Acne can be defined as when hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and oil from skin. Acne is characterized by areas of blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and greasy skin. The resulting appearance can lead to depression, low self-esteem in teenage girls.
Acne primarily affects skin with a greater number of oil glands, including the face, upper, part of the chest and back. In teenagers during puberty acne is often brought on by an increase in androgens such as testosterone. Many treatment options are available to improve the appearance of acne, including lifestyle changes, procedures, and medications, eating fewer simple carbohydrates may help too. Topical azelaic acid, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acids are commonly used treatments. Birth control pills are also useful in preventing acne in some women.
Causes of Acne
- Genetics; for some individuals their acne is linked to a genetic component.
- Hormonal; hormonal activity such as menstrual cycles and puberty can contribute the formation of acne.
- Diet; reduce the amount of sugar intake, vitamin B12 can also trigger skin outbreaks similar to acne.
- Psychological; sometimes increased acne severity can be associated with high stress levels.
- Anabolic steroids; this are tablets which some body builders take, it can worsen acne.
- Picking and squeezing spots may cause further inflammation and scarring.
- Spots may also develop under tight clothes which are due to increased sweating and friction.
Skincare for people with acne
- Do not wash more than normal, twice a day is normal for most people. Use a facial cleanser containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, tone (optional) and moisturize with an oil free face cream. You can also use a mild soap and lukewarm water (very hot or cold water will worsen acne). Do not scrub hard when washing acne affected skin.
- Exfoliate twice a week or steam your face by pouring very hot water into a bucket, place a cloth over your head, bend down towards the bucket and allow the steam of the hot water open your pores. After that moisturize withfragrance free water based moisturizing cream.
- Some acne treatments make the skin dry; when this occurs use fragrance free water based moisturizing cream. Do not use ointments or oil rich creams as they will clog the holes of the skin (pores).
You may prefer not to treat mild acne which is not inflamed, that is if it is just blackheads or whiteheads or mild pimples. Mild acne is common and goes in time without scarring.
Topical treatment for acne
- Benzoyl peroxide; is a common topical treatment. It has three actions; it kills germs, reduces inflammation and helps unplug blocked pores.
- Retinoid; they are good at unplugging blocked pores. They also have some effect on reducing inflammation. You need prescription for all retinoid preparations.
- Some antibiotic tablets treat acne e.g tetracycline taken in an empty stomach with a glass of water.
Home remedies for treating pimples.
Lemon juice; lemon juice can effectively treat pimples within few days. It contains high vitamins c content which is good for all skin types, its acidic properties helps exfoliate the skin. Plus, it is an astringent that will help dry out pimples quickly. Mix a cotton ball in two table teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and apply it on the pimples, leave it for 20 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. Do this two to three times daily for few days. You can also mix the lemon juice with either rosewater or groundnut oil, for a faster results use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Toothpaste; yes toothpaste that you use to clean your teeth can also be used to treat pimples. Toothpaste help dry out pimples quickly due to ingredients like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol and menthol. However, you must only use white toothpaste. Do not use whitening, gel or colored toothpaste. Apply a little toothpaste, leave it for two hours or overnight, wash it off with a damp washcloth and then apply a soothing moisturizer.
Garlic; garlic can also be used to treat pimples because of its antibacterial properties an sulfur content. It is also full of antibiotic, antifungal, antiseptic and other healing properties. Cut the garlic into two and rub the pieces on your pimples, leave it for 5 to 10 minutes then wash your face. Repeat the process several times a day for a few days.
You can also eat one or two raw garlic cloves on an empty stomach to purify your blood which will help reduce your pimples.
Steam; steaming can help alleviate minor skin problems including pimples. Steaming help open up clogged pore, allowing the skin to breathe. Bacteria, dirt and oil trapped within the skin also will be flushed out. Pour hot water into a large bowl, allow the temperature to cool slightly so that it doesn’t burn your face, put your face above the bowl and cover your head to trap the steam. After 10 to 15 minutes remove the towel and pat your face dry. Then apply an oil free moisturizer. Repeat this process two times a day for five days to reduce pimples and make your skin glow.
Ice pack; ice pack treats pimples by improving blood circulation in the affected skin area. It also helps freeze clogged skin pores which in turn removes oil and dirt particles accumulated in the skin. Ice will also reduce the inflammation and pain caused by pimples. Wrap ice cubes or crushed ice in a clean cloth and gently press it for a few seconds. Repeat the process three or four times daily. Never apply ice directly on your skin as it can cause ice burn.
Turmeric; turmeric has antiseptic properties that kill bacteria that cause pimples and prevent pimples from forming. It is also a good antioxidant which helps treat pimples. Mix one tablespoon of turmeric powder with a few drops of water to make a thick paste. Apply on the affected skin and leave it for a few minutes, rinse off with cold water. You can also add one teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of warm milk and drink it regularly before going to bed to prevent pimples.