But the side effects of targeted breakout cream treatments aren’t always worth it. “So many products instruct consumers to use benzoyl peroxide spot treat red bumps and pustules. I don’t recommend it,” says Dr. Lawrence Green, board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at George Washington University. Such high concentrations of benzoyl peroxide cause added irritation and inflammation to already sensitive skin, so with this in mind, we cut kits that included spot treatments.
There’s evidence that eating a low glycemic diet, meaning one that doesn’t include lots of processed grains/flour products and added sugar, is one the best home remedies for acne because it can help prevent it. Glycemic index measures how quickly foods raise blood sugar. Processed and refined foods, like those common in the Western diet, are high-glycemic, while meats and whole plant foods are low on the glycemic scale.
Your skin needs to retain a lower, acidic-ranged pH to kill off germs and maintain its moisture barrier, which helps prevent acne. Regularly abusing baking soda can unnaturally raise your skin’s pH level, making it easier for bacteria to grow– kind of counterproductive, right? Plus, baking soda can cause micro-abrasions, teeny tiny cuts in your skin. This is like rolling out the welcome mat for acne and infections.
This is probably one of the best things that you can put on your face to reduce acne. The benefits of tea tree oil are well known, which is probably why it’s an ingredient in so many acne products on the market. It is a solvent that helps eliminate clogged pores! In a cup, mix one teaspoon of tea tree oil with nine teaspoons of water to thin it out. Dip a cotton swab into the solution and apply it to your pimples.
If you have to option to get into a sauna, this can be quite beneficial as well. A sauna will allow your pores to open up and the heat will encourage sweating to help detoxify Your body. If you are going to go to the sauna, then you want to make sure that you bring a bottle of water with you. Because you will be losing fluid as you sweat in the sauna, it is imperative that you replenish this lost fluid.
Every expert we spoke with said the most critical part of combating acne is combating it every day. “The only way to make any medication work is to use it on a daily basis,” says Dr. Green. Aesthetician and Rodan + Fields Consultant, Jessica Fitz Patrick emphasizes that it really comes down to what you can maintain for the long term: “Kits are great because they take out all the guesswork -- you just follow the instructions. But if four steps is going to be too many for you to keep up week after week, you’ll be better off finding one that has fewer treatments.”
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How to Handle It: Your best bet is benzoyl peroxide. "Benzoyl peroxide can kill acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation," says Zeichner. Try a cream like the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual-Action Acne Treatment ($37), which also exfoliates with lipo-hydroxy acid. Be aware that it can seriously dry out skin so moisturize well after you use it.
We suggest avoiding spot treatments. “Benzoyl peroxide, when placed on red spots, can actually cause more irritation and inflammation to the area. It’s best used to prevent red bumps and pustules, and applied all over the area you want to treat,” said Townsend, who was also quick to naysay a spot-treat-only approach: “Acne affects all of the pores. If someone is going to spot treat against my advice, I still suggest they spot treat one day and treat the whole face the next.”
Benzoyl peroxide attacks the P. acnes bacteria. However, one of its main side effects is dryness: If you’re going to use anything with benzoyl peroxide, make sure to moisturize afterwards. Sulfur and azelaic acid are less common and less severe alternatives to benzoyl peroxide. Dr. Peter Lio, assistant professor of clinical dermatology at Northwestern University, says sulfur-based treatments are “a good fit for patients who can’t tolerate the side effects of benzoyl peroxide.”
This is a wonderful fact that toothpaste is also useful in treating acne. It is one of the best and simplest home remedies for acne. Simply apply some toothpaste on acne and leave it overnight. The toothpaste will effectively reduce the swelling of acne. It will also dry out the acne. For its effective results, practise the method daily and see the difference in two or three days.
Sugar is a natural exfoliator, which easily opens up the clogged pores. Take 1½ cup of white sugar and 1½ cup of brown sugar. Add 2-3 tablespoons of coarse sea salt. Also add a half cup of olive oil. Add one whole vanilla bean and ten tablespoons of vanilla extract. Mix all the ingredients well and store it in a jar. Now, use one spoon daily as a scrub.
Exfoliating cleansers and masks: A variety of mild scrubs, exfoliants, and masks can be used. These products may contain salicylic acid in a concentration that makes it a very mild peeling agent. These products remove the outer layer of the skin and thus open pores. Products containing glycolic or alpha hydroxy acids are also gentle skin exfoliants.
Oral contraceptives: Oral contraceptives (birth control pills), which are low in estrogen to promote safety, have little effect on acne one way or the other. Some contraceptive pills have been shown to have modest effectiveness in treating acne. Those that have been U.S. FDA approved for treating acne are Estrostep, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, and Yaz. Most dermatologists work together with primary care physicians or gynecologists when recommending these medications.
Buying a facial cleanser can be intimidating. There are so many different products that all promise you clear, radiant skin. Between the cleansers, scrubs, and toners, it's easy to go overboard when it comes to washing your face. But when it comes to scoring zit-free skin, board certified dermatologist and medical director and founder of California Dermatology Specialists, Dr. Eric Meinhardt, says simple is usually better. "Routines that are complex with multiple steps are often too harsh for the skin," says Dr. Meinhardt, so don't worry about stocking up on tons of products or subscribing to a multi-step routine.
Some people use natural treatments like tea tree oil (works like benzoyl peroxide, but slower) or alpha hydroxy acids (remove dead skin and unclog pores) for their acne care. Not much is known about how well many of these treatments work and their long-term safety. Many natural ingredients are added to acne lotions and creams. Talk to your doctor to see if they’re right for you.