Your skin is covered with tiny holes called pores that can get clogged by dead skin cells, oil, dirt, and bacteria. This results in pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads that usually appear on the face, chest, shoulders and upper back.
Acne can occur in people of all ages, but it is most common among teenagers. The American Academy of Dermatology states that acne is the most common skin condition in the U.S.
Luckily, there are a plethora of treatments for acne that reduce the severity of your acne, as well as your risk of scarring. The trick is to develop a solid skincare routine that works best for your skin.
One major part of coming up with a treatment plan for acne is understanding its symptoms and causes, and identifying what type of acne you are suffering from.
Symptoms of Acne
Acne can occur in the form of pimples that are white or black, commonly known as whiteheads and blackheads. Both types of acne fall in the category of comedones, which is the medical term for pimples.
Blackheads and whiteheads result from the accumulation of dead skin cells and sebum (oil) inside your pores. However, they are different in appearance.
Blackheads, also known and open comedones, are not covered by skin. Because the sebum trapped in your pore is exposed to air, it can easily get oxidized. This gives them a black appearance.
Whiteheads, or closed comedones, are protected just under the surface of your skin and thus, remain white in color.
Acne can also occur in the form of inflammatory lesions, which are more likely to cause scarring of the skin. These include:
- Cysts. Large, pus-filled lumps that occur beneath your skin and can often be painful.
- Papules. Tiny, red, raised bumps on your skin that result from inflammation or infection of the hair follicles.
- Nodules. Solid bumps that develop under the surface of your skin and can be painful in most cases.
- Pustules. Tiny red pimples with pus at the tips.
What Causes Acne?
Each skin pore is an opening to a hair follicle, which is made of up of a hair and an oil-producing gland called the sebaceous gland.
The sebaceous gland secretes sebum, which travels up your hair and reaches the skin through your pores, keeping your skin soft and lubricated. Any problem associated with this lubrication process can cause acne. For example, acne can occur when there is:
- An overproduction of oil in your follicles
- A buildup of dead skin cells in your pores
- Accumulation of bacteria in your pores
Pores filled with oil and dead skin cells create perfect environments for bacterial growth. A pimple is formed when bacteria grows in an obstructed pore and the oil cannot escape.
Risk Factors For Acne
Common risk factors for acne development include:
- Hormonal changes from puberty or pregnancy
- A diet rich in dairy, refined sugars and carbohydrates (such as, chips, bread, and cookies)
- Certain medications, such as corticosteroids and birth control pills
- Having parents who also had acne
Puberty is the most common contributor to acne. Hormonal changes stimulate the production of oil in the body, increasing your risk. This type of acne often improves as you reach adulthood.
Acne that occurs during adulthood is called adult acne, which often results from stress, pregnancy, menopause, pollution, and a poor diet.
Overwashing and using harsh abrasives on the skin is another common cause for acne in all ages .
What Are The Best Treatments for Acne and Scarring?
Before constructing a treatment plan for your acne, understand that most acne treatments take at least 4 weeks to work. Therefore, trying an acne treatment every few days can cause more harm than good. Using a new product before your skin has had enough time to adjust to your previous treatment can aggravate your skin barrier, leading to more breakouts.
With that in mind, here are some of the top dermatologist-recommended tips for getting rid of acne for good.
- Say Yes to Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid that dissolves excess oil and gently exfoliates dead skin cells. This non-abrasive treatment is considered one of the best treatments for acne because of its anti-inflammatory properties that help curb inflammation associated with cystic acne. According to research published in the journal, Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, salicylic has been used as a treatment for various skin disorders for over 2000 years .
While coming up with a skincare regime to treat your acne, look for products containing salicylic acid as an active ingredient. Salicylic acid is commonly found in toners, best acne cleansers, moisturizers and leave-in spot treatments.
- Cleanse Your Skin Daily
Wash your face twice daily with a mild facial acne cleanser to remove excess oil and dirt . Dermatologists recommend washing your face:
- After waking up
- Before going to bed
- When you get sweaty
It’s easy to aggravate acne-prone skin. Therefore, treat your acne gently, making sure that you avoid over-cleansing and scrubbing. Your best bet would be to use a gentle, fragrance-free and pH balanced acne cleanser that contains salicylic acid, such as the GloxiniaLife by Dr. Calle Clear Acne Cleanser, for oily and acne-prone skin.
