How To Get Rid of Acne: Our 10 Tips for Removing and Healing Acne

At some point in our lives, we are all affected by acne. Be it whiteheads, pimples, cysts or blackheads, acne is reported to affect nearly 5.6-million Canadians per year, and up to 50-million Americans annually. Although there are different degrees of acne, with risk factors being your menstrual cycle, genetics, stress and anxiety, the makeup you wear, and the food you eat, it can take a toll on all of us mentally as we embark on a clear skin journey. 

Today, we outline 10 tips for treating mild and moderate acne, as well as severe acne. We outline how to diagnose, treat, and remove acne slowly yet surely, with the guidance of professionals to hopefully be a part of the light at the end of your acne struggles.

 

MILD TO MODERATE ACNE

WHAT IT IS:

Mild acne is defined as having few and far between breakouts, in the form of blackheads or whiteheads. It will usually pop in an isolated area of the face or body, and is often treatable through a proper skincare regimen and hygiene. 

According to the Canadian Dermatology Association, “[acne] occurs when pores become clogged by dead skin cells resulting in accumulation of sebum, an oily substance produced by oil glands.” And according to Medical News Today, mild acne is formed when the hair follicles then become blocked, forming clogged pores (or scientifically, comedones).

Once the comedone is formed with moderate acne, it is then mixed with harmful bacteria known as Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes). This leads to inflamed acne such as papules (small pimples/bumps) and whiteheads and looks like red, infected bumps.

 

HOW TO TREAT MILD/MODERATE ACNE:

Treatment for mild and moderate acne includes updating your skincare regimen and implementing lifestyle changes to keep your skin clean, hydrated, and healthy. This includes the following:

1. WASH YOUR FACE

We always recommend washing your face twice daily and should always be the first step in your skincare routine. We recommend a gentle, non-drying cleanser with active ingredients such as salicylic acid, or lotus flower extract, which being anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, shed the dead skin cells on the top layer of your face. 

2. EXFOLIATE (WEEKLY!)

Exfoliation is key in the treatment and removal of acne. Why? Because the acne-causing bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes, thrives on those dead skin cells. However, the right mode of exfoliation is key when it comes to mild to moderate acne struggles: 

We would never recommend using a physical exfoliator—like a facial scrub or cleansing cost—as this can inflame the skin, and they are breeding grounds for bacteria when left sitting on your vanity. Instead, opt for a chemical exfoliant with enzymes like papain (derived from papaya) bromelain (derived from pineapple), baobab extract, ​​and glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid. Exfoliation can be done once weekly and is ideal for mild to moderate acne, as well as blackheads and clogged pores. 

3. REMEMBER THE MOISTURIZER

First and foremost, it’s a common misconception that acne-prone skin does not require added moisture. By using ingredients like exfoliating acids and prescription topicals, the skin is more prone to drying and requires moisture more than ever. 

"Many acne medications work by targeting oil glands and decreasing production of oil on the skin," says dermatologist Dr. Nazarian to Well + Good. "So it's important to use a moisturizer to keep your skin moisturized so that it can tolerate the acne regimen.”

Lack of hydration also can make skin appear more inflamed, and as we’ve come to know so well, become lackluster. That doesn't mean that all ingredients are made the same, though, and for moisturizing acne-prone skin. According to Dr. Rachel Nazarian, a New York-based dermatologist interviewed in Well + Good, choosing 

4. TREAT

Additional active ingredients to look out for in acne-fighting cleansers include benzoyl peroxide, retinol, sulfur, tea tree oil, alpha-hydroxy acids, and retinol. This is often found in topical serums at your pharmacy and means removing pollutants, viruses, bacteria, dirt, and old skin cells. The treatment phase of your skincare routine also means exfoliating dead skin cells, resulting in a fresher palette for your active ingredients further along with your skincare routine, to sink right in. 

 

SEVERE ACNE

WHAT IT IS:

According to Medical News Today, the main cause of hormonal acne is a shift in your hormone balance. “The rise in androgen levels can trigger a process of higher sebum production, changes in skin cell activity, inflammation, and colonization of the hair follicles by a bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). This can lead to acne,” the publication says. When the body is making excess sebum, this then clumps together in the pore alongside dead skin cells. From there, an acne lesion—like papules, nodules, cysts, or pustules—are formed. 

For those suffering from severe acne, there are most likely two things at play: genetics and hormones:

Genetically— specifically if both of your biological parents suffered from acne, too—can give you a clear insight into your skin health future. For many, if their parents suffered from overactive sebaceous glands (which leads to more prevalence of acne during puberty or adulthood) this may be the case for the individual, too.

For hormonal acne—be it pustules, cysts, or nodules—this can be caused by a hormonal imbalance such as an increase in testosterone and androgens. For many women with hormonal disorders, like polycystic ovary syndrome or endometriosis, the stakes for having cystic, inflamed acne is much higher, often presenting itself around the jawline. Other hormonal acne can also be found commonly along the cheekbones, or on the forehead.

 

SEVERE ACNE TREATMENT: 

1. TOPICAL MEDICATIONS

Working alongside your doctor, common topical prescriptions include Benzoyl peroxide, Salicylic Acid, Retinoids, and Antibiotics. Benzoyl peroxide targets the surface bacteria on the skin, which is known to aggravate the present acne. Salicylic helps to exfoliate the top layer of any damaged skin, but also slews away dead skin cells, and prevents your hair follicles from becoming clogged. Retinoids are another option, which can be used all over the face to dissolve blackheads, reduce whitehead formation, and prevent new pimples from forming. Lastly, antibiotics control the bacteria found on the skin and can reduce swelling.

2. ORAL MEDICATIONS

Antibiotics, oral contraception, and Isotretinoin are options depending on your diagnosis and evaluation completed by your doctor.

3. OTHER TREATMENTS

We are a believer in skin technology and recommend that seeking facial treatments can provide many benefits when warding off acne, removing acne scars, and all around improving the skin health of your visage. We are fans of chemical peels such as Azelaic or Lactic) that can help remove the top layer of the skin and to help the long-term healing process of acne. We also are a fan of laser treatment, as this can induce collagen production in the skin, and also remove hyperpigmentation found in acne scarring. 

Secondly, we always recommend treating, removing, and healing acne from the inside out. We have personally seen the benefits of nutritional changes and supplements, as guided by our trusted naturopaths. Some of these supplements include pro and prebiotics, Vitamin D, and Omegas.

Remember, every individual is unique in their skincare journey. We hope we are a resource for those looking to reduce, remove, and treat acne, but for those also looking for the light at the end of a tunnel for acne solutions. 

Questions, comments, or concerns? We’d love to hear from you. Simply reach out at info@firstbaseskincare.com.

 

Written by Imogen Jefferies 

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