No question about it, acne is irritating – sometimes literally! Unfortunately it’s also common, and can be hard to get rid of. If you’re here, you’ve probably tried various treatments, and you’re looking for a better solution.
We’re here to help. You can read up on acne, its causes and treatments, and then check out the links for information on the products that appeal to you.
What causes acne?
Acne can appear almost anywhere – not just on the face, but on the shoulders, back, neck and elsewhere. Not only can it appear in different places, there can be different causes for different people. And a acne treatment that works on one type of acne may have little or no effect on another. So we need to look at the causes and the type of acne, and then select the products that work best to eliminate the acne.
What are the different sub-effects of acne?
Seborrhea is not as common as some of the other sub-effects, being usually seen in people who have very severe acne. It is characterized by red, scaly skin, and is generally caused by a lack of Vitamins B6 and/or B12 or Biotin. A Vitamin A deficiency can also lead to seborrhea.
Seborrhea can be helped by correcting your body’s vitamin balance, but that can be a lot more difficult than it sounds. Teens especially, with their rampant, fluctuating hormones, can find achieving a proper vitamin balance particularly problematic.
Comedones (or, as they are more commonly called, blackheads and whiteheads), happen when too much sebum and keratin (oils from the sebaceous gland) collects in the hair follicles. Whiteheads occur closer to the surface of the skin, in a closed follicle. Blackheads erupt when the problems is further below the surface of the skin.
Pimples (often called “zits”) occur when sebum “glues” dead skin together. Then the pores become blocked, and more sebum builds up. Sebum combines with keratin in a clogged pore, and a pimple forms. In order to keep the pimples from multiplying, the blockage has to be cleared.
What are the biggest problems?
Acne forms in basically three ways:
- There is a buildup of dead skin cells in problem areas.
- There is an excess of sebum production.
- Your system’s vitamins are not properly balanced.
You need to identify why the acne formed before you can begin to determine how to correct the problem.
What are the different treatments and how do they work?
Treatments for acne are almost as old as acne itself. Even the ancient Egyptians battled acne, with sulfur applied to the skin being the preferred treatment.
Today, of course, we have better treatments and more flexibility. A lot of options are available, some more effective than others in treating the three big problems we just identified.
Acne can’t really be cured, but it can be controlled – the first step, and the most important one, is to control the flow of sebum. If your skin keeps over-producing sebum, it doesn’t matter how often you cleanse, the acne will keep coming back.
Accutane is the most common product for controlling sebum production. It is very effective, but conversely, it’s not the most desirable. Accutane is available by prescription only, and the side effects can range from merely annoying to unpleasant, and in some cases, even dangerous. The least of the possible side effects is a sensitivity to the sun’s UV rays – in other words, you’ll need sunscreen and appropriate clothing when you venture outdoors. More distressing is the possibility of depression, bowel disease, and birth defects.
Obviously, unless the acne is so severe that the benefits of Accutane outweigh the possible side effects, other methods should be considered.
Retinoids remove dead skin cells that can cause breakouts, but they can irritate the skin. Also, sometimes with retinoids, the problem gets worse for a little while before it gets better. Not much is known about the long-term side effects of retinoids, so if possible, it might be best to err on the side of caution and try other products that we know more about.
Anti-bacterials are benzoyl peroxide based products that prevent future outbreaks by improving the condition of the skin. They are available in various strengths, so you’ll want to choose one that doesn’t irritate your skin by drying it out too much. With anti-bacterials, it can take a while before your skin settles down and becomes less likely to break out – usually about six weeks.
Proactiv and Neutrogena Skin ID can be very effective anti-bacterial solutions. With Skin ID, they ask you to self-evaluate your skin, and then they can actually create a formula geared specifically for your skin!
What should I look for in an acne treatment?
Your acne product SHOULD:
- Remove dead skin that can cause blockages.
- Get your skin’s vitamin levels back into balance.
- Reduce or stop sebum production.
- Kill acne-causing bacteria.
- Be reasonably priced.
Your acne product SHOULD NOT:
- Cause scarring or redness.
- Cause an imbalance in your skin’s vitamin levels.
- Result in irritated, dry skin.
- Cause serious side effects.
- Cost a lot.
Based on the above criteria, here are this years top acne treatments!
How do the best acne treatments compare?
Price Factor: Are you getting good value for your money? We divided the price by the product’s effectiveness to come up with the price factor
Effectiveness on dead skin: How well does the product work to remove dead skin cells?
Effectiveness on sebum: How well does the product reduce the levels of your skin’s natural oils?.
Side Effects: No side effects earned the product a score of 5.
Overall Score: How we rated the product on a 1-100 scale.
( toplist will be added here shortly )
So, what now?
To sum up, there are many acne treatments available, and they’re all designed to correct the various types of acne by killing bacteria, slowing down or stopping the flow of sebum, exfoliating dead skin, and so on. You’ve learned by now that the generic (or “one size fits all”) approach might not be the best, because everyone’s skin is different.
Ultimately, what you should be doing is making your own decision. Your dermatologist can help you learn how to control your acne by selecting the product that’s right for you. Or you can use a specially-formulated system like Neutrogena Skin ID that’s geared specifically to your own skin.
It’s up to you! But if you have any questions, just get in touch with us, and we’ll be more than pleased to help you.