TREATMENTS:


As tempting as it can be to squeeze whiteheads and blackheads, DONíT!  It can do more harm than good.  Squeezing whiteheads and blackheads can cause harm to the skin.

Donít touch blackheads.  Donít attempt to squeeze, prod, puncture, or touch your them.  The only thing this does is inflame them, and possibly pushes contents of the blackhead deeper into the tissue.  This can result in tissue injury.  The best thing to do is leave a blackhead alone.  An untouched blackhead is an uninflamed blackhead.

Squeezing whiteheads is potentially MORE harmful that squeezing blackheads.  This whitehead comedones are more likely to become inflamed lesions if touched.  Any attempt to touch or squeeze these regions will result in further inflammation.

Here are some basic rules for treating Acne:

  1. Donít pop it.  Donít pick it.  Donít squeeze it (unless you're obsessed).  As said before, this only leads to furthering the inflammatory process of comedones, pustules, and papules.
  2. Use "noncomedogenic" cosmetics and toiletries.  Noncomedogenic means that the product does not promote acne.
  3. Wash your face upon awakening, after school or work and again at bedtime times with a mild soap.  Washing too much causes dryness.  Hard scrubbing irritates the skin which breaks the protective skin barrier which allows for more bacteria to enter the pores creating more acne problems.
  4. Some acne products can increase skinís sun sensitivity.  Where sunscreen and protective clothing when using medications.  As is always the case, sunscreen is promoted by dermatologists for any season or reason.
  5. Your diet.  Dermatologists argue over the dietís importance.  However, if there is a food you know of that tends to cause acne, err on the conservative side and skip as many 'acne trigger' foods as possible.
  6. Although a good tan will temporarily hide your acne, it is not beneficial for your skin in the long run.  Extreme sunlight damages the skin and increases the aging process as well as tightening pores, which causes clogging.
  7. Exercise.  Exercise is good for your overall health. It will increase your blood circulation and bring more oxygen to your major organs including the skin. The benefits you get from exercise are not only physical but to a large extent mental benefits as endorphins are released.
  8. Get your sleep, the more sleep you get, the better you feel.  This in turn reduces stress, which in turn reduces acne!
  9. Proper care is necessary.  No matter what special acne treatments your dermatologist may have used in the past, remember that you must continue proper skin care until the tendency to have acne has passed. There is no instant or permanent cure for acne, but it is controllable, and proper treatment may prevent scars.

     MEDICATIONS:

Topical Medications: 

Antibiotics:

  1. Tetracycline:  One of the first available acne antibiotics that was changed for topical use.  Discoloration of the skin is a possible side effect. 
  2. Sulfonamide: Popular treatment for acne and skin inflammation.  One of the oldest antibiotics to date.
  3. Clindamycin: a semisynthetic antibiotic that is similar in nature to erythromycin. 
  4. Erythromycin: Active to a large and diverse grouping of bacteria.  Its topical use is for the treatment of common acne vulgaris.  It is an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory medication.
  5. Azelaic acid: Adapted for acne treatment.  Applied as a cream.  Useful for treating certain acnes by antimicrobial approaches.  Process can take several months to be effective.
The main problem encountered with antibiotic use is the need to change antibiotics frequently as bacteria mutate and become resistant to an antibiotic usually in 3 to 5 months. This is the reason you often hear people on antibiotic therapy say, it used to work but now it no longer controls my acne.
 
The other danger in antibiotic use is that the body becomes immune to the effects of the antibiotic and then during an illness when you need an antibiotic, the antibiotic will not be very effective as the bacteria have become resistant - the "super bug" becomes a major problem when antibiotics no longer work.
 
Also, vaginal yeast or candida for females and mouth thrust for males as well as a lowering of sperm cells for those males trying to start a family. Antibiotics do have negative effects on the body.

Retinoids:

Molecules in the Vitamin A family.  Popular for anti-acne meds because of their proven effectiveness.  Proven to lessen abnormal growth of cells around the sebaceous follicles.

Retinoids, while effective, also have side effects.  Among these are redness, dryness, itching and cracking of skin.  However, in systemic retinoids, chance of birth defect can be a major issue.  A teenager or female acne sufferer should first consult a doctor before using these systemic treatments to evaluate if the possible risks outweigh any possible benefits.  

Retinoids are used topically and may also be used in pill form.  Here is a list of the ones available in the United States.  Some are topical and some are systemic:

  1. Tretinoin: Vitamin A acid.  Derived from the Vitamin A family.  Topical acne medication.Gel form is generally stronger than the cream form. Also known as Retin-A, Renova, Adaplene and Differin. Prolonged use may lead to another skin condition called rosacea.
  2. Isotretinoin (brand name Accutane) is an oral retinoid best known for treating severe cystic acne..Retinoids all carry the risk of causing birth defects in developing fetuses if the mother is using the drug, women who take them must wait a certain amount of time before safely attempting to become pregnant as Accutane can stay dormant in the fat cells for seven (7) years. People taking oral retinoids should not take vitamin supplements containing vitamin A.  Accutane has now been linked with a long list of serious side effects which are frequent, varied and at times severe such as depression and sucide. The Food and Drug Administration has been considering removing it from the market due to the above factors.

Over the counter Acne Products:

The most common over-the-counter medications used to treat acne contain one of the following ingredients: Benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, salicylic acid, zinc or sulfur.  Each works a little differently. These acne medications are available in many forms, such as gels, lotions, creams, soaps or pads.

Many of these over-the-counter acne medications may cause side effects such as skin irritation, burning or redness. These products can take between 4 and 8 weeks before you notice an improvement in your skin. If an over-the-counter acne product doesn't seem to help after 2 months, get advice from your doctor. Likewise tell your doctor if you have side effects that are severe or that don't go away over time.

To be effective, an over the counter acne medication needs to have the right concentration and combination of helpful ingredients to avoid causing  further damage to the skin. Sometimes "Less is More".. To find the proper blending of ingredients in an acne treatment that can calm the skin while providing the necessary antimicrobial benefits,  in a non-inflammatory preparation should be the goal of all acne sufferers.

The best solution that many acne sufferers have found success with is the use of Acne-Ltd III. Visit www.acne-ltd.com to learn about this acne treatment. 

Many acne sufferers also suffer from rosacea, which causes facial redness and flushing. You can learn more about rosacea at the Rosacea-Ltd web site.

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