Many people, from pre-teens to adults, deal with acne on occasion. It is a condition usually caused by a hormonal imbalance in teenagers. Acne can also be caused when sebum, which is present in oil glands, gets trapped in follicles and causes an accumulation of oil beneath the skin. The oil then swells when it is infected by bacteria, causing eruptions through the skin.

Mistaken Causes of Acne

Some people believe stress or poor hygiene causes acne, or that they may have a skin infection. While acne is a type of infection, it isn’t contagious, and it isn’t treated like other infections. There are times when acne flares up, such as during a woman’s period, when the weather is hot and humid, or when pimples are squeezed. Fortunately, there are several ways to treat acne with over-the-counter products or prescription medications.

Treating Acne

Not everyone develops acne in the same way, because it is mostly caused by a hormonal imbalance during the pre-teen and late teen years. Some young people may have mild acne on their face, back, or chest. However, other young people may have acne so bad it looks like a rash, and, if not cared for correctly, it can cause scarring.

There are over-the-counter medications which are successful for treating milder forms of acne. Using antiseptic wipes often helps to remove excess oil and dirt that gets trapped in follicles and erupts into whiteheads or blackheads. Some topical acne treatments work by drying out the skin, so be careful to check the labels to make sure the ointments do not contain oil, which could exacerbate the problem.

There are some prescription-strength acne treatments which can be bought to help clear up acne and prevent scarring. Some of these treatments, like Obagi for acne treatment, utilise a two- or three-step skincare regimen to clear acne. These treatments are available in two types: one for normal-to-dry skin and one for normal-to-oily skin.

Acne Treatment Systems

Many treatments consist of two or three steps: the first to cleanse skin, the next to remove bacteria from under the skin to help reduce acne and prevent new outbreaks, and finally a topical solution to moisturise skin and protect it. These steps seek to deal with the core issue, which is the buildup of bacteria beneath the skin, in order to prevent new outbreaks and treat current ones. Many of these treatments contain benzoyl peroxide, a solution that has proven effective in treating acne.

Benzoyl peroxide works in three ways to treat acne and prevent acne scars. It penetrates the skin to kill the bacteria which cause acne to erupt, reduces inflammation, and unblocks clogged skin pores. It can help reduce both blackheads and whiteheads, and it can be bought at a pharmacy without needing a prescription.

If you have mild acne, you may not need to treat it because it will go away on its own. However, if your outbreaks are bad and you develop red spots or inflammation, then you need to treat it as soon as possible to prevent scarring.