First of all, don’t be worried about talking to a doctor about something like acne. Dermatologists have talked to countless teens dealing with the exact same thing you are. You should feel comfortable speaking to a dermatologist no matter the severity of your acne, but here are a few cases where you should definitely reach out:
Scarring. Acne can leave behind scar tissue, but just because it’s formed doesn’t mean the damage is done. Seeing a doctor gives you an opportunity to reduce or prevent scarring altogether, and laser therapy procedures can help too.
Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments aren’t working. While benzoyl peroxide and other OTC products don’t fix everything with a snap of the fingers, you should see results over time. If it’s been a few months and your progress is nada, a dermatologist can tell you about treatments that might be better for you.
Acne in females who are considering an oral contraceptive. Dermatologists often prescribe oral contraceptives for acne in women and they can educate you on the ways that your body might be affecting the acne.
Self-esteem. Between homework, homecoming, and parents pestering you about homework and homecoming, being a teenager can already be stressful enough. If acne is weighing on your emotions, talk to someone.
If you do decide to go see a dermatologist, one important thing to do is confirm their experience and that they are Board certified—not all are, so it’s best to double-check!
Even if you’re a shopaholic, buying acne products isn’t necessarily going to be a satisfying form of retail therapy. However, it’s just as important to do your research and figure out what’s best for you. Just like those high-top sneakers you got on sale last month, what works for you might not work for your best friend.
It’s important to know that there isn’t one best product for anyone, no matter what the star-studded infomercials might suggest. Every case is different, and seeing a dermatologist is important to find which product is right for you.
Hygiene can be such a drag, taking precious minutes away from your snooze-button-hitting time every morning—but it’s also the final front in the battle against acne.
Dermatologists not only agree on the importance of face-washing, but they agree on the best way to do it: gently. Washing it too hard can irritate the skin, causing more breakouts. That’s the worst of both worlds. More acne and less sleep? No, thank you!
Make sure that the cleanser you choose is mild —consult your dermatologist if you’d like a recommendation—and wash with clean hands or a very soft facial cloth. If you’d like a little extra firepower, some topical medications are available, but they should only be considered a supplement, never a replacement, for face washing.
Regarding how often you should wash your face, most dermatologists recommend once or twice daily depending on your skin type and condition. No need to do it more than that, as over washing can also make acne worse.
Just like all your favorite accessories, acne comes in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. One of the most popular? Blackheads.
Unlike whiteheads, blackheads remain open at the tip so that the oil and bacteria in your pore can react with the open air, which oxidizes them and changes them to those black dots that tend to hang out all over your nose. Blackheads can take some time to get rid of, but they don’t get inflamed like other acne. Still, they can still be tough to treat and prevent, so check out the tips below for a daily regimen that will help keep them in check:
- Gently wash your face twice a day using only mild cleansers. Stay away from fragrant soaps and cleansers. Many of them dry out and irritate your skin, and there’s no point in smelling like a vanilla breeze if you feel like pepperoni sandpaper.
- If you have a lot of blackheads, make sure to exfoliate every day or every other day to remove dead skin and unclog your pores. Do this with gentle scrubs and wash with your clean hands instead of a rough washcloth, as one may cause further irritation.
- Check your makeup cabinet to double-check that none of your cosmetics are oil-based. These can clog your pores and cause blackheads.
- Eat your fruits and veggies! Some good ones to look out for are carrots, sweet potatoes, and kale, as they have beta-carotene, an antioxidant that works to prevent blackhead breakouts.
- As always, no touching! Your face is a work of art, and just like the Mona Lisa, you’re grubby hands are gonna mess it up. Touching and picking and squeezing can add unwanted oil to your skin as well as further irritate the blackheads.
If you’re having a particularly hard time, look into topical ointments containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or other OTCs such as azelaic acid which can all clear out your pores and get rid of those blackheads.
Brace yourself for some good news. That old story about chocolate making you breakout is just that: a story. As it turns out, it’s relatively unproven and outdated. While there was a study that suggested the two might be related, it has since been deemed too small to draw conclusions from and it only included guys.
That being said, diet can and does have an effect on your acne. Foods you should watch out for? Milk, especially skim milk, and foods that are high on the glycemic index —starchy and sugary foods like potatoes, honey, or even watermelon.
We won’t pretend that teenagers don’t get the brunt of acne’s wrath. They absolutely do—but they’re not the only ones. A 2008 study of over 1,000 people found that nearly half of 20-somethings reported having acne, and for people in their 30s, 35% of women and 20% of men were still dealing with it. The study showed that even people in their 50s — maybe your parents! — have to deal with the annoyance and hassle that is acne.
The takeaway here is that acne can affect everyone, but it doesn’t have to control anyone. Help is available via the resources here at the Clear Skin Project as well as from your own doctor and every acne-sufferer should take advantage of them because everyone deserves to achieve clear, healthy skin.
We all like to get our bronze on from time to time, but it’s important to be mindful of how the sun affects that glowing skin whenever you’ve exposed it for prolonged periods of time. Check out the list below for five reasons to limit your exposure to UV (ultraviolet) rays, whether you’re getting them from a tanning bed or directly from the source:
- It’s only a quick fix. A lot of people think that the sun helps by clearing up acne, but the reality is that tanning, especially with a tanning bed, only temporarily darkens the skin. This creates a short-term fix by covering up the blemishes, swelling, and redness caused by acne, but it doesn’t actually help with the severity of the acne itself.
- Tanning beds themselves might make things worse. When you use a tanning bed, the bacteria left behind by past users can enter your pores, causing inflammation and ultimately, more acne.
- Too much exposure can make your acne worse. Your glands that produce oils are sensitive to light, heat and moisture, and they can start overproducing pore-clogging oil when irritated.
- Your acne medication can’t handle all that sun. Many acne medications, topical or otherwise, can make your skin extra photosensitive, making it even more sensitive to UV damage.
- Acne isn’t the only thing to worry about. Especially in young people, exposure to tanning beds or the sun can cause dry and damaged skin, which can actually lead to the development of premature aging and more serious conditions, like skin cancer.
As with most bad habits, squeezing or popping a pimple may provide short-term relief, but even if you wash the area right away, you won’t be doing your skin any favors in the long run.
On the contrary, squeezing or popping can irritate the skin, spread acne-causing bacteria, and make your acne more prone to scarring. As tough as it might be, the best way to ensure your acne disappears as quickly as possible is to keep your pop-happy fingers away from it.