Acne is one the most common skin problems faced by women. In fact, approximately 85 % of people between the ages of 12 and 24 have at least minor acne.  Acne conditions can be uncomfortable, leave the skin permanently damaged, and most importantly affects ones self image. This post will cover the basic types of acne and scientifically how to (and not to!) treat different acne conditions.
Let’s get started!
Types of acne
Acne can come in all shapes and forms. At the core, acne is caused by clogged pores (comedones) on the skin. This could be from dead skin cells, excess oil, hormones, bacteria, or other particles that physically blocks the pore.
The most mild form of acne is blackheads and whiteheads. Blackhead is an open comedo (an open pore) where the clogged materials oxidizes and becomes black. Where for a whitehead, the pore is closed so the comedo appears like a small white bump.
Once the comedo become infected by bacteria, or a papule, the inflammation causes the comedo to appear red. This is why it is never recommended to pop your blackheads and whiteheads with your fingers as you might cause unnecessary inflammation.
As the inflammation and pus start to go deeper into the skin, we get more severe forms of acne such as pustule and cyst. If you acne is severe, it is recommended to go see a doctor or dermatologist to determine the best treatment option!
With an understanding of the causes and physical characteristics of acne, we can talk about some steps to curing acne.
1. Hands off
I am personally guilty of touching and popping my acne all the time, especially when I am studying. But keeping your hands off the face will help your acne condition significantly. Remember the ugly inflammations above? Your hand is exposed to all sort of bacteria and dirt and touching your face is like depositing bacteria into your pores, not to mentioning spreading bacteria to healthy areas.
2. Keeping it clean
Your open pores are wounds, and you would want to treat them just like any other. Keep the area sanitized and use clean face cloths and pillow covers as much as possible. Acne patches are very useful as a “bandage” for your acne and some brands even absorbs pus and oil – helping the skin recover quickly.
To help with sanitation, use a cream with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects such as aloe vera.
3. Keeping the skin healthy
Keeping the skin healthy involves removing dead skin cells and letting the skin regenerate healthy cells. Exfoliation can happen physically or chemically. The St. Ives green tea scrub is a personal drugstore favoriate exfoliator – keeps the skin in good shape and gentle enough to use 3-4 times a week.
Other common acne treatment cleansers or creams will contain salicylic acid , an ingredient that will soften the skin and loosen cells to help exfoliation. If you are using salicylic acid for the first time, make sure to start with a low concentration such as 1% or 2%.
4. Treating scars
Now that your acne has disappeared, it’s time to treat the scar. Scars are damaged skin – give them time to heal! Your skin is naturally designed to regenerate and heal itself, most scars will disappear over time. To speed the process, try using a product with Vitamin C or ingredients that will give the skin an extra boost.
5. Staying healthy
None of the above tips 1-4 will work in the long term if you don’t stay healthy! Acne can be caused by lack of sleep, stress, and bad diet. Eat healthy, exercise often, get enough sleep, and be happy! Remember you can’t cure acne if new ones keep popping up. 🙂