Professional clear-skin solutions
You hop out of bed and head for the shower, breathily taking a quick glance into the mirror and, oh, no! What’s that red bump in the middle of your forehead? You can’t have a pimple today, of all days! If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Roughly 30 percent of Americans suffer from acne, a condition characterized by whiteheads, blackheads and inflamed red pimples.
Acne often begins during adolescence, when hormones cause sebaceous glands to produce more oil. The oil, combined with the dirt and bacteria on the skin’s surface, can clog pores, thus causing acne pustules to appear. Unfortunately, some continue to struggle with breakouts well into adulthood. But don’t distress—help is here! Taking care of your acne-prone skin, though challenging, is very possible and can provide good, visible results.
First things first—let’s acknowledge the fact that acne-prone skin likely produces a lot of oil. This oil needs to be controlled with appropriate skin-care products—such as a face wash with salicylic acid, a gentle oil-free moisturizer and a sulfur mask—on a weekly basis. The bottom line is to always look for products that are oil-free and non-comedogenic (industry-speak for “won’t clog pores”). Do not try to scrub skin vigorously; this may only aggravate the condition. Easy does it
Resist the urge to squeeze pimples! It’s difficult, but crucial. By squeezing, you may contaminate the area with more bacteria, only worsening the result. If you have a pimple that simply has to go, visit your esthetician or dermatologist for a possible fix. Otherwise, camouflage with makeup if you can
Say no to greasy products
Ever wonder why you’re breaking out across your hairline? It could be the shampoo and/or conditioner you’re using. Hair products could contain ingredients that only aggravate your already-sensitive skin. Experiment with shampoos until you find the one that doesn’t make your pimples worse, then stick with it
Have a monthly facial
A regular spa facial (possibly with add-on treatments, such as microdermabrasion) will help you control your acne. Licensed estheticians understand skin physiology and know the techniques that can help acne heal. For example, using appropriate chemical peels can help remove the top layer of the skin, thus revealing the fresh skin underneath. A good session of extractions (removing blackheads) followed by an effective mask can do wonders for your complexion. If you simply can’t afford a spa treatment, don’t lose heart. Many similar results can be achieved at home by purchasing a few key products. Go by a reputable spa and ask for some recommendations for acne-prone skin
When dealing with acne, makeup can be your best friend in camouflaging the flaws. Select makeup that won’t agitate the skin, using only non-comedogenic makeup. Apply acne medication under your makeup, so you’re getting the results all day long. Ideally, select natural makeup such as the line from Jane Iredale or Bare Minerals. Keep in mind that certain ingredients, such as green tea extract, can help calm acne
For some women, treatment-resistant acne is caused by excessive production of hormones called androgens. Clues that help your doctor diagnose hormonally influenced acne are adult-onset acne, excessive growth of hair or hair in unusual places, premenstrual acne flares, irregular menstrual cycles, and elevated blood levels of certain androgens. Various drugs can be prescribed to treat women with this type of acne, including low-dose estrogen birth-control pills. Hormonal treatments block the stimulating effect of androgens on the oil glands. Because this form of treatment stops acne before it begins, it often gives the best result. Hormonal treatment requires blood tests, and oral medication. However, these may be well worth it if your acne cannot be controlled by standard measures. Even quite severe cystic acne that has resisted treatment for years often clears completely with properly planned hormonal treatment.
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