- Try Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid that can be found in cleansers, peels, serums, and moisturizers. It’s a terrific, non-abrasive exfoliant that helps slough off dead skin cells that are notorious for causing clogged pores and acne.
In a study published in the journal, Dermatologic Surgery, 40 asian participants with moderate to moderately severe acne were treated with glycolic acid in varying concentrations. At the end of the study period, researchers noticed a significant improvement in comedones, pustules, papules, and overall skin texture, with minimal side effects .
Pro tip: Another common cause for acne is going to bed without taking your makeup off. A quick and easy way to cleanse your face before bedtime is using cleansing wipes. GloxiniaLife by Dr. Calle Clear Acne Correction Pads contains a unique combination of salicylic acid, glycolic acid and lactic acid that work together in eliminating acne-causing bacteria, clearing clogged pores and reducing the appearance of acne and acne scarring.
- Choose Products That Don’t Cause Acne
Make sure your makeup and skincare products don’t clog your pores. Products that are acne-safe will have one of the following on their packages:
- Won’t clog pores
Choosing the Right Sunscreen for Acne
Acne caused by sunscreen is a common complaint -- but it can also be prevented with the right product. Again, you want to look for something that is lightweight, oil-free and non-comedogenic, such as GloxiniaLife by Dr. Calle Clear Defense SPF 45- Oil-Free Facial Sunscreen for Acne Prone Skin, which also contains hyaluronic acid (more on this later).
- Spot Treat with Benzoyl Peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide is often the first product people try because it’s pretty gentle on the skin. Start with a lower strength so that your skin can get used to it. Your doctor will let you know when it is time to use a higher strength or switch to a different product.
As with any other treatment for acne, it is important that you are patient. Benzoyl peroxide can cause some redness and dryness. If your reaction is severe, call your doctor and stop using the product.
Retinoids are among the most effective treatments for anti-aging and acne . Retinoids work by speeding up skin cell turnover, exfoliating the skin barrier and decreasing oil production. Retinoids are anti-inflammatory and can thus, aid in improving cystic acne.
Unfortunately, retinoids can be harsh on the skin, causing the skin to appear worse before it gets better. However, continued use of the treatment can lead to remission of irritation along with significant improvement in acne and other skin concerns .
- Use Hyaluronic Acid For Acne Scars.
Hyaluronic acid is a chief glycosaminoglycan -- a naturally-occurring compound that makes up your skin-matrix and helps it appear youthful, fresh and glowing.
Hyaluronic acid is also a humectant, which means it draws moisture from the surroundings. One gram of hyaluronic acid can hold up to 6 liters of water! It also renews your skin surface layers, helping it look smoother, more supple and hydrated. This has an immediate impact on the appearance of acne scarring, wrinkles and fine lines .
It’s typically found in water-based serums, moisturizers, and other skincare products that aid in boosting hydration. Although all skin types can immensely benefit from hyaluronic acid, it is especially recommended for people with dry and aging skin.
The Best Acne Solution: Dr. Calle’s Daily Acne Facial
Take it from Dr. Calle, Board Certified Aesthetic Medicine Physician, and creator of GloxiniaLife by Dr. Calle skincare products and follow this bulletproof 3-step pore-reducing, non-comedogenic facial designed to treat acne.
- A Cleanser Formulated for Acne-Prone, Oily and Sensitive Skin to remove impurities and unclog pores in a gentle and effective manner.
- A Pore-Reducing Toner Containing Salicylic Acid penetrates deep into your pores and removes cellular debris and dirt without causing any irritation or sensitivity.
- An Oil-Free Sunscreen protects from the damaging UV rays of the sun and prevents premature skin aging.
In addition to using the right products for acne-prone skin, it is critical that you follow a proper diet, avoiding and dairy and sugar whenever possible. Be sure to remove your makeup as soon as you come home and wash your face twice daily to remove the buildup of sweat, dirt and skin debris.
Be patient. Any skin treatment will take up to 3 weeks to show results. Do not stress about your skincare products not working as this may cause your acne to worsen. Treat your protective barrier with kindness and it will reciprocate with gorgeous, acne-free skin.
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