For those who have acne, it is a serious problem. During adolescence and puberty, it can be a major blow to a person’s self esteem and confidence when they are worried about the appearance of their face. Often acne will not go away after puberty, and many adults will suffer from this condition, too. It is not uncommon to hear about people having emotional problems and social struggles later in life from being mercilessly teased and from trying to cover up their acne. On top of that, there are often actual physical scars that remain as a permanent reminder of this problem, even if the acne clears up. Preventing and treating acne is very important and should be a priority for anyone that experiences this challenging problem.
Main Causes of Acne
While many people may think that acne is caused by not properly washing the face, it is frequently caused by a combination of hormones, stress, genetics and diet, combined with bacteria on and beneath the skin. When the pores collapse and trap the oils and bacteria, pimples will develop. Not everyone experiences the difficulties associated with these serious breakouts. There are many types of pimples, and not all are considered to be acne related. There are as many treatments for acne as there are causes, and not everyone will benefit from the same treatments.
Top 5 Over the Counter Treatments for Acne
Fortunately, there are many over the counter products available on the market to help treat acne breakouts. Here are the top 5 things you can try to minimize or prevent acne breakouts:
- Benzoyl peroxide: This ingredient is found in many acne products and is known to help fight the bacteria that causes breakouts. When using benzoyl peroxide, be sure to use a good moisturizer, as it can dry out the skin and leave it vulnerable to new breakouts.
- Tea tree oil: This herbal product is an extract that has been found to be a natural way to treat acne breakouts. This oil is an extract from the Australian tea tree and has both antifungal and antibiotic properties that will help to kill the bacteria lurking in the pores and kill the pimples. It can be applied directly to the affected area. Tea tree oil is also useful for treating insect bites, stings and burns, as well as athlete’s foot and dandruff, so it makes for a useful addition to any medicine cabinet.
- Proactiv: This is an innovative over the counter product that mimics many of the prescription strength medicines that are available for treating acne. Many people have found relief from their acne with this new product.
- Alpha hydroxyl acid: This ingredient is found in several acne products and helps to treat acne by reducing inflammation and removing the dead cells on the skin that may be clogging pores. Using this product can help to open pores and release the trapped bacteria and sebum. Alpha hydroxy acid is also though to help minimize and prevent scarring because it will stimulate the growth of new, healthy skin.
- Salycylic acid: Salycylic acid helps to slow the shedding process of cells within hair follicles, keeping pores clear. This ingredient also helps to prevent whiteheads, which are closed pores, and blackheads, which are clogged pores.
When to Consult a Dermatologist
If none of the over the counter products seem to help combat your acne breakouts, or perhaps even make them worse, then it is time to consult a professional. A dermatologist can evaluate your acne and help to fine tune the treatment using a combination of strong prescription medications and office treatments like laser treatment or dermabrasion.
Acne is not life threatening, but it is a serious condition. Preventing and treating acne properly can help you to avoid major scarring later.