience a flurry of acne are benzoyl peroxide and sulfur. Probably the most universally effective active ingredient for acne, benzoyl peroxide works to remove excess oil and dead skin cells that clog pores. You can find it in strengths from 2.5 to 10 percent, so choose one appropriate for your level of acne. Sulfur, used with other actives like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, works to remove dead skin cells that clog pores and remove excess oil.
When beginning an acne treatment program, start out with a lower strength concentration and gradually increase the strength. Benzoyl peroxide is the most commonly used ingredient and well tolerated by most people. You can experiment to see what works including trying out one treatment in the evening and another during the day.
To supplement your acne control skincare regimen, another good course of action is a monthly peel or microdermabrasion for good exfoliation and to keep pores open and clear. The added incentive is that by sloughing off the dead cells that build up on your skin and threaten to clog follicles, your anti-acne products will also work faster and better. Remember, the goal is to get clear skin and to maintain it, which is possible if you use the right products and stick with your regimen.
Today’s guest post blogger is Wendy Lewis. Since 1997, Wendy Lewis, President of Wendy Lewis & Co Ltd, Global Aesthetics Consultancy, has been renowned as an international insider to the world of anti-aging, skincare, beauty and cosmetic surgery. As the Knife Coach®, she sees private clients in New York, Palm Beach and London as a trusted independent cosmetic surgery and skin care expert with a client list of women and men from all over the world who seek her impartial advice on when and where to get lifted, injected, and lasered. In 2008 she founded Beautyinthebag.com. Wendy is also the author of 11 must-have books for beauty junkies with a passion for keeping up with the trends, including Plastic Makes Perfect: The Complete Cosmetic Beauty Guide (Orion), and America’s Cosmetic Doctors and Dentists (Castle Connolly Medical).
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