Acne can be the worst! As a person who has suffered through acne in her teens and now in her twenties, I decided to compile a list of the most effective ways I know to combat blemishes. To see what they are, continue reading.
Know Your Ingredients! This sounds pretty basic, but I find that a lot of people look at the brand rather than the active ingredients. Two of the most popular ingredients in acne treatment are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Most drugstore acne treatment will include one of these ingredients. Aveeno Clear Complexion and Clean and Clear use salicylic acid, while Proactiv and AcneFree both use benzoyl peroxide. Over the counter salicylic acid treatments come in a concentration as high as 2%, while benzoyl peroxide treatments are as high 10%.
Double Up! One of the most effective ways to fight acne is to use a cleanser, followed by a cream or gel that goes on afterwards. If you are having a particularly hard time with your skin, you might consider mixing and matching active ingredients. For instance, you could use a cleanser that is salicylic acid based followed by a benzoyl peroxide cream or gel.
But Start Slow: Acne treatments can be drying for your skin. Before diving straight in to a new regimen, try using the treatments once a day or only every other day so your skin can get used to it. After about 2 weeks of this, you can begin using your cleanser and cream/gel twice a day, every day.
Wait To Moisturize: Even with my skin getting used to the treatments, I still needed a little help on the moisture front. I used to apply my moisturizer immediately after my cream until I spoke to my dermatologist. He said that doing this could actually interfere with the effectiveness of the treatment. Instead, wait 20-30 minutes for your acne cream to entirely soak into your skin before applying moisturizer.
And Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen! Many acne treatments are known to cause skin sensitivity to the sun. Check the warning label, and if the product warns that it might cause sensitivity, you must, must, must wear sunscreen if you don’t want to end up looking like a lobster. If you find traditional sunscreens too greasy, look for a light moisturizer with an SPF of at least 15.
Be Patient for Results: Despite many retailers advertising overnight results, for those of us with severe acne, there are no miracles. You probably won’t see noticeable results for at least a few weeks and completely clear skin can take months. Be patient and stick with your regimen.
If All Else Fails, See a Dermatologist: Check with your insurance company for their policy as relates to this. When I was on my father’s insurance plan at 15, I only had to pay $20 per dermatologist prescribed medication. This might seem a little steep, but considering I went from “one of the worst cases” my dermatologist had ever seen to skin so clear and even, strangers would compliment me, I considered this a fair deal. Plus, the creams he prescribed lasted me several months to a year, so the price was not so high in the long run. This might not be an option for everyone, but if you have a good insurance policy and nothing else is working, I highly recommend this.
So this is my advice. Do you have any tips or tricks for acne? Sound off in the comments below.