How to get rid of acne
Acne is a common skin condition that can affect people of all ages at different times in their lives. Acne is caused by a variety of factors including overproduction of oil in the oil glands of the skin, bacterial infections of these glands and hormonal influences. Properly diagnosing the underlying cause of the breakouts can help get rid of acne long term. Often, stubborn acne breakouts can result from a combination of these factors.
To get rid of acne caused by overproduction of oil in the skin, often seen in teenagers or people with combination or oily skin, topical drying medications such as benzoyl peroxide or and use of a proper facial cleanser, such as Dr. Bussell’s Antibacterial Face Wash, which contains the drying agent salycilic acid, can help achieve clear skin. For severe cases, stronger, prescription oral medications smay be considered by your doctor.
An antibacterial wash also will keep the skin’s surface clean so that bacteria is less likely to enter the skin’s oil glands and cause infected pimples. Sometimes a dermatologist may prescribe oral antibiotics for the treatment of acne.
Hormonal changes in men and women during adolescence, menstruation, pregnancy or other stages in life can also result in acne breakouts. To get rid of acne due to hormonal changes, it is necessary to visit a dermatologist to discuss oral medication options that could be appropriate.
To minimize the bacterial component, you can try the following:
- Change your pillow case frequently – turn your pillow case over after sleeping on one side.
- Wash your hair as frequently as possible, preferably every day but no less than every other day.
- Avoid using a washcloth more than once as germs can grow on washcloths and towels.
- Do not use loofahs or facial brushes as these are incubators for germs.
- Add liquid antibacterial soap to your shampoo to lessen scalp bacteria making their way to your face. Dr. Bussell’s Antibacterial Face Wash is frequently used for this.
- Keep telephones and smart phones clean by using appropriate disinfectant wipes
- Avoid touching your face
- Favor disposable, single-use options to apply makeup such as cotton discs or Q-tips
- Do not pick or squeeze as this can irritate skin, spread infection and cause scarring
- When possible, use non-comedogenic (i.e. do not clog pores) products on your skin. Think specifically about sunblock, makeup and moisturizers
Different forms of acne and their respective treatments:
Acne can be present as papules, pustules, comedones and nodules. Papules are small acne bumps, which are usually red. Pustules are papules filled with white material (these are commonly referred to as whiteheads). Comedones consist of both whiteheads and blackheads; the blackheads are dilated pores containing dark oily material (sebum). Nodules are larger bumps on the skin, usually filled with infection.
Acne treatment varies according to the size and depth of each acne lesion. Comedones, blackheads and whiteheads are frequently treated by incision and drainage of the lesion with the use of a tool known as a comedone extractor. The cores of the pustule and blackhead are removed with this instrument. Papules are usually treated with an oral or topical antibiotic, as well as a drying agent. Nodules may require stronger oral medication and sometimes even cortisone injections, as well as oral and topical antibiotics.
Treatments for these lesions should only be done in a sterile environment in a doctor’s office or under the direction of a dermatological practitioner. Nicking and poking the skin at home can introduce more infection into the area and increase the chance of scarring.———————————
Treatment of acne on the back and chest
Acne on the back and chest is very common in men and women. Usually these breakouts are very large and often painful. Appropriate antibiotic therapy is very helpful in clearing this condition. I have found that it is important to do a bacterial culture of a specimen from within these breakouts, as I do with facial breakouts. The culture identifies the type of bacteria present and also tells me which are the most effective antibiotics for it. This step is important because bacteria can be sensitive to some antibiotics and resistant to others. This procedure avoids unnecessary long-term use of ineffective antibiotics, which can be harmful.
Until you are able to come to the office for a culture, here are some suggestions:
– Keep the area as clean and dry as possible.
– Avoid application of greasy lotions or oils to the area.
The effects of hormone changes on acne breakouts
Premenstrual breakouts are very common in women. Stress that affects both men and women also change the body’s hormonal balance and can cause acne breakouts. 30 year-old hormonal changes in women, as well as 50 year-old menopausal hormone changes, can also affect the oil glands and increase acne breakouts. In male teenagers, there can be an increase in testosterone during growth periods, and testosterone stimulates the oil glands. Any hormonal stimulation of the oil glands results in more oil and, combined with bacteria, produces acne breakouts.
Routine treatments for acne breakouts include an antibacterial soap like the Bussell Skin Care Antibacterial Soap, topical or oral antibiotics, and topical drying agents such as the Bussell Skin Care normal to dry and oily skin cleansers, as well as in-office acid peels, incision and drainage of breakouts, and injections into the breakouts with anti-inflammatory medication. In addition to these routine treatments, we also may recommend various oral medications to regulate hormone production. It should be remembered that acne breakouts can be caused by multiple factors and therefore respond to varied treatments. In my office, we individualize the treatment to the patient.
Men: acne in the facial shaving zone
Often this problem is due to bacteria that grow on the razor blade between uses. Shaving causes micro-abrasion on the skin surface which allows for the penetration of bacteria and causes razor bumps/acne. A disposable razor should only be used once if you are prone to break outs in the shaving area. An alternative is to use an electric razor that you take apart and then brush its blades (get a new toothbrush specifically for this) with rubbing alcohol after each use.
Most adults will experience breakouts at some point; this is referred to as adult acne. Adult acne in adult women and men is often the results of hormonal or environmental factors. Stress, lack of sleep and certain medications can all have an impact on adult acne. While the causes of adult acne differ slightly from those of teenage acne, often the treatment options are similar: topical or oral medication, in-office procedures such as chemical peels and lifestyle changes (suggested in home remedies, above) can all help keep adult acne under control.
Unfortunately, sometimes long after acne has gone away, people can be left with acne scars. Depending on the type and severity of the acne and the patient’s skin type, these can vary from red to dark spots, or deep craters, as is commonly seen in individuals with cystic acne. Acne scars may fade in time but there are treatment options available to remove or reduce acne scars. Dark spots, for example, usually respond well to topical treatments such as our Sal-Hydro Fade Formula™ while craters can show improvement through in-office procedures such as peels or micro-needling. Call us at (310) 550-7661 to schedule your consultation and learn more about acne scar removal options specific to you.