Troubled by blackheads, blemishes and whiteheads? Acne is a common skin problem affecting men and women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. It often starts in puberty and lasts several years, at times right into adulthood. Ready to wage war on acne!
The face…and beyond!
Most people believe acne only affects the face. This is a myth, since you can get acne on your neck, chest, back, arms and shoulders. Acne also involves various types of lesions, such as :
- Blackheads (comedones);
- Whiteheads (pustules);
- Cysts (deeper lesions) that are red and sore to the touch.
Causes of acne
Acne is generally caused by hyperactive sebaceous glands. These glands produce an oily secretion called sebum. When it accumulates, sebum can clog pores, creating the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and leading to the appearance of pimples.
Among teens, hormones often play a role in the development of acne. The same is true for some adult women, who can be more likely to have acne flare ups during their periods. Heredity and the taking of certain medications are other recognized factors.
Preventing and treating acne
It is important to treat acne, since it can lead to physical pain, significant psycho-social discomfort, lower self-esteem and difficulty functioning in society. Left untreated, it can also cause unsightly scars.
A few tips :
- Never, ever skip the makeup removal step!
- Wash skin well , morning and night, without excessive rubbing. Dry gently.
- Finish your skin care routine with toner to eliminate all traces of makeup and cleanser.
- Use non-comedogenic cosmetics (products that won’t clog pores).
- Avoid touching your face with your hands.
- Do not pick at or pop pimples as this can cause permanent lesions or scars.
If you have mild acne, certain over-the-counter products with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can help.
Here’s great news! There are now topical blemish-fighting products formulated with salicylic acid, and sometimes LHA, which both treat pimples deep down and form an invisible bandage-like, protective film over them to halt the proliferation of bacteria. The combination of these two actions helps eliminate nasty blemishes fast.
For moderate to severe acne, talk to a doctor or dermatologist. He can prescribe special cleansing products, creams to dry out the acne or, in some cases, oral antibiotics.
For women whose acne is caused by a hormonal imbalance, taking certain brands of oral contraceptives can help reduce the development of pimples. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about this option.
Do you have questions about acne and its treatment? Talk to your family pharmacist or dermo-cosmetic consultant. They are there to help!