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Treating and Preventing Acne
by: Elizabeth McGee
Acne is a common skin condition that almost everyone
experiences at some point in their lives.

While it is most common in teens and young adults,
over 80% experience at least some mild form of acne.
Most people outgrow their acne by their 20's, however,
some people, especially women can experience outbreaks
in their 40's.

Acne typically occurs on the face but is known to
also occur on the neck, chest, shoulders or back. It
shows up in the form of pimples, generally known
as whiteheads or blackheads. Large, deep pimples are
known as cystic lesions. These are painful lesions
in the pores which can lead to scarring.

Elevated hormone levels, typically caused during puberty,
simulate sebaceous glands which produces sebum (or oil).
Sebum combines with dead skin cells forming a plug in the
skin's pores. Whiteheads and blackheads are clogged
pores. Cystic lesions on the other hand, are when bacteria
grows under the clogged pores with the mixture of sebum
and cells. This mixture can spread causing inflammation,
redness and pus.

Acne Treatments
While there is no cure for acne, there are a number of
treatments used to reduce or eliminate outbreaks and
hopefully prevent scarring.

- Benzoyl peroxide lotions often control mild acne and help
in preventing new outbreaks. If these treatments do not
work, a doctor can prescribe topical antibiotics to help
kill the bacteria.

- Moderate to severe acne can often be controlled by
combining topical benzoyl peroxide along with oral
antibiotics. The combination has an increased effectiveness
while decreasing the risk of developing bacteria that are
resistant to antibiotics.

- Acne with large painful cystic lesions might require a
prescription treatment of topical retinoid (vitamin A).

- Recently, light wave therapy which has been federally
approved, uses a narrow-band, high intensity blue light
to treat mild to moderate acne. It is primarily used for
conditions that have not responded to other treatments.

- Acne Prevention
It's difficult, at best, to prevent acne but there are several
things you can do at home to keep it from getting worse.

- Gently wash your face every day. Take care not to scrub
too hard or use scrubbing materials. Harsh scrubs can scratch
your pores making acne worse. Also do not wash too
often. Once or twice a day is generally sufficient.

-Avoid excessive sweating. Sweating can be hard to
avoid, however wash soon after participating in activities
that cause you to sweat.

- Wash your hair often if you hair is oily. Also try to keep
it off your face as much as possible.

- Avoid hair care products such as gels, mousses, cream
rinses or hair products that contain lots of oils. These can
actually make your acne worse.

- Use cosmetic products labeled noncomedogenic or oil-free.
also avoid shimmering facial colors. These can contain a flaky
mineral called mica that can cause skin irritations and clog
your pores.

- Use Sunscreens. Always use a sunscreen.
The sun is never good for your skin.

- Natural remedies are often great places to start followed by
a good, healthy diet. Your skin is your body's largest organ.
If what you eat is good for your body, it will be good for your

If acne persists and you are plagued by painful cystic
lesions, it's best to consult your physician.

About the Author

Elizabeth is a skincare enthusiast who reviews quality fine skin care products and researches serious skin care practices. Visit Elizabeth at


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