Acne appears when pores on the skin become clogged. Excess oil, excess dead skin cells, and bacteria can all cause clogged pores, thus causing acne. The hormonal changes that occur in puberty and pregnancy tend to exacerbate acne. Certain medications, such as corticosteroids and a diet high in carbohydrates, put people at a higher risk of developing acne.
Mild acne can easily be treated with an over-the-counter cleanser containing benzoyl peroxide. The same medication is available by prescription for moderate acne. Benzoyl peroxide tends to make the treated skin dry and slightly irritated. Sunscreen should always be used along with benzoyl peroxide because it increases sensitivity.
Antibiotics are frequently used in cases of moderate to severe acne. These medications are useful in ridding the body of bacteria.
In the most severe cases of acne, which include cysts, Accutane is sometimes prescribed. This is a very highly effective medication, and patients are monitored closely while taking it.
Acne is not always preventable, but it can be controlled by taking steps to keep areas most prone to acne clean and oil-free.
- A gentle cleanser is better than an astringent because harsh products only irritate the skin and make acne worse.
- Pulling hair away from the face and washing hair frequently can reduce excess oil around the hairline.
- Keeping hands and other objects away from the face helps to keep it clean.
- Regular exercise may be helpful in preventing acne because it increases blood flow.
If pimples do appear, it is important not to touch them. Squeezing pimples can lead to infection.