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Which Acne Treatments Can Make Your Blemishes Vanish?

Aug 28, 2007
Acne occurs when the skin's pores are blocked and can appear as blackheads, whiteheads, pimples or deep lumps such as nodules or cysts. It can occur on the face, chest, neck, back, upper arms or shoulders. People with more oily faces are more prone to this condition. Acne can be caused by poor hygiene or bad sanitation, through a bad diet or it can be hormone-related. There are a few different acne terms:

Lesions - acne is a type of external lesion. The lesion can be in the form of whiteheads, blackheads (called comedones) or cysts and nodules. A comedone is a sebaceous follicle which is blocked with dead cells, bacteria or tiny hairs. Many people pick or squeeze these lesions but this is a bad idea and can result in infection or scarring. Only a dermatologist should deal with such lesions and it should take place in sterile conditions.

Papule - this is a solid, small lesion which appears above the surface of the skin. Papules are caused by localized cellular reaction to the acne.

Pustule - pustules are fragile lesions. They contain pus and are usually dome-shaped. The pus is a combination of bacteria, white blood cells and dead skin cells. Some pustules have hair in the center. If a pustule is able to heal before becoming a cyst, no scarring will occur. If not, scarring is a risk.

Macule - this is a flat, red or reddish pink spot which is left by a healed acne lesion. These spots might be visible for days or even weeks before finally disappearing altogether.

Nodule - this is an irregularly shaped or dome-shaped lesion. It causes scarring by destroying tissue when it enters deeper levels of the skin. Nodules can be extremely painful and can appear in severe acne cases.

Cyst - a cyst is bigger than a pustule and is a sac-like lesion containing liquid or semi-liquid composed of bacteria, dead skin cells and white blood cells. A cyst extends into deeper levels of the skin like a nodule. They can cause scarring and be painful. Sometimes nodules and cysts appear together, which is again a severe form of acne.

Acne can affect people of all cultures and ages. It can affect teenagers or adults of either gender. Acne can appear as early as ten years old and can appear in people aged forty and over also. It might plague someone through most of their young life or it might be a one off episode.

Different types of acne require different types of treatment and care. It is common for acne to disappear in the early twenties and many adolescent sufferers can use over the counter products to treat their condition.

In some cases however, these products do not work and a physician or dermatologist must be consulted. About half of acne sufferers are male and the other half are female but there are differences between these types of acne. For example, a male might have more severe acne and have it for a longer period of time. A woman will be more likely to have acne sporadically and this might be linked to cosmetics or her menstrual cycle.

There are many different ways to treat acne. There are over the counter products widely available in pharmacies or online. Acne products might contain Salicyclic acid, Benzoyl peroxide, Resorcinol or sulfur.

There are also prescription medicines which might work and these include creams, gels, antibiotics (such as tetracycline), oral contraceptives, retinoid medications, topical applications, ointments and Benzoyl peroxide (a stronger formulation than what is available over the counter).

For a patient whose acne does not respond well to oral or topical medications, a dermatologist might use a different therapy to minimize the acne and the possible scarring from it.

These other treatments include chemical peels and laser treatments. These work on some forms of severe acne. A glycolic peel is one example. This peel is performed once or twice a month and exfoliates the dead layers of the skin.

Another option is a Salycyclic acid peel. This kind of acid penetrates pores which are blocked up with oil. When used as a peel, this procedure can be done every two or four weeks. Another choice is laser treatment. A laser treatment vaporizes thin skin layers and tightens the collagen fibers in the skin.

If you have both acne and sensitive skin, natural remedies might be the best option. Garlic is reputed to be very beneficial for acne sufferers. You can either eat a few cloves of garlic each day or take odorless capsules. Garlic can destroy bacteria responsible for acne which breeds in the skin's pores. It also increases immunity, including skin immunity. Kombucha tea has antibiotic properties and has been proved effective in treating some types of acne. This is available online or from health food stores.

Adjusting your diet can be a good way to fight acne. Raw foods like Swiss chard, cashews, beets and almonds contain lots of oxalic acid. Foods high in fiber are important as they enable the body to flush out toxins.

You should drink at least eight glasses of water per day to prevent acne or treat existing acne. It is also a good idea to consume antioxidants, which are found naturally in whole foods, to reduce redness, fight inflammation and rid the body of harmful free radicals which are detrimental to the skin.

In the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia, the newest acne treatment is a wide band UVA light. This is like an ultraviolet therapy. Many major clinics and hospitals in these countries are using this procedure with successful results.

It is possible to prevent or heal acne outbreaks. A good regimen of daily skin care is vital. You have to cleanse, tone and moisturize your skin in the morning and before going to bed.

Women need to make sure they remove every last trace of make up before going to bed. Your pillow case should be clean and replaced often because germs and bacteria can breed on them. Many fabrics can absorb skin oils and be a potential breeding ground.

Vitamin E, A and B5 supplements are also worth a try if you are trying to clear up your acne. If in doubt or if your acne seems to worsen, it is a good idea to pay a visit to your doctor or dermatologist for further help and advice.
About the Author
Ken Black is a writer and owner of Skin Care Reviews. Visit us for a list of the most effective Acne Treatments.
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