Amy asks: Ugh my skin just hates me! I have a job interview in just under a week and what do you know, I get a massive break out. Is there any way I can get rid of acne instantly? And how do I go about preventing it?
Let me just start by saying you skin does not hate you. Actually, acne is your skin’s way of telling you it loves you. Now reread that sentence until you believe it.
Acne is how your skin communicates to you that there is an issue. The Chinese have invented this clever thing called “Face mapping.” This map shows you what your acne means. See for yourself what your skin is lovingly trying to tell you using Joanne Marks map:
Good to know.. but how do I get rid of these blaring red spots???
Truth be told, there is no one cookie-cutter approach to getting rid of acne. This is because the type and severity of acne differs.
By this I mean while all acne has its roots in the same process — hormonal fluctuations that stimulate oil production — not all acne is equally severe and not all cases of acne will respond to the same types of treatments.
There are three main types of acne. See which one your acne most closely relates to:
This acne is basically black heads and white heads. This mild acne appears most often on the forehead, nose and chin.
When you imagine acne, this is most likely what you picture. This acne occurs when the area just under the “plug” (the blackhead or whitehead) becomes reddened and inflamed according to Web MD.
This acne is the heavy stuff. This most severe form of acne occurs as the result of an infection in the area of the outbreak. It is often very painful and can result in permanent and disfiguring scarring.
So now I know why I have acne and what kind it is, what can I do now?
Now that you have diagnosed the problem, it is finally time to solve it. As I said before, the solution you use depends on what kind of acne you have.
If you have mild Comedonal acne and inflammatory acne…
You firstly need to invest in a good topical cream. A topical cream is applied to the affected areas. There are lots of options but you need to be cautious.
Just picking any old one off the shelf could lead to even more skin dilemmas. Some acne treatments may make sensitive skin worse or even give symptoms of rosacea.
The two main creams you should consider are Differin and Retin-A. Retin-A has been around for decades and accordingly has vigorous studies backing up it’s effectiveness and wrinkle-fighting capabilities.
Differin has not been around as long and has little studies published. However Differin is slightly more selective to receptors and therefore is less likely to cause skin irritation. The choice is based on your skins needs and your personal preference.
You should also pair a retinoid with an oral antibiotic. However this is typically prescription only and availability differs in countries. So check with your health care professional first.
If you have severe inflammatory or cystic acne…
There are several options but the cheapest is the drug isotretinoin. This drug is an extremely powerful drug which can clear up severe acne within months when other treatments haven’t made a dent in healing process.
Unfortunately it carries a host of possible side effects including inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, liver damage, bony malformations, depression, and a virtual certainty of severe birth defects for the babies of women who take it while pregnant.
So considering this drug shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your only other options with this type of acne are Photodynamic therapy and vacuum cleaning. Please consult your health care professional about these options.
Whew what a hassle to clear acne! How can I keep my skin healthy prevent it in the first place?
Dermatologists used to just suggest you stop eating potato chips and laugh their ways to the (very full) bank. Now it’s widely known that preventing acne isn’t that simple.
While it is true that eating well can help prevent acne, it is more complex. Your first call to action should be drinking more water. Lots of water. Water is cleansing and visibly hydrates your skin.
Next you want to try avoiding getting pores infected. This involves cleansing your face daily with gentle cleansers and using a clean towel. If you live in a particularly smoggy area, prepare to up your cleansing game.
Next you need to balance your horemoens. Just kidding – this root cause of acne is nearly impossible to fix naturally. For women, birth control pills do help with this. But other than that, it is very challenging.
In short: Learn to love your acne for what it means, but don’t learn to live with it