The USA Today reported that eighty percent of teens suffer from mild to severe acne. That's no small number.
Think you might have acne? Here are some warning signs to look for:
Frequent breakouts, cysts (pimples that form deep under your skin), many white heads, black heads, redness in the skin, inflammation and scarring.
Let's zero in on the two types of acne. The first is "comedonal acne" which is recognized as acne with many white heads, black heads and pimples.
The second type, "inflammatory acne," deals with painful and inflamed cysts or pimples. This type of acne is sore to the touch and is often red in color.
Despite popular myths, acne is not caused by chocolate, greasy foods or dirt. A pore-clogging bacteria that lives on your skin causes acne.
Teens are usually culprits of acne because of hormones. Certain hormones cause the body to produce extra oil. More oil equals more breakouts.
There are three treatments of acne that prove to be the most popular among teens.
The first treatment is a good cleanser or face wash. Look for a product that states, "oil free" on the bottle. Products containing salicylic acid will help dry up blemishes and unclog pores. Products like "Pure Zone" by L' Oreal and "Deep Clean Cream Cleanser" by Neutrogena contain salicylic acid and skip unwanted oil. To go along with cleanser, add an astringent product which deep cleans your pores and helps stop oil production.
The second treatment is topical creams or gels that you apply to your skin. Creams can be applied to specific areas that are acne prone and will dry out the blemish. These creams should be used carefully as if you apply them on your entire face, you may experience peeling and extreme dryness. Good examples of over the counter creams or gels are "Vanishing Acne Treatment Cream" by Clearasil and "Clear Pore Treatment" by Neutrogena.
The third treatment is reserved for those with moderate to severe acne. Prescription gels and oral medications are now available for those prone to acne. If you're female, you may want to ask your doctor about going on birth control pills to help regulate your hormones. If you're male or female, talk to your doctor or dermatologist about prescriptions such as Differin that are applied to the skin. Prescription strength treatments are stronger and more concentrated than those over the counter so be sure to use them carefully.
All of those treatments are designed to help fight acne and stop it from spreading. Without even knowing it, you could be the cause of why your acne is spreading. We all get urges to pop, scratch or pick our pimples. Popping them does make the bump disappear but when you pop a pimple, you're causing an eruption below and above your skin. Check out figures "Z," "I" and "T."
Figure "Z" shows what happens when you pop a pimple. While pimples don't last forever, the scarring will if you pop your blemish.
Figure "I" shows scarring that can come from picking and Figure "T" shows a healthy pore.
Ready to try a new routine? In the morning, wash your face with an oil-free cleanser. After your face is dry, swipe an astringent soaked cotton ball over your face. When the astringent dries, spot bits of acne fighting cream only on your blemishes. Before you go to bed, repeat this process from start to finish.
All right, so maybe you're diligently taking care of your face and you still have acne.
Five Acne Fighting Tips:
1. Don't over wash your face. By washing your face too frequently, you're making your pores create more oil and you may get more blemishes.
2. Keep your hands off your face! No touching allowed! Each time you touch your face you're clogging it with more bacteria and oil.
3. Try to make sure your hair isn't in your face. Hair is a notorious oil carrier. The oil on your hair can easily soak right into your skin.
4. Wash your pillow more often. Bacteria and oil can become trapped in the pillow fibers. 5. Wipe down your phone with anti-bacterial wipes whenever you can. Your face touches your phone more than you might think, spreading more bacteria.
Keep in mind that acne isn't something that you can avoid, but rather something to control. With any acne product, you won't see results over night. It may take several months to several years before your acne gets better or clears.
To get started on your way to clearer skin, check out my favorite acne busting websites: http://www.acne.org, http://www.acnebeat.com and http://www.facefacts.com
- Jessica Burkhart, Real Life - Managing Editor