Acne Vulgaris is the plague of many a teenager, but it can linger into adulthood, or re-appear later in life, when it is known as Acne Tarda.
For some, acne may affect large areas of the face, or even the whole face, shoulders and back, while others experience just a few spots, blackheads and pimples on the forehead, chin, upper lip and around the lower nose.
Spots are unsightly, do little to boost our confidence, and are often the cause of psychological issues, especially during adolescence.
What Causes Acne?
Our follicular glands are particularly sensitive to certain male hormones (androgenes). The glands widen and produce an excess of sebum, creating a blockage. A sebum mass forms where bacteria thrive, which causes an inflamation, or spot.
Apart from hormonal changes that take place during puberty, stress is another cause of acne. The suprarenal gland produces not only adrenalin in stress situations, but some of the very androgenes that aggravate the follicular glands.
Have you noticed that spots tend to be less during the holidays for many teenagers?
What Can You Do?
Most importantly, the skin should be kept clean. Use a gentle wash emulsion and water. Never use any kind of soap, since this will only exacerbate the acne. I don’t recommend cleanser in bar form, even if it doesn’t contain soap; fluid in a bottle is your most hygenic option.
Using a cotton pad, dab the infected area with Tea Tree Oil or a Benzoyl Peroxide preparation after cleansing. These products kill bacteria and prevent the acne spreading.
Try a clay mask a couple of times a week, they really are a tremendous help, and take a look at some traditional home acne remedies.
This could be all you need to do, depending on the severity of your problem. Otherwise, you’ll have to seek out a dermatologist.
What Can a Dermatologist Do?
Dermatologists are able to treat acne with azelaic acid or tretinoin. The latter is the acid form of vitamin A, and by far the most effective. Working as a peel, it is also put to use as an anti-wrinkle treatment.
The so-called Progesterone Only Pill, or Mini Pill, can be prescribed to help against oily skin. It contains synthetic progesterone and, unlike the traditional contraceptive pill, no estrogen. This isn’t for you if you smoke or are prone to thrombosis; and obviously not if you are male.
These treatments should only be carried out under the guidance of a medical practitioner, even if certain products are available without prescription in your country.
Not so long ago, the medical profession tended not to take acne seriously. Things have improved, but there are still a few individuals who won’t waste their time on less severe acne cases. It is true that acne is something most of us ‘grow out of’, but nowadays it can be drastically alleviated or completely got rid of before that happens. Why live with spots when you could be living without them?
Go to a Physician or Dermatologist who considers acne a serious issue, and is interested in helping you; if the one you’re presently with won’t, don’t be afraid of finding another who will. I’ve often found female specialists to be more understanding in this area.
How to Look Your Best in Spite of Acne
Because acne treatments dry out the skin, use an oil-free moisturizer on thoroughly cleansed skin. For reasons of hygiene, one in a tube is best. If yours is in a jar, use a spatular rather than dipping your finger in.
Reddened areas can be neutralised with a green concealer, followed by oil-free foundation or powder. Spots and blackheads can be covered with an anti-bacterial concealer in your exact skin tone. Powder is also good to take off shine.
Hygiene is of the essence as far as acne goes, so brushes, sponges and applicators must be cleaned daily, or disposable ones used.
What You Shouldn’t Do
As bothersome as acne might be, never pick at spots or try to remove blackheads yourself. You’ll damage your skin and spread bacteria, making matters ten times worse in the long run. It’s not expensive to visit a cosmetician, who can rid you of blemishes using special techniques.