Fact #1: Acne usually begins with blackheads
Blackheads are not dirt, they're actually the result of oil and dead cells getting trapped in a pore where they block the duct and mix with bacteria. They then turn black when exposed to air. Red pimples develop when blackheads become inflamed and they spread when touched with dirty hands. When the pimple becomes infected, it develops a whitehead or pustule. These can break and cause scars. So how to banish blackheads? Gently, according to San Francisco Seth Matarasso to InStyle Magazine. People tend to scrub too hard which causes inflammation, he says. Instead of a grainy scrub, Matarasso suggests trying an exfoliant with alpha-hydroxy acids. You can also use a salicylic acid cleanser . These chemical products clean out pores better than scrubs. For a great quick fix.
Fact #2: There are several causes of adult acne
These are: Stress, bad cosmetics, hormones and birth control pills. Stress causes your oil glands to overcompensate. Bad cosmetics lead to bacteria-laden pores. Hormones cause the sebacuous glands to overact and birth control pills with androgen in them can cause breakouts. To keep breakouts at bay, look for oil-free, non-acnegenic products
Fact #3: Cheese and chocolate have nothing to do with your acne
Your skin, however, WILL benefit from a good facial. Why? Because acne is not a disease, rather it is a condition of the skin and a good facialist knows exactly what your skin needs: Sulfur, zinc and camphor masks, exfoliation, blackhead extractions and at-home follow-up.
Fact #4: Don't treat adult acne like the teen kind
The products you used as a teenager won't work on adult skin. Here's a 2-step program for cleansing and treating your blemished skin: Step 1: Pick the right cleanser. Look for medicated cleansers with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Step 2: Exfoliate with a salicylic acid treatment, which will clean out pores. Just don't exfoliate too much or scrub too hard (see the blackhead section above). Two to 3 times a week is perfect.
Fact #5: Treatment systems have completely cleared up skin on many people
Proactiv Solution 3-step System ($40 at proactiv.com) is a classic kit that has worked wonders on many. L'Oreal Acne Response Daily Adult Acne Regimen is a 3-step program that is highly recommended.
Fact #6: The dermatologist will clear your skin up fast
Too many women wait to see a doctor for their skin problems. If you have basic acne, over-the-counter treatments with salicylic acid (there's that magic word again) to unclog pores and benzoyl peroxide to reduce bacteria on skin should do you, but for serious acne, a dermatologist has an arsenal of products to clear up your skin. Retinoids, antibiotics, azelaic acid and birth control pills are all options usually covered by insurance. You might consider laser treatments, but these are more costly (about $500-$2,400). Severe cases are best cleared up by Accutane, which is a 5-month course that is considered the most effective treatment available. It can, however, cause serious birth defects if taken during pregnancy.
Fact #7: Yes, those new machines that target acne do work
We were surprised to hear this as well, but the reports are out on machines like Zeno Acne Clearing Device and they are good. They won't help blackheads or deep cystic acne, but they do work for your general run-of-the-mill pimples, according to the April, 2006, issue of Glamour. So how do they work? The Zeno, which is a handheld machine that looks like an iPod, works by driving heat through a pimple. The heat kills the bacteria and supposedly improves blood circulation to the affected area so it heals faster. Clinical trials show 90% of pimples treated with Zeno disappeared or were significantly reduced within 24 hours.