Her Check-Up: Overcoming Acne
Whether it’s that time of the month, you’ve left your make-up on too long or you suffer from oily skin, acne in adulthood can be annoying, awkward and embarrassing.
Sure the occasional spot is going to happen, but it doesn’t mean we’re happy to sit through nights with our face smothered in sudocreme. Acne can be hard to treat, but it is possible to take some steps to clearer, smoother skin.
So what exactly is acne?
In simple terms, acne is a skin condition that starts when oil and dead skin cells clog up your pores. When you have just a few red spots, or pimples, you have a mild form of acne. Severe acne can mean hundreds of pimples that can cover the face, neck, chest, and back. Acne can also take the form of bigger, solid red lumps that are painful to touch. These are known as cysts.
There are three main types of acne:
Comedonal acne. This is the kind of mild acne that involves blackheads and whiteheads. It forms because a component of skin oil called sebum, along with old skin cells, block the pores of the skin. Comedonal acne appears most often on the forehead, nose, and chin.
Inflammatory acne. This form of acne occurs when the area just under the “plug” (the blackhead or whitehead) becomes reddened and inflamed.
Cystic acne. The most severe form of acne, cystic acne develops as the result of an actual infection in the area of the outbreak. Cystic acne often runs in families, is very painful and can result in scarring of the affected skin area.
How can I treat acne?
Most cases of mild acne occur in late teenage years, but can be a common side condition of hormone changes during a woman’s period. The most common treatment for this form of acne are over-the-counter creams or facial washes that can be recommended by your local pharmacist.
If your acne is flared by your period, consult your doctor who may be able to offer an oral contraceptive pill that can help with symptoms of your skin condition.
Other tips for keeping acne at bay include washing your make-up off before bed every night with a good facial scrub, washing make-up brushes regularly to avoid build-up of product, avoiding greasy foods that may irritate the skin and drinking eight glasses of water each day. Also make sure to change bedding regularly as sweating during your sleep can build up on your sheets.
For more stubborn cases of acne, or for those suffering with cysts, a trip to a dermatologist may help in working out a treatment to best suit your skin type. This can range from antibiotics, to diet plans, or microdermabrasion treatment in more severe cases.
Remember, however tempting it is, avoid popping, picking or scraping at acne. This may cause scarring, spread the infection and will leave the skin open to more bacteria.
If your acne is persistent, or symptoms are getting progressively worse, book in to see your doctor to talk through all possible treatment options.