Acne is a common skin condition affecting millions of people worldwide, regardless of age, skin color, and gender. Everyone who has experienced it understands how this dramatically affects their quality of life. While mild cases can usually be managed with topical treatments, severe acne may need special attention from a dermatologist or other certified skin professional for proper treatment.
What Triggers Acne?
Acne is an inflammatory skin condition with redness, swelling, and pus-filled bumps that vary in severity. It is caused by sebum overproduction, an oily substance released by the skin’s sebaceous glands. This excess oil integrates with dead skin cells to clog pores, which leads to infection of the surrounding area.
Acne can lead to inflammation, acne lesions, blackheads, cysts, whiteheads, and nodules.
Other causes of acne include:
- Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, and menstruation
- Particular medications, such as corticosteroids and lithium
- Processed foods and a diet high in refined sugars
What Should You Do to Manage Severe Acne?
Here are tips for managing severe acne:
Seek the Help of an Expert
Going to a dermatologist is your best bet. They can check any hidden conditions causing acne breakouts through physical assessments and tests.
For instance, they can determine if you suffer from hormonal imbalance. This allows them to recommend ideal medications to change your hormone levels accordingly. They might also recommend oral or topical medications to minimize inflammation and bacterial growth.
Ensure to choose a facility equipped with advanced technology and materials for addressing acne. Note that some dermatologists only diagnose and prescribe medications but don’t perform advanced cosmetic treatments.
Visit a Professional Esthetician
Many people don’t realize that acne can be managed from the inside out. Expert estheticians can help you learn how to prevent breakouts and manage existing ones. They can teach you about appropriate skin care and cleaning techniques. They can also perform treatments such as light therapy for acne, customized facials, etc. In most cases, they also have certain products specifically formulated to help with acne.
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Practice Good Hygiene
Regularly washing your face two times daily with a gentle cleanser and warm water is important for treating acne. This helps eliminate excess dirt, oil, and bacteria from the skin’s surface. Avoid scrubbing too hard, as this might further aggravate your skin. Remember to moisturize afterward, as this can help keep the skin hydrated and reduce flaking or dryness.
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Follow a Skin Care Regimen
Maintaining a skin-care routine minimizes acne breakouts and keeps your skin healthy. As mentioned, clean your face with a gentle cleanser two times a day, apply an oil-free moisturizer after washing, and use sun protection of SPF 30 or higher throughout the day.
It also helps to use products particularly developed for acne-prone skin and prevent those that contain potent ingredients.
What You Need to Avoid
Avoid Aggravating Factors
Be aware of certain factors, such as stress and diet that can worsen acne breakouts. While stress might not directly cause acne, it increases cortisol levels which can worsen flare-ups. Similarly, consuming a well-balanced diet with fewer processed foods may decrease the risk of breakouts.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA), a high-glycemic diet (high in refined sugars and carbohydrates) may intensify acne. These include:
- White rice
- White bread
Avoid Too Much Sun Exposure
While some think the sun can improve acne because it can dry up some of the oil, it can further irritate the skin. It can also cause scarring and hyperpigmentation and worsen existing blemishes. To reduce your odds of developing skin damage or burns, always protect yourself by wearing a hat and using sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
Avoid Picking or Squeezing Your Pimples
Squeezing or picking on pimples can cause infection, scarring, scabbing, and other complications. Instead, use gentle extractions from a qualified esthetician for better results.
Avoid Harsh Products
Some harsh products can contain irritants that can further exacerbate acne breakouts. These include:
Note that some of these substances can be present in the products or treatments performed by specialists but will be in a much lower concentration. Also, they are highly trained and use advanced equipment to reduce any risk of harm or irritation.
Avoid Inappropriate Treatments
Numerous spa clinics offer complete cosmetic treatments, such as chemical peels, lasers, cellulite reduction therapy, and more. While it’s a breath of fresh air to have these services available whenever you want them, they might not be the effective treatment for you.
That’s why you must educate yourself on acne, its causes, and the possible treatments available according to your skin type and condition.
The Bottom Line
Acne can be problematic, but it doesn’t have to take control of your life. You can manage your acne breakouts and restore your confidence with the right treatment plan. Remember to follow a tidy skin care regimen, practice good hygiene, and visit your dermatologist or qualified aesthetician for help.