Stubborn Acne

Acne is a common skin condition. But that doesn’t make it any more bearable. Constantly having pimples pop up on your skin is frustrating, and it can negatively impact your self-esteem. What’s even more stressful is trying your hardest to combat acne without any success. Sound familiar?

If you’re struggling to get rid of stubborn acne, this article is for you. From switching up your skincare products to getting prescribed acne treatment, here are five ways to help you achieve clear skin:

1. Use Prescription Medication

The truth is, your skin’s appearance has a lot to do with genetics and your overall health. While you might think the answer is as simple as finding the right cleanser, it’s not always that easy. If you’ve exhausted all other options but still don’t have clear skin, it’s time to contact a medical provider.

A doctor can evaluate your skin and create an acne treatment plan that includes specific medication. For example, they might prescribe birth control, topicals, antibiotics, retinoids, or spironolactone. These can be effective treatments for combating acne because they often treat the underlying cause.

Birth control, for example, is great for those who experience hormonal acne. Taking birth control pills can lower the amount of androgen in your body. Less androgen means less sebum. And since sebum causes acne by sending dead skin cells to the surface of the skin, taking birth control can help.

2. Determine Your Type of Acne

One of the first things you should do before trying to treat your acne is to determine the type of acne you have. Believe it or not, not every bump is the same. For example, while a whitehead looks like a pimple, it isn’t red or inflamed. A blackhead looks like a black dot on your skin and usually isn’t inflamed, either.

If you see a tiny and inflamed red bump, you have what’s called a papule. If that papule has pus, it’s a pustule. A cyst is another common type of acne. It’s typically a painful, inflamed bump, with pus that develops below the skin’s surface.

Once you identify your specific type of acne, you can find products specifically designed to get rid of it. Whether that’s a charcoal mask to remove blackheads or applying heat to shrink cysts, your treatment will vary based on your needs.

3. Know Your Skin Type

Do you know your skin type? Even if you answered “yes,” it’s a good idea to check. The thing is, as we age and move around, our skin type evolves. Your dermatologist might’ve determined you had dry skin when you were younger, but that might not be the case now.

Take a minute to check in with your skin and its symptoms. Does your skin often feel tight, even after you’ve washed and moisturized? You might have dry skin. Does your skin look oily, maybe even shiny? You might have oily skin.

Does your skin feel tight in some areas but shine in others? Sounds like combination skin. If your skin is irritated easily by-products, even ones that aren’t necessarily harsh, you probably have sensitive skin.

Once you know your skin type, make sure you’re using products specifically designed for your skin. For example, if you have sensitive skin, you shouldn’t use a cleanser targeted for oily skin because the ingredients will likely be too harsh.

4. Try OTC Products

Over-the-counter products (OTC) aren’t as intense as prescription medication, but they can do wonders for your acne. When shopping for these products, avoid ones with acne-causing ingredients. For example, argan oil, coconut oil, and acetylated lanolin. While these ingredients are often labeled “natural,” they can wreak havoc if you have acne-prone skin.

Look for products with benzoyl peroxide instead. This ingredient is a topical that prevents bacteria buildup and can reduce inflammation. Thankfully, many OTC products contain benzoyl peroxide. For example, CeraVe offers an acne foaming cleanser with benzoyl peroxide, as does Neutrogena and Differin.

You should also look for other acne-fighting ingredients like glycolic acid and salicylic acid. Both ingredients are effective at removing dead skin cells and creating even smooth skin.

Keep in mind, it’s a good idea to do your research before purchasing a new product. Make sure you know every main ingredient and how it could potentially impact your skin.

5. Wash Your Face

You know it’s important to wash your face. But do you know why? When you wash your face, you remove excess buildup on your skin that could cause acne. Because of this, you should wash your face every single day — more than once, in fact.

According to experts, you should aim to wash your face twice a day: once in the morning and once at night. But if you exercise in the afternoon, go ahead and wash your face afterward even though it’s not technically morning or at night. What matters most is that you’re cleaning your skin.

You might be thinking, “I can wash my face way more than twice a day.” Well, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. In fact, overwashing can actually cause acne. That’s because it can strip your skin of natural sebum, causing the skin to produce more oil and in turn, pimples. Do your best to stick to the two-a-day rule when it comes to washing your face.

According to research, 90% of people experience acne at some point in their life. Thankfully, there are ways to combat even the most stubborn of acne. Using the tips above will help you get control of your skin, and hopefully, keep it clear for the long haul.


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