Before treating acne, a diagnosis must be made to discover the type of acne as there are several different varieties, such as white-heads, black-heads and those that appear as a red spot. They occur from a build-up of infected bacteria that collects in the small glands of the skin, especially those of the face.
Most treatments aim to help settle and improve existing spots and blemishes and to reduce the risk of scarring, not to prevent spots occurring.
Cleansing and Topical Remedies
An unscented, oil-free and mild cleansing product should be used to help clear pores of grease and bacteria. There are many products available, many aimed at specific types of acne and a variety of skin types, all available in high-street shops. Chemists carry a vast range of over the counter remedies; seek advice from the pharmacist to make the right selection for your skin type. Many of these preparations contain anti-bacterial agents or contain chemicals that aim to remove the dead cells from the top layer of the skin, therefore reducing the build-up of bacteria on the skin’s surface by preventing the pores from closing.
Many of the topical creams available contain high quantities of vitamin A which helps reduce the production of sebum (the oils in the skin can that cause blemishes).
Your GP may recommend a course of anti-biotic tablets to treat severe acne that does not respond to other methods. They aim to reduce inflammation of the pores and to treat any infection. Some people suffer side-effects from certain anti-biotics and may be unable to take the required prescription.
Many women find that the use of oral contraception helps to reduce acne, as these medications help to balance the production of the hormone that contributes to sebum build-up.
Many herbal tablets and drinks claim to help reduce acne, especially those that include ginseng, vitamin C, vitamin A and anthcyanins. Anthocyanins contain high levels of anti-oxidants which help reduce the bacterial accumulation in the pores. Natural food sources include blackcurrants and dark purple grapes.
Aromatherapy involves the use of naturally occurring essential oils of high strength and concentration to aid in the maintenance of good health and treatment of many complaints.
Recommended oils include tea tree which is known for its anti-bacterial properties, as does bergamot oil which also has drying qualities and clover oil which has purifying benefits. All should be diluted with a base oil such as almond oil, as neat application can irritate or even burn the skin. Always seek advice if pregnant or if you suffer from any other medical conditions as some aromatherapy oils should not be used with certain illnesses.
Homeopathy may be useful as, by giving the body very small traces of the compounds that trigger the symptoms of acne, the natural healing processes are instigated and the body begins to heal itself before the ailment has time to develop. Both of the therapies may be expensive and may not work for everyone. A lot of the success of using these remedies depends on the susceptibility of the persons using it.
Treatment of Scars
Occasionally severe acne can cause scarring to the skin. This will usually fade with time for many people, but if scarring is permanent there are a variety of treatments available.
Lasers and light therapy both claim to reduce the appearance of scars but do tend to be expensive. Topical creams containing vitamin E also help to reduce scars by decreasing the redness of the marks.
There are many remedies available for the treatment of acne each with its individual qualities. They usually take several weeks before benefits are noticed so please do be persistent.