Pretty much everyone has experienced a dreaded pimple at the most inopportune time. It’s annoying and can put a damper on your confidence. If pimples are part of your everyday life, it can be so much worse.
While acne is a common condition — affecting 50 million Americans each year — that doesn’t mean you want to live with it. Acne can be frustrating and challenging to treat, but all hope isn’t lost. In this article, we highlight some of the best ways to treat persistent acne. From chemical peels to limiting sun exposure, here are five tips to help you say bye to breakouts:
1. Try Prescription Acne Treatment
Chances are that you’ve tried product after product to no avail. Well, maybe that’s because you aren’t using the right products. It’s no secret that hundreds of over-the-counter products are available to treat acne. And while they may be effective for some people, you may need something stronger to cure your acne. This is especially true if you suffer from persistent breakouts.
Thankfully, there are several types of prescription acne treatment options. Whether that’s a topical, like a retinoid or birth control pills, these prescriptions have been scientifically proven to treat breakouts.
Antibiotics are another treatment option you should consider. They come as a topical, which you apply to your skin, or as a pill. Topical antibiotics work by acting as an antimicrobial solution. That means they kill the bacteria in your pores leading to breakouts. Oral antibiotics work from the inside out to prevent acne.
2. Keep Your Skin Clean
Acne occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells. Because of that, one of the best ways to combat persistent acne is to avoid build-up in the first place. You’re probably asking, “How do I avoid bacteria build-up?” One of the best ways is to keep your skin clean, and you can do that in several ways.
For one, ensure you wash your face at least twice daily, once when you wake up and again before bed. If you exercise during the day, it’s important that you wash your face afterward to keep sweat from getting trapped.
You might think that a deep clean means you should scrub with strong product, treat dirty skin like anything else you’d clean. However, the opposite is true. In fact, exfoliating and using abrasive scrubs could actually exacerbate acne. Harsh scrubbing can irritate your skin, letting in more bacteria and worsening breakouts. Rather than scrub your face with intense products, make sure you use a gentle cleanser that’s non-comedogenic. (That means it won’t clog your pores).
3. Avoid The Sun
You may love spending time in the sun. Unfortunately, it’s not good for your skin. The sun’s UV rays are incredibly harmful and can lead to hyperpigmentation, skin cancer, and acne. Overexposure to the sun dries out the skin. This, in turn, causes the body’s sebaceous glands to overproduce oil, which can lead to blemishes. Limit the time you spend in the sun to keep your skin clear and glowing.
It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean you should never go outside again. However, you must protect your skin when you’re out. Make sure you wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and sun-protective clothing. If possible, avoid the sun when it’s strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
You also want to make sure you’re using sunscreen on a regular basis. Applying sunscreen to your skin is one of the easiest ways you can combat acne, but it also helps your skin in so many ways. Using sunscreen with a high SPF (sun protective factor) is typically best because as the SPF value increases, you’re less likely to burn.
4. Don’t Pick at Blemishes
The first thing you probably want to do when you see a pimple is pop it. Don’t! For one, your hands are dirty and touching your face transfers dirt from your hands to your skin. Popping and picking can also irritate the pimple and lead to inflammation and scarring. You don’t want that. So, as a rule of thumb, keep your hands away from your skin.
Instead of picking, you can use a heat compress or ice pack. Both cold and heat can reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort if your pimple is painful. There are also spot treatments you can apply. Most contain salicylic acid, sulfur, and/or zinc oxide, which are considered powerhouse ingredients to combat acne. With spot treatments, you simply dab a little on your pimple before bed and let it dry out. When you wake up, you should notice a reduction in inflammation and the overall appearance of your spot.
5. Consider Aesthetic Treatment Options
Aesthetic treatments address skincare concerns to help you feel better about yourself. Some popular aesthetic treatments are botox and dermal fillers. But other aesthetic treatments are designed specifically for people with persistent acne, like laser therapy.
Laser therapy uses an intense pulsed light to remove oil and dead skin cells from clogged pores. This type of therapy is FDA-approved to treat breakouts. It’s also considered an effective treatment for removing acne scars, which is especially beneficial for people who have been struggling with persistent acne.
Chemical peels are another type of aesthetic treatment you might consider. Chemical peels are special acid solutions that are applied to your skin. The solution works by removing the outer layers of skin to reveal smooth, healthy skin underneath. There are different types of chemical peels, ranging in depth. That’s why it’s important to consult with a dermatologist or esthetician before treatment to ensure you choose the best option for your skin.
If you’re tired of dealing with acne, the tips above can help. However, keep in mind that seeing a change in your skin can take time. Be patient and allow new products and treatments to work.