There are literally dozens of acne treatment products on the market. You can find oils, scrubs, cleansers, toners, masks, creams, vitamin packs and more. Some acne treatments are specifically formulated just for teens, women or men. Many involve a multi-step process and use a combination of products. Others are left on the skin overnight. Trying to find the best acne treatment product can be overwhelming and confusing.
Acne affects everyone differently. Some people are lucky and only get the occasional pimple. Others suffer horribly and have acne outbreaks that cover most of their upper torso and face. Acne can be serious enough to produce scars. If left untreated, acne can lead to mental and emotional stress; particularly in teens. That is why choosing the right acne treatment is so important.
For the person with mild acne, outbreaks can usually be managed with some simple facial cleansing routines. Experts recommend an acne treatment of gently washing the area twice daily with warm water and soap. Most municipal water is chlorinated to kill parasites and bacteria. Some people with acne are sensitive to chlorine and prefer to use distilled or spring water instead. Choose soaps that are mild and hypoallergenic. All-natural cleansers are generally the better choice. It does not matter if the soap is bar or liquid. A micro-fiber cloth is recommended. Facial clothes made from cotton can harbor bacteria and worsen acne, so always use a fresh, clean cloth.
In addition to cleansing the area, you may want to use an over-the-counter medication. Look for products that contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, resorcinol, or sulfur. Use benzoyl peroxide to reduce oil production. The other three help breakdown blackheads and whiteheads. Over-the-counter acne treatment products are available in many forms including gels, lotions, creams, soaps and pads.
OTC acne treatment products are formulated to kill the bacteria on the epidermis. They can be found in most drug and grocery stores. When you use OTC products, patience is required. It may take several weeks before results are visible.
When acne covers half or more of your face, neck, shoulders, back or chest, it is considered moderate acne. At this stage it is best to consult with a dermatologist in order to determine the best acne treatment. Usually a combination of therapies will be used and may include prescription medications, extraction, light therapy or dietary changes.
Generally, doctors will prescribe topical medications to treat moderate acne. These medications come in a variety of forms including creams, lotions, gels and topical solutions. People with dry skin typically prefer creams and lotions, while patients with excessively oily skin prefer gels. Gels and topical solutions are generally alcohol based and tend to dry the skin. Your dermatologist will be able to determine which acne treatment is best for you.
In addition to topical medications, people with moderate to severe acne may also be prescribed oral medications. It is common for doctors to prescribe oral antibiotics. It is believed that oral antibiotics inhibit the growth of P.acnes bacterium and decrease inflammation. Some people experience side effects when taking antibiotics including nausea, upset stomach, dizziness and photosensitivity. In order to treat severe acne, patients usually are required to take oral antibiotics for up to six months. Careful consideration must be given before engaging in long-term antibiotic treatment.
Severe acne generally requires more aggressive treatments in order to slow down the progression and to prevent acne scars. At this stage a combination of therapies will be used. Generally this will include the use of oral antibiotics and medications such as Accutane; corticosteroid injections; or acne surgery to drain cysts.
Finding the best acne treatments can be a difficult process. Acne treatments and medications will work differently for each person. When using OTC products, it may be a matter of trial and error to determine the best acne treatment. In cases of moderate and severe acne, only your doctor can help you determine which acne treatment is best for you.