We understand the importance of a healthy, clear complexion to you, especially during the adolescent years when your appearance can feel critical to your social well-being. The hormonal influences of puberty cause skin changes that predispose us to the development of acne. Some people are more affected than others, but, in general there are several measures that can be taken to prevent and treat acne.
Acne results from the pores in our skin getting clogged with dead skin and oils. The area gets inflamed and can also get infected with bacteria. There are some easy things you can do on your own to keep this from happening or worsening:
- Keeping your face clean is a simple step and yet it is often missed! It can actually keep mild acne under control. You want to wash it once to twice daily with warm water and a non-soap facial cleanser.
- Do not scrub the skin or pick/squeeze pimples as this can make acne worse and damage your skin. It can worsen infections as well.
- Girls should buy make-up that is “non-comedogenic” which means it does not promote the development of acne. (Oil based products are comedogenic.)
- Look for associations with your diet and flare ups. Studies are ongoing, but some have shown that large amounts of milk ingestion might be linked to increased acne. Studies regarding the benefit of diets rich in zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and anti-oxidants are underway and look promising. Healthy diets with appropriate RDA’s of all vitamins and minerals are always important!
Medications are available, both over the counter (OTC) and prescription strength. For mild acne, it is reasonable to try the OTC products first. The main types include salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, alpha hydroxyl acids, and tea tree oil. It is important to try it consistently for 1-2 months before deciding whether it is working well. Over the first month, it can actually worsen before it gets better, as the skin clears itself out. Using an oil free moisturizer during this time for peeling skin is acceptable. If it seems the medicine is too strong, it is reasonable to apply it every other day at first, until it is better tolerated. Using combinations of these products may increase the effectiveness.
If the OTC medications are not taking care of your skin, we will be happy to see you to discuss your prescription options. You do not need to go directly to a dermatologist. There are several topical treatments available as well as medicines that can be taken by mouth. Different types and locations of acne require different treatment regimens. So if your acne is more than just a mild case or if it is located extensively on the chest or back in addition to the face, it is advised to schedule an appointment with your Carithers provider. We care very much about you and realize this issue is important to you and is therefore important to us!