Fitness Facts: Treating adult acne

March 27, 2018 / by / 0 Comment
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Connie Colbert

By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic

Last week, I wrote about the causes of adult acne. Now it’s time to talk about treating it.

The first step is to develop a gentle skin-care routine to treat and prevent acne:

  • Wash your face twice a day and when you are sweaty. Acne prone skin is sensitive. If you wash more, it can irritate your skin and make acne worse.
  • Stop scrubbing your face or other acne prone areas. This can worsen acne, too!
  • Wash your pillowcases, hats and other things that touch your acne-prone areas.

Give a new treatment at least four weeks to work:

Many people give up after a few days, but this can make acne worse. Treatment needs time to work. Using a different treatment every few days can irritate your skin, which in turn can cause new breakouts. It can take 2-3 months to see clearing.

Attack the different causes of acne:

If you don’t see improvement in four weeks, add a second acne product. Read the labels of the products and choose one with a different active ingredient.

Here are the basic over-the-counter treatments:

  • Benzoyl Peroxide: This ingredient kills the bacteria that cause acne, helps remove excess oil from the skin and removes dead skin cells, which can clog pores. OTC benzoyl peroxide products are available in strengths from 2.5 to 10 percent. Possible side effects include dry skin, scaling, redness, burning and stinging, especially if you have sensitive skin. Be careful when applying benzoyl peroxide – it can bleach hair and clothing.
  • Retinoids, such as adapalene gel, unclog pores and reduce oiliness.
  • Salicylic Acid eases inflammation and unclogs pores; this ingredient helps prevent pores from becoming plugged. OTC salicylic acid products are available in strengths from 0.5 to 5 percent. Possible side effects include mild stinging and skin irritation.
  • Alpha hydroxy acids. Two types of alpha hydroxy acids that are used in non-prescription acne products are glycolic acid and lactic acid. Alpha hydroxy acids are synthetic versions of acids derived from sugar-containing fruits. They treat acne by helping to remove dead skin cells and reduce inflammation. Alpha hydroxy acids also stimulate the growth of new, smoother skin. This helps improve the appearance of acne scars and gives the impression of smaller pores.
  • Sulfur removes dead skin cells that clog pores and helps remove excess oil. It’s often combined with other ingredients, such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or resorcinol. Products containing sulfur may cause dry skin, and some have an unpleasant odor.
  • Watch what you eat! While there are no hard and fast rules, avoid what makes YOU break out. Everyone responds differently to different foods. Here are a few suggestions and possible food related causes of acne.
    –A diet high in sugar and simple carbohydrates such as sugary drinks, chips, cookies, crackers, white bread, pasta and potatoes can contribute to breakouts. Your body responds by producing insulin, which in turn increases the production of skin oils and clogs pores.
    –A diet high in sugar and simple carbohydrates such as sugary drinks, chips, cookies, crackers, white bread, pasta and potatoes can contribute to breakouts. Your body responds by producing insulin, which in turn increases the production of skin oils and clogs pores.
    –Eating greasy foods such as pizza, burgers, fries will not cause more breakouts, but working in a restaurant flipping burgers might be a contributor. If you are employed in this workforce, make sure you gently cleanse your face after work.
    –Dairy. If you think this might be the cause, take it out of your diet for a month to see if you notice a change.
    –As always, eating more fruits and vegetables and a health diet, minimizing processed foods, can clear your face!
    –It will take time! Stick to a clean diet for at least two months.
    –Drink more water!

If you have attempted the above suggestions for at least a month or two, the next step is to see a dermatologist. Most acne can be controlled and treated effectively.


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