At one point or another, whether from stress, hormones or genetics, most people suffer from acne outbreaks. Despite popular belief, pimples and acne does not mean the the skin is unclean or dirty. As a matter of fact, over-cleansing can irritate skin and aggravate acne even more. Here are some steps on how to get rid of acne and have healthy, glowing skin once and for all.
Emergency treatments to get rid of acne fast:
Acne spot treatment:
If there are only a few pimples, spot-treatment is better than spreading acne agents all over the skin that can be very drying. Here are some homemade and store-bought options:
- Benzoyl peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide both kills bacteria that induce acne and peels skin layers. This peeling will encourage new healthy layers of skin. Studies have shown that a lower concentration of 2% – 2.5% is as effective, with less skin irritation that a 5% – 10%, so using a less concentrated formula is better and can save money. Benzoyl peroxide should be applied in dabs on spots and left overnight and can also be applied before putting on make up.
- Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid causes skin to peel rapidly and kills bacteria, this leads to the re-growth of healthy, new skin cells. Salicylic acid should be applied in small dabs directly on the pimples and a small amount of the surrounding area. For best results, leave on overnight during sleep.
- Aspirin: Aspirin is good for pimples are red and irritated since it is a anti-inflammatory. To apply, crush and grind up aspirin as finely as possible then add drops of water at a time and mix until a thick paste is achieved. Dab the aspirin paste directly onto the pimples and let it dry. Leaving the paste on overnight during sleep will produce best results.
- Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial that can assist with clearing out clogging microbes from the skin. To apply tea tree oil, put a small amount on a cotton swab and dab on pimples and effected areas. Be careful not to apply too much because tea tree oil can burn the skin and increase redness when used excessively.
- Toothpaste: Toothpaste is a great alternative in a pinch if none of the above products are immediately available. Dab a small amount of toothpaste enough to cover pimples and a small amount of surrounding area to dry them out and leave it on overnight. Lack of oxygen will typically make pimples smaller and less noticeable.
- Steroid injections: This is a good method for eliminating pimples before a big event such as a Prom dance or graduation. Only dermatologists can apply steroid injections and they can dramatically reduce big pimples in less than a day. Steroid injections are approximately $150 per shot.
- Avoid “picking” or “popping”: Avoid the temptation to attack pimples with brute force. Popping and picking at pimples is very tempting but the bacteria from fingernails only worsens and prolongs the situation and can lead to permanent scarring. Although very difficult, practice patience and know that pimples are temporary and will go away faster if treated properly and left alone.
Acne treatment for larger areas:
Good news! It’s still treatable if there is a breakout across the face instead of a few pimples. Treatment is not immediate but it is possible to reduce the swelling redness.
- Salicylic acid: There are several face washes that contain salicylic acid designed to be used over the entire face. Such washes are designed to kill bacteria and encourage the skin to shed and grow new skin cells. After cleansing the face and neck, it’s best to gently pat dry skin with a soft towel instead of rubbing or scrubbing the skin.
- Exfoliate wash: Using gentle exfoliants wash away dead skin cells and cleanse the skin. For best results, lightly scrub in small circles focusing on the nose, cheeks, forehead, around the lips and the chin area. Rinse the exfoliant wash with warm water and gently pat dry with a soft towel and avoid rubbing or scrubbing the skin with a towel. There are several exfoliants to choose from or a homemade exfoliant can be made with backing soda, a pinch of sugar and some water.
- Get some rays: Exposure to UV (ultraviolet) rays tighten the skin and can eliminate some of the bacterial that causes acne. Spend 10 to 15 minute increments in direct sunlight and be sure to avoid spending extended time in the sun so that the skin burns. Sun is especially helpful for acne that is on the back and shoulders. Over exposure to the sun will cause evaporation of the skin’s natural oils resulting in the body producing more in the days following which can cause more acne.
Long-term solutions of how to get rid of acne:
Sleep: Sleep is important to maintain hormones and avoid hormonal changes that can cause pimples and skin breakouts. Eight hours of sleep every night is optimum for the body to de-stress, relax, have a full cycle of REM (rapid eye movement).
Lower stress: Stress is part of most people’s life, however actively practicing stress reducing activities such as yoga, a physical exercise routine and even sex which has been proven to lower cortisol levels and increases happy chemicals in the brain such as testosterone, estrogen, dopamine, and pheromones.
Consistent cleansing: Maintaining a consistent cleansing schedule will reduce oils from the skin and hair.