You have thousands of oil glands in the skin on your face, chest, and back. In fact, there are as many as 2,000 oil glands per square inch in the middle part of your face. These oil glands serve to lubricate the skin by producing oil, or sebum. The oil from the glands flows through tiny ducts, or follicles, to the skin surface. Sometimes, these oil ducts become plugged with sebum, bacteria, and dead skin cells that are shed from the lining of the duct. That's acne.
The easiest way to get rid of acne is to make sure you don't develop it in the first place. Here are some home remedies for keeping your skin healthy:
· Don't rest your chin on your hands. Try not to touch your face. It causes trauma to acne, just like picking pimples does. Tight sweatbands and chin straps from baseball caps and sports equipment can have the same effect.
· Forego the facial. Facials, particularly those given by over-enthusiastic aestheticians who haven't been taught how to handle acne-prone skin, can do more harm than good.
· Screen out the sun. Too much sun can lead to skin cancer and premature aging. Protect your skin without promoting more acne by using an oil-free sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Unfortunately, many waterproof sunscreens are too likely to clog oil glands to use on the face; so if you'll be sweating heavily or plan on swimming, you'll have to stick to the oil-free variety but be diligent about reapplying it often (as recommended on the label).
· Use water-based makeup. Check the label to find out if makeup is water- or oil-based. If the label is unclear, use this guideline: If it separates into water and powder when left to sit undisturbed for a while, it's water-based, and if it stays mixed, it contains oil. Better yet, use powder blushes and loose powders instead of liquid. Eye makeup and lipstick are okay, because you don't generally get acne in those areas.
· Wash properly. Wash only once or twice a day. For the delicate facial skin, use a soap or nonsoap cleanser labeled "mild" or "for sensitive skin" (Dove Unscented, Tone, Basis, and Neutrogena are some options). Rub lightly with your fingertips and warm water; do not use a washcloth. If your skin is oily, try using a soap that contains benzoyl peroxide for its drying properties.
· Watch out for iodine. This piece of advice is still somewhat controversial, but some doctors believe that high levels of iodine, found in some multiple vitamins and in iodized salt, may encourage acne.
· Watch out for oily products. That goes for oily pomades on your hair, heavy oil-based moisturizers, and even oily cleansers such as cold cream.
· Watch your diet. If you notice a correlation between something you eat and your face breaking out, you should try avoiding the offending food.
If your face has already broken out with pimples, the battle is not over. Your skin care after you have acne is just as important as the preventative measures you take, based on our home remedies:
· Apply that OTC product for prevention, too. Use acne medication not only on pimples that have already formed but also on acne- free areas that are prone to breakouts. That can include your entire face (avoiding the lips and eyes, however), back, and chest.
· Do no harm. Don't pick, squeeze, rub, or otherwise manipulate those pimples, because doing so can spread bacteria and raise the risk of scarring. The plug at the top of the pore is like a balloon. You can pop it, but below the surface, the sebum, bacteria, and skin cells may be forced into the surrounding tissue, causing inflammation.
· Don't exfoliate your face. Exfoliating refers to removing the top layer of dead skin cells using a rough washcloth, loofah, or specially designed product. But skin with acne is already irritated, and scrubbing can make things worse. Don't use brushes, rough sponges or clothes, cleansers with granules or walnut hulls, or anything else of that nature on the delicate facial skin. For the back and chest, where skin is less sensitive, you can try one of the acne scrub pads along with soap that contains benzoyl peroxide.
· Give one of the other OTC products a shot. Other acne products contain sulfur or resorcinol, which help unplug oil glands by irritating the skin. Most dermatologists, however, believe that benzoyl peroxide is the most effective anti-acne ingredient available without a prescription.
· Go easy on your face. You can't wash away acne with hot water and a rough washcloth. Washing only removes oils from the skin's surface, not from within the plugged ducts. Adults can suffer from both acne and dry skin. In fact, if you're too aggressive in your quest for cleanliness, you may very well end up drying out or irritating the sensitive skin on your face.
· Use benzoyl peroxide. A number of over-the-counter (OTC) products contain this ingredient, which helps break up the plug of dead skin cells, bacteria, and oil in pores and cuts down on the bacteria as well. Start with the lowest concentration -- a 2.5 percent or 5 percent lotion or gel once a day. After a week, increase to twice a day, morning and night, if it doesn't irritate your skin. If your acne doesn't improve within four to six weeks, use a 10 percent lotion or gel once a day and, if needed, twice a day. Work your way up gradually, especially if you have sensitive skin, because the higher the concentration, the more irritating it may be. If it dries your skin too much, apply a mild moisturizer as well (either at a different time of day or after applying the benzoyl peroxide).
How about diet? One of many natural treatments for acne is diet. There are many foods that act naturally as a home remedy for acne and are often the best acne treatments.
A diet based on unprocessed foods benefit people with acne. Eat at least five servings of vegetables and at least one serving of fruit per day. Foods containing healthy omega-3 oils such as ground flaxseeds and sardines should be increased.
Regular bowel movements are important, so drink at least 8 glasses of day of water, and increase fiber intake. In addition to eating fresh vegetables and fruit, choose whole grains (except, in some cases, whole wheat).
Even with a good diet, acne will not disappear overnight. Be patient! On average, 6 to 8 weeks are needed to see initial results. Once acne significantly improves or clears, continued care is needed to keep acne from re-appearing. If acne does not improve in 6 to 8 weeks, treatment may be needed.
A dermatologist’s help can make a difference. Before prescribing treatment, dermatologists consider several factors, including the severity of the acne, types of lesions present, co-existing conditions, as well as the patient’s age, skin type, lifestyle and motivation.
What aggravates acne in some people?
Fried foods and trans fats (e.g., milk, milk products, margarine, shortening, and other hydrogenated vegetable oils)
Iodized salt & iodine-rich foods
Pore-clogging cosmetics, sunscreens, moisturizers, greases, and oils
Tap water (instead clean your face with low-mineral bottled water
What Can I Do About Acne?
Prevent oil buildup by washing your face twice a day with warm low-mineral bottled water and a mild soap or cleanser (don’t scrub your face -- scrubbing can actually make acne worse)
Make sure your makeup is "oil-free" (noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic)
Keep hair sprays or gels away from your face (they clog pores)
Avoid baseball caps and other hats (they can cause pimples along the hairline)
Try not to touch your face
Don't pick, squeeze, or pop pimples
Vitamins & Nutritional Supplements That Help Reduce Acne—
· Vitamin A · Beta-carotene · Vitamin E · Zinc · Vitamin B6
Herbs That Help Reduce Acne—
· An herbal blend that can help with acne consists of equal parts of the herbal extracts of sarsaparilla, yellow dock, burdock, and cleavers. Take half a teaspoon three times per day.
· Tea tree oil applied to acne lesions may help to eliminate bacteria and reduce inflammation.
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