Acne is the skin condition, that is generally associated with an overactive sebaceous gland. Excess secretion of sebum or oil by the overactive sebaceous glands often clogs the skin pores. Bacteria along with dead skin cells and dirt get trapped inside such clogged skin pores, and create a favorable atmosphere for infection. This eventually causes inflammation and redness, or the development of acne and pimples. An outbreak of acne and pimples can be triggered by several factors including, hormonal imbalance or fluctuation, certain allergens, high level of stress and a wrong diet. Though numerous medications and cosmetics are available to treat this skin condition, most of them fail to address the underlying causes of acne.
Over the Counter Acne Skin Care Products
The most commonly used products are benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and sulfur and resorcinol. Benzoyl peroxide is available as creams and gels, and it works well for moderate to severe acne. It can destroy the acne causing bacteria, and remove the dead skin cells to unclog the skin pores in order to treat acne. People who have oily skin can benefit from it, though it is not suitable for those with dry and sensitive skin. However, benzoyl peroxide can cause certain side effects like, skin dryness, redness, minor swelling and increased sensitivity to sunlight.
Individuals with sensitive skin can try salicylic acid, which can speed up the process of exfoliation of dead skin cells to prevent clogging of skin pores. It is however, effective for mild acne. Some minor side effects like, skin dryness and peeling, and increased sensitivity to sunlight can be experienced with its topical application. Sulfur and resorcinol based acne products, on the other hand, help to remove excess sebum and dead cells from the skin, in order to unclog the skin pores. However, it can cause skin dryness, peeling and redness. Retinoid gels and creams are other options, but can cause some skin peeling initially.
Prescription Medications for Acne
In case of severe acne, where over-the-counter acne fail to control the outbreak, one can opt for prescription medications. These, very obviously, should be taken only under the supervision of a physician. The most common medications used for acne control are, oral and topical antibiotics. Another effective medication is accutane or isotretinoin. It is a very strong medication, that is prescribed only for severe acne, that has not responded to other treatment options. Accutane can cause serious side effects like, nosebleeds, liver dysfunction, headaches and muscle aches. It is not prescribed for pregnant women, as it can cause birth defects. Hormonal acne treatment, on the other hand, can help those individuals that experience severe acne outbreak, mainly due to hormonal fluctuations.
Natural Acne Remedies
Over-the-counter and prescription medications, used for acne can cause several side effects, for which many people prefer to rely on herbs and some simple home remedies to treat this skin condition.
- Aloe vera gel, known for its soothing properties can ensure rapid healing of pimples. Due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera gel can prove beneficial for minor skin abrasions and acne.
- Another effective home remedy for acne is lemon juice. Just mix a small amount of lemon juice with water or rose water, and apply on the affected skin. Leave it for about 10 to 15 minutes and then rinse with clean water.
- Tea tree oil has anti-bacterial properties and therefore it can destroy the acne causing bacteria and microorganisms.
- Mint, especially peppermint is a well-known herb, used for numerous ailments. It contains menthol, that has strong anti-inflammatory properties and hence, cures inflamed acne and pimples.
- Jojoba oil can also sooth inflamed acne besides, preventing excessive secretion of sebum, which is one of the most important causes of breakout.
- Sandalwood paste is another important natural remedy for acne prevention, that can also improve your skin complexion. It can be mixed with turmeric powder to get a pimple free skin.