Acne is an inflammatory condition of the hair follicles and oil glands present on the skin. Usually starting at the age of 12 for boys and 10-11 for girls, this skin condition affects an estimated 85% of teens. Contrary to popular belief, there is a very limited link between acne and diet. The actual cause in teenagers is hormonal changes secondary to the onset of puberty that leads to the production of more hair follicles and oil glands. Besides hormonal changes, improper skin cleansing, microbial infections and dietary triggers are also known to cause acne. Regardless of the cause, you need to adopt following effective ways to treat troublesome symptoms of acne.
Wash your face regularly
Toxins and other environmental factors like UV light, dust and grime are some important triggers of acne in teenage. Washing your face at least twice to remove excess oil and eliminate trapped toxins and grime can help prevent your skin pores from getting clogged and inflamed. After exercising and just before going to bed, wash your face with an oil-free cleanser such as Cetaphil.
Always use mild products or those after consultation with a dermatologist as using harsh products or scrubbing your facial skin too much can lead to more inflammation and redness.
Avoid touching your face
Popping or squeezing your acne pimples might seem like an easy fix, however, habitual touching or picking up pimples can only cause infection, inflammation or scarring and make your acne worse. Bacteria and other pathogens can easily transfer from your fingernails and start causing infection on a new site. Therefore, you should avoid habitually scratching your facial skin or sleeping with your face touching your hands or arms.
Don't forget to exfoliate
Exfoliation means gently scrubbing the upper layer of dead or unhealthy skin cells to remove superficial blackheads and clean out clogged pores. Remember that scrubbing too much can even make your acne worse, therefore, you should use exfoliating scrubs made especially for delicate facial skin. Also, make sure that before exfoliation both your scrub and face are wet. For best results, apply a little bit mild cleanser to the scrub and start exfoliating your face in a circular motion. Rinse with plain water and dry your face with a paper towel or soft cloth. Exfoliate two to three times per week.
Keep well hydrated and eat healthily
Your skin needs a lot of water and essential nutrients to eliminate toxins and remain fresh. Water is important for skin hydration and adequate moisturization while nutrients like vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids are important to maintain your skin integrity and maintain its optimal health. You should aim for at least 8 glasses of water per day and focus more on a healthy diet such as whole grains, nuts, beans and fresh vegetables and fruits.
Avoiding junk food such as those containing refined sugar and sweets like cookies, candy, and white grains is also important. They are known to cause a spike in your blood pressure and stimulate the production of insulin; both causes increased oil production and help trigger acne.
Consider using herbal remedies
Plant-based remedies like lemon juice extract, tea tree oil extract, azelaic acid cream, raw (unripe) papaya fruit, green tea extract, licorice root extract and aloe vera gel work as antiseptics, anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, and as exfoliating (peeling) agents. Discuss your symptoms and usage safety with your herbalist before purchasing any herbal product.
Use over-the-counter medications (OTCs) or consult a dermatologist
Certain over the counter medicines are useful and proven very effective in treating acne due to infections or hormonal disturbances. Two of the most famous OTC for acne treatment include benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. They both come in gels/creams (good for spot treatment) and soaps, lotions and pads (best for use on the entire face). OTC medications may have mild to severe side effects, therefore you should consult your dermatologist for their safety and effectiveness.