Isotretinoin is a particularly strong retinoid. It has a mixed reputation, but among dermatologists it’s the finisher for patients with severe acne. “If you have an acne patient that doesn’t respond to anything, [isotretinoin] can really be a game changer,” board-certified dermatologist Adam Friedman tells SELF. Commonly referred as Accutane even though that particular brand was discontinued, isotretinoin is an oral retinoid, and it has all the same benefits of a topical retinol but is even more effective.
A review published in the Archives of Dermatological Research found evidence that sleep deprivation, stress and other aspects of “modern life” are linked to adult female acne. The researchers point out that “Modern life presents many stresses including urban noises, socioeconomic pressures and light stimuli. Women are especially affected by stress during daily routine. Women also have a higher risk of developing psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety. Sleep restriction is added to these factors, with several negative consequences on health, including on hormonal secretion and the immune system.” (7)
There's more to treating acne than just washing your face twice a day and applying layers and layers of zit cream to any blemishes that pop up — and it starts when you're sleeping. "If you are acne-prone, it is important to change your pillowcase every day or every few days as opposed to every week," advises Debra Jaliman M.D., board-certified NYC dermatologist and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets From A Top New York Dermatologist. And when it comes to choosing pillowcases, stick with cotton. "Cotton pillowcases are better than other fabrics because they are natural fabrics and they breathe," Jaliman says.
Eating healthy is vital to keep your organs functioning properly, and don't forget — your skin is an organ. "Our skin is a bellwether of our internal health, and so what we eat can either help or hurt our skin," explains Maria Marlowe, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and the creator of EatBeauty, a 12-week program and meal plan for reversing acne. Marlowe says for the clearest skin, you generally want to stay away from sugary, processed foods. "Research shows that eating a high-glycemic diet, one that spikes your blood sugar, particularly one filled with sugar and refined foods, can trigger redness and acne breakouts," she advises. So the next time you get a donut craving, consider opting for a smoothie instead. "Anti-inflammatory foods, such as dark leafy greens, blueberries, and broccoli can help bring down that inflammation and keep our skin clear and glowing," says Marlowe.
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.
Papaya is a natural remedy for the acne problems. It is an essential ingredient in various beauty products. Raw papaya, when used on face, removes dead cells and extra oil from the skin. The enzyme papain in papaya helps in preventing the formation of pus. Mash some papaya pulp and apply it on the face. Leave it for 15-20 minutes. Rinse your face with clean water and pat dry. This is a good acne remedy that work.
Remember, fighting acne requires both external treatment and an internal treatment. Live probiotics support healthy digestion and immune system functioning, plus improves skin health by fighting acne. According to a recent study published in Dermatology Online Journal, researchers indicate that probiotic foods and supplements are promising and safe home remedies for acne. (15) The study indicates that larger trials are still needed, but evidence thus far is promising for using probiotics to improve gut health and fight acne.
Everyone's shower routine is a little different, but typically consist of the same three things: body, face, and hair. But one thing you might never have thought of is that the same products that make our hair silky smooth "contain ingredients that can cause congestion on our face," says licensed esthetician Jill Jodar. "If you cleanse in the shower, be sure to do it last, and don't neglect the hairline, neck, and around the ears," suggests Jodar. That way, you're getting rid of the leftover shampoo and conditioner, as well as the dirt and grime on your face.
Commercial sunscreens are packed with harmful chemicals that can irritate sensitive skin and acne-prone skin. Research shows that coconut oil has an SPF value of 8, as does olive oil. (14) To use as sun protection, apply a moderate amount to exposed skin every couple of hours and try to avoid spending too much time in direct sunlight during “peak” hours, which is about from 10am-3pm each day.
Treatment of acne scars: For those patients whose acne has gone away but left them with permanent scarring, several options are available. These include surgical procedures to elevate deep, depressed acne scars and laser resurfacing to smooth out shallow acne scars. Newer forms of laser resurfacing ("fractional resurfacing") are less invasive and heal faster than older methods, although results are less complete and the procedures may need to be repeated three or more times. These treatments can help, but they are never completely successful at eliminating acne scars.
Dermatologists aren’t sure why azelaic acid is so effective at clearing up inflammation, but it’s often used as an option for sensitive skin or pregnant patients. The ingredient is good at treating malasma, acne, and rosacea, Dr. Linkner says. Your dermatologist can prescribe products with high concentrations of azelaic acid, and you can also find over-the-counter options with lower concentrations of this active ingredient.
There’s another downside to isotretinoin: It requires a lot of paperwork and office visits. Since isotretinoin can cause birth defects, you have to come into the dermatologist once a month to get a pregnancy test and take a lengthy survey with questions about your sex life to prove that you are using sufficient birth control. These precautions are intense, but dermatologists agree that the final results for isotretinoin are like no other. “This is one of the few medicines that I can look [patients] in the eye and guarantee them it will work,” Dr. Friedman says.
The pack of sandalwood and rosewater is considered to be very soothing for face. The anti-microbial properties of sandalwood help in cleaning the face and maintain its flawless glow. Put 2 tablespoon of sandalwood powder in a mixing bowl. Add pure rosewater to make a pack. Mix it carefully to avoid lumps. Now, wash your face with clean water and apply the pack, gently. Let it dry for 20 minutes. Clean your face with cold water and pat with a towel. You can also pour a few drops of glycerine to boost the curing process.
How to Handle It: Speaking of touching, don't! Picking it, squeezing it, or poking at it will only worsen the situation. These may disappear on their own after a few days. Otherwise, Zeichner suggests visiting your dermatologist for a shot of cortisone, which will reduce inflammation and shrink it in just 24 to 48 hours. But if a last-minute appointment isn't in the cards, play mad scientist. First, ice the area, and then apply salicylic acid gel, benzoyl peroxide gel, and 1 percent hydrocortisone cream. The combo will calm skin, kill bacteria, and draw out excess oil from the pimple — all things necessary to take this down, says Zeichner.
As tempting as it is to pop that sucker, sometimes that just isn’t the way to go, as it will only make the problem worse. I struggled with acne as a teenager and learned a thing or two about putting those pimples in their place. At first, I would resort to popping anything that appeared on my cheeks or forehead, but this led to scarring and took a toll on my confidence for a while.
Blue light rays penetrate follicles to kill off acne-causing bacteria. For severe cases, photodynamic therapy adds a topical solution called Levulan to blue light therapy. Note that these treatments can cause temporary redness and may not be covered by insurance. Prices vary greatly depending on the location and severity of acne, but can cost at least $50 for one blue light treatment and $100 or more per photodynamic therapy session. Most patients will need multiple treatments to see effective results, but many dermatologists offer package deals.
The Pore Targeting Treatment gel and Complexion Perfecting Hydrator moisturizer slip on nicely, with the former powered by skin-loving glycerin and the latter by a whole slew of delicious ingredients, like licorice root extract, sodium hyaluronate, bisabolol, and allantoin. The three-step solution is easy to use and makes cleansing the face a quick, efficient process.
The Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution is mostly water, but its 2 percent salicylic acid is enough to eat through oil and remove the dead skin cells clogging your pores — and it boasts a higher concentration than nearly every other kit we looked at. Sodium hyaluronate, the super-moisturizing humectant we fell in love with in our review on the Best Face Moisturizer, also caught our eye sitting smack dab in the middle of the ingredients list.
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.