Acne is an unpleasant skin affliction. It can affect anyone, at any time, but acne is more common in teenagers and young adults and 80% of people in this age bracket are affected at some point. Even older people can suffer from acne flare-ups. Stress and hormonal upheaval all play a part.
At its worst, acne causes great distress and heartache. If you have acne, you may have everything from small pustules and blackheads to large cysts and nodules. This will undoubtedly affect your self-esteem. Because acne is such a confidence killer, you shouldn’t just accept bad skin as your lot in life. There are plenty of treatments available, some of which you can try at home.
Anyone with severe acne, that is, large boils, cysts, and nodules, or acne that covers their face, shoulders, chest, and back, should make an appointment with their GP. Simple self-help techniques will help, but you may need more concentrated treatments. If you live in London, make an appointment at the The Dermatology Clinic who are renowned for their skin treatments. They can help when over-the-counter remedies haven’t worked, or your skin isn’t responding to topical treatments.
Here are some remedies that anyone with mild to moderate acne can try at home. They can be used alone or in conjunction with topical treatments recommended by a dermatologist or GP.
Face Washing and Cleansing
When your face is spotty, it is very tempting to wash and scrub it to try and remove the excess oil and clear those annoying blackheads. Unfortunately, this is the very worst thing you can do. Washing and scrubbing your skin will only irritate it and make it more inflamed. This, in turn, will exacerbate your symptoms.
Try and refrain from washing your face and other affected areas more than twice a day. Use a mild soap and warm water or a cleanser designed for acne-prone skin. Look for oil-free cleansers that won’t upset the delicate balance of your skin. Some cleansers contain Benzoyl peroxide, which helps to dry up excess oil, but these can be harsh on the skin. Try not to overuse products containing Benzoyl peroxide. If it dries your skin out too much, alternate with cleansers that contain other active ingredients. Look for cleansers and face wash products that contain Salicylic acid, purifying charcoal, vitamin C, vitamin B5, vitamin E, and natural ingredients such as tea tree oil and mint.
If you prefer to keep it natural, wash your face with warm water and a clean flannel.
Don’t forget to moisturise your skin after cleansing. Just because you have acne-prone skin, it doesn’t mean it won’t get dry. Use a light oil-free moisturiser or water-based emollient to keep your skin nice and soft.
Don’t Pick at Your Skin
We’ve all done it. When a huge zit appears, it is super tempting to squeeze it, but this is a seriously bad idea. Picking at spots, trying to remove blackheads, and squeezing pustules only makes the problem worse. All you end up doing is pushing the infection deeper into the skin and spreading bacteria wider. It can also lead to scarring.
The only person qualified to squeeze spots or evacuate blackheads is a dermatologist. They know how to do it efficiently and safely, so don’t try this at home, folks!
Acne-prone, inflamed skin often feels irritated and itchy. This makes you want to scratch, itch, and touch problem areas. Try and avoid touching your skin when it’s inflamed. All you end up doing is transferring bacteria from your hands to your skin, which won’t help.
Makeup and Cosmetics
Instagram stars love to show us how to disguise our spotty skin with heavy layers of makeup. Yes, you can hide your acne with the right makeup products, but wearing a ton of foundation 24/7 is not good for your skin. Sure, it is perfectly OK to apply makeup if you have a date, but ultimately, you have acne and if anyone wants to get to know the real you, they have to learn to love your spots. If someone truly likes you, they won’t care about your skin – it’s worth remembering that!
Where possible, try and avoid wearing makeup all the time. If you do need to wear cosmetics, look for products that are non-comedogenic. These won’t block your pores and make the problem worse. Always remove all traces of makeup before you go to bed.
Take Regular Exercise
Regular exercise won’t miraculously cure your skin, but it will boost your mood and self-esteem. The fitter you feel, the more self-confidence you will have. Just remember to take a shower after a workout, as sweat tends to irritate acne-prone skin.
Some research suggests that eating too much dairy can make acne worse. If you suffer from acne, it is worth switching to non-dairy alternatives to see if it helps improve your skin.
Don’t suffer in silence. There are a great number of effective remedies available, so ask for help.