Blackheads and bumps, pimples and cysts are a rite of passage of 90 percent of teenagers. But studies show that up to 54 percent adults get acne, too. The combination causes the production of excess oil by sebaceous glands in your skin, plus a buildup of dead skins cells. Together they clog pores, creating a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria. Everything from genetics to stress to hormones can initiate skin changes that clog pores, ratchet up inflammation, can give acne bacteria a cozy place to breed. Tiny dark sports (blackheads) or small bumps (white heads). If clogged pores become infected or inflamed, they turned red; white pus inside may be visible. Larger bumps may signal clogs and a buildup of oil deep within pores. If these become infected, they’re called cysts and can leaves scars.
Experts have said for years that foods like chocolate and French fries don’t cause acnes but research suggests that diets generally high in sugar and refined carbohydrates could play a role. In a study of 43 young men with acne, those who followed a low-glycemic diet – involving foods that have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels – had 23 percent fewer blemishes after 12 weeks. Aim to get plenty of fruits and vegetables and choose whole grain products when you eat foods like rice and pasta. If you’re prone to acne, these strategies can help prevents flare-ups, whether you’re 14 or 44.
Open Your Pores With Products Containing Salicylic Acid Resorcinol, Or Lactic Acid
These ingredients are also called alphahydroxy acids and beta-hydroxy acids. Available in dozens of drugstore gels and creams, they work by preventing pores from clogging by breaking down the thick, gunky mix of skin cells and excess oil that starts the whole acne cycle. Some even act as chemical peels to unblock pores that are already clogged. In one State University of New York study of 30 people with acne, salicylic acid was better than benzoyl peroxide for reducing pimples.
Stop Bacteria With Benzoyl Peroxide
This inexpensive drugstore remedy is a proven bacteria stopper that fights acne’s top culprit, the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes. Its advantage over oral antibiotics and most antibiotic creams and gels: It works even on P.acnes that are resistant to the most widely used antibiotics for acne, such as tetracycline and erythromycin. Some experts estimate that bacteria are antibiotic resistant in at least half of all case of acne.
In one British study of 649 people with acne, 60 percent of those who use benzoyl peroxide for 18 weeks saw significant reduction in blemishes, while only 54 percent of volunteers who got the oral antibiotics tetracycline or minocyline saw an improvement.
Benzoyl peroxide comes in several strengths; higher strengths are more likely to cause redness, irritation, and even peeling. Start with a low dose and move up until you’re happy with the results.
See A Dermatologist For A Retinoid Cream
Prescription-strength creams and washes containing the vitamin A derivatives tretinoin (Retin-A), tazarotene (Tazorac), or adapalene (Differin) speed the shedding of death skin cells so they can’t clog your pores. They may also cool inflammation, easing redness and swelling. When researches received studies involving 900 people with acne, they found that tretinoin reduced the number of pimples by about 54 percent. In another study, tazarotene produced similar results. Other research suggests that retinoids may clear up 70 percent of blemishes.