Acne Facts & Myths: Acne Causes and Treatments

The truths and myths on the causes of acne. And how to clear up your skin.

Clearing Your Complexion

Follow these steps for a clearer complexion. This regime works for mild to moderate forms of acne. If you have severe nodular or cystic acne, it is best to see a dermatologist for advice.
  • 1. Cleansing Your Face.
    Don't over-cleanse. Since dirt is not the cause of pimples, acne cannot be solved by simply washing off external dirt. Wash your face not more than 4 - 5 times a day. Over-cleansing can cause skin dryness and irritation to existing blemishes.

  • 2. Reducing Inflammation.
    Over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide medications (e.g. Oxy) are very useful for killing acne-causing bacteria Propionibacterium acnes. These bacteria normally thrive deep in the skin layers, where the availability of oxygen is reduced. Benzoyl peroxide works by penetrating deep down into the pores and slowly releasing oxygen, which has an antibacterial effect.

    Topical and oral antibiotics such as tetracycline and erythromycin can also be used, but these may lead to the development of antibiotic resistance in the bacteria over a long time of use.

  • 3. Exfoliating the Skin.
    Get rid of potentially pore-clogging dead skin cells with exfoliants such as mild facial scrubs, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), salicylic acids (BHAs) or tretinoin (Retin-A). Exfoliants also help break down blackheads and whiteheads.

    Professional exfoliating treatments can provide faster and more dramatic improvements, including microdermabrasion sessions and AHA chemical peels.

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