In the United Sates, about 80% of 18-year olds have reported having more or less serious problems with acne at some point in their lives. While a single pimple can be concealed relatively easily, chronic acne problems can become a serious detriment to an individual’s lifestyle and self-esteem.
Treating acne is no simple matter, unfortunately. Often, a hormonal imbalance is at the source of the acne breakout, making it only a matter of time before acne will effectively resolve itself and leave the sufferer with a clear face at last.
In the meantime, various treatments promise relief from acne symptoms and can be effective towards the goal of reducing breakouts as much as possible.
How Salicylic Acid Works
Many astringent face cleansers include salicylic acid as their main active ingredient. This natural chemical helps to correct the abnormal shedding of cells, which is vital to the treatment and prevention of mild acne.
Salicylic acid has been shown to help unclog pores and prevent lesions. These two activities are part of what makes the treatment so effective at providing relief. The only drawback is that the treatment must continue daily – the effects stop as soon as you stop using the product.
Getting Relief That Lasts
Because salicylic acid treatments only provide relief from acne while the treatment is being administered, there are many people who are eagerly searching for a more permanent solution to their acne problems.
In order to do that, it is necessary to control the propagation of the bacteria responsible for acne growth. This bacterium, Propionibacterium Acnes, is found in colonies in every acne pore and pimple.
Salicylic acid, while effective at treating the pimples and pores themselves, is not an anti-bacterial and does not eliminate the bacterial infection responsible for acne’s growth.
For this reason, antibiotics are often prescribed by doctors for medium to severe cases of acne. An antibiotic gel or cream that also provides anti-inflammatory effects is generally seen as the best-case scenario solution for acne problems, but carry their own set of risks – such as the development of antibiotic resistance.
Combined Treatments That Work
While salicylic acid works well at unclogging pores and providing an environment in which it is difficult for acne to spread, it can do no more than limit the growth and expansion of the condition. What is necessary at this point is a combination of effective treatments that will provide results.
In order to experience relief from acne, it is advisable to combine the salicylic acid treatment with an anti-bacterial one that will attack the existing bacterial colonies. This can be done simply with anti-bacterial soap and water, but there are also more powerful, specialized skin care products on the market as well.
Antibiotics may be suggested in the case of severe acne, and both oral and topical solutions exist. These antibiotics, however, should be approached with caution, since the development of an antibiotic-resistant strain of acne will be even more difficult to treat.