What are the Best Treatments for Acne?
Published: 14th September, 2016 in: Acne
At some point over the course of our lives, we will all wake up with a spot or two. Acne, on the other hand, is much more severe and can cause distress to those affected. This does not have to be the case however; with the right treatment, you can manage acne and help to prevent future flare-ups.
What is Acne?
Acne is a condition that affects the skin, resulting in spots, blemishes, oily and often tender skin. Acne is most commonly seen on the face, back and chest. This usually occurs during teenage years however, it can continue to affect people long into adulthood. When it comes to acne, there are 6 main types of spot that are caused by acne: papules, pustules, nodules, cysts, blackheads and whiteheads.
Papules: Papules are small red bumps, smaller than 1cm across. They usually feel firm and tender to the touch.
Pustules: Pustules are the type of spot that most likely comes to mind when somebody says acne. They are generally red, raised bumps, which are painful to the touch, with a white centre. This white centre is caused by a buildup of pus underneath the skin's surface.
Blackheads: Blackheads are very common. They appear on the skin as small black dots that occur when the pore has become blocked. The pore is open at the skin's surface. Their dark appearance comes from the inner hair follicle lining, not because they are filled with dirt as many people may believe.
Whiteheads: Unlike blackheads, whiteheads form under the surface of the skin. The pore is not open. They form when pores become clogged and are prevented from opening. They appear on the skin as small bumps that will not empty when squeezed.
Nodules: Nodules are a more severe form of acne. They are large, red, inflamed bumps that form underneath the skin. They can often be very painful to sufferers.
Cysts: Cysts are arguably the most severe form of spot. They are large, painful bumps that form deep in the skin, similar to nodules however, they are also filled with pus.
What Causes Acne?
In order to help treat and prevent acne breakouts, it is important to know the cause of acne. Acne occurs as a result of blocked pores. The skin’s oil glands, also known as sebaceous glands, can block the pores where hair grows. This can cause them to become red and inflamed, leading to an acne breakout. Acne is particularly common among teenagers. The reason for this is that during puberty, the body’s hormone production increases. This increase in hormones triggers the body’s production of sebum, the oil produced by the sebaceous glands, making pores more prone to blockage.
Bacteria trapped in the blocked pores can also make acne worse, as can lifestyle factors such as stress. Stress can cause excess oil to be produced therefore, resulting in blocked pores and the development of spots on the skin. Some people also believe that factors such as diet can affect acne however the link between fatty and sugary foods has not yet been linked to acne.
How to get rid of Acne
Effective acne treatments can be hard to come by, but the question on all sufferer’s lips is how to get rid of acne? Half the battle when it comes to acne is finding the treatment that works best for you. Acne can be treated with a wide range of medications and creams, so finding the best option for your skin can take a little time. One of the main ways to improve acne however, is ensuring that the skin is cleaned regularly, making sure to remove all dirt and impurities. This should ideally be done in the morning and at night. This helps to minimise the chance of pores becoming blocked with dirt or bacteria.
We offer a variety of acne treatments designed to help cleanse and clear spot-prone skin. Benzoyl peroxide is one of the most popular and effective acne treatments used. The Acnecide 5% w/w Gel is a topical aqueous gel that contains benzoyl peroxide. It works by killing the bacteria associated with acne, removing excess oil to minimise the risk of pores becoming blocked, thus helping to clear the skin. For larger areas such as the chest or back, they also offer a wash.
We also offer a range of Seba Med products designed to effectively fight acne in a natural way. The cleansing bar is an alkali and soap-free bar designed to remove the skin of impurities, adding valuable vitamins and moisture in return. It’s mild pore, deep cleansing ability helps to remove excess sebum which can lead to the formation of spots. In addition to this, it re-balances the skin’s pH to 5.5, making it difficult for acne-causing bacteria to survive. After the skin has been cleansed, you may want to follow with a toner and the Seba Med Clear Face Gel. Containing hyaluronic acid, it allows the skin to better hold onto moisture, aloe barbadensis soothes irritated skin while panthenol supports the healing of acne blemishes.
Another popular ingredient used in acne treatments is nicotinamide. Nicotinamide has been clinically proven to effectively treat inflamed red spots. The Freederm Treatment Gel utilises this ingredient, working to penetrate the skin in order to reach the sebaceous glands. By targeting the glands which actually cause the skin to become oily, it is able to combat current spots and prevent new ones from forming.
Tips for an Acne Breakout
During an acne breakout, it can be tempting to try just about anything to get rid of spots however, doing too much to your skin could actually aggravate it further. We have put together a few tips to follow when suffering from an acne breakout to help clear it up and protect your skin. First of all, it might sound obvious but make sure you are cleansing your skin effectively. To help prevent or clear up spots, you need to wash away the excess bacteria and oil on your skin to prevent the pores from becoming blocked. You should only wash your face twice a day to avoid drying out the skin (once in the morning and once at night). Do not use a harsh cleanser as this can also dry out the skin resulting in more oil being produced. Use a cleanser suitable for your skin-type and rub into the skin using small circular motions. After washing you may also want to use a toner to ensure all dirt has been removed.
To prevent drying and ensuring your skin does not produce excess oil, you should ensure that you use a moisturiser. Some moisturisers contain oil and perfumes that can irritate the skin and cause acne to become more severe. Due to this, it is important to pick a high-quality moisturiser, that does not contain fragrances or other potentially irritating ingredients. Drinking water is also key in ensuring your skin does not dry out. If the body is dehydrated, the sebaceous glands are signalled to produce more oil thus increasing the likelihood of spots developing. Dehydration also promotes inflammation and redness. By making sure you drink enough water each day (around 8 glasses) you can improve the appearance of skin and help to prevent spots.
Be careful when selecting beauty products. You should limit makeup where possible. This can further clog pores and increase the risk of outbreaks. If makeup is used, ensure the skin is cleansed properly in order to remove. Other products such as shampoos, body washes and hair products can also cause breakouts. Noncomedogenic products are designed in a way that they are not likely to cause pores to become blocked. Where possible use these kinds of products and try to avoid products that contain added oil or fragrances.
In addition to this, you should avoid touching your face. Your hands come into contact with millions of bacteria throughout the day. Touching your face can transfer this bacteria onto the skin resulting in an acne breakout. If you need to touch your face, you should wash your hands before doing so. If you do have spots, you should never try to pop them however, even if you have just washed your hands! Popping spots can result in scarring and can cause spots to become worse as it may encourage further inflammation.
Finally, you should be mindful of your stress levels. It has been shown that stress can trigger the production of oil-stimulating hormones. This, in turn, can cause the skin to become excessively oily, blocking pores resulting in an acne breakout. There are many ways to manage stress levels from yoga and meditation to exercise and hobbies. By reducing your stress levels, you may also notice an improvement in your skin. Win win.
Getting rid of Acne Scars
As mentioned above, mismanaging an acne breakout can lead to scarring. Fortunately, there are products and methods to help deal with this. For effective acne scar treatment, topical gels which contain silicone can help the skin to repair. These gels are easy to apply and allow the skin to breathe, so there is very little risk of pores becoming blocked. Explore our range of products for scar management.
If over the counter treatments do not work, contact your GP.