Don’t feel like you are alone - there are many acne sufferers. Acne forms in the pilosebaceous unit or in other words, in our tiny little hair oil glands that cover most of our skin. These units are essential to the vitality of the skin, but when they fail to function properly, acne can form.
Acne can start in the pre-teen years, during adolescence, or in early adulthood. For some people it lasts a few years while for others it can last for a decade or two and persisting into the forties and beyond. For some it goes away and all of a sudden resurfaces later in life.
Is there any difference between teen acne versus adult acne? The formation process can differ. For instance, adult acne can occur with fewer, larger pimples and more blackheads or small reddish bumps. It can be limited to redness or burning, deep and stretched cysts.
Adult acne usually lands along the hairline, chin or neck, while teenager acne locations are nose, forehead, cheeks and back. The cause of adult acne is primarily stress, hormonal changes, diet; while teen is genetic and diet. Duration for adult acne can be sporadic and may end at menopause; while teen acne lasts two to fifteen years. The consequence of adult acne is discoloration, brown spots or wrinkles; while teen acne usually leaves pitted scars.
Natural Remedies For Acne
Before we jump into our action plan, let’s briefly talk about herbals and the most natural way of combating acne. There are plenty of over-the-counter acne products with natural ingredients that include botanical essences and herbs. On their own, they have not been shown to fight acne, although some do have antioxidant or antibacterial properties.
In most cases, you’ll find natural ingredients listed last on the label, which means that they are present only in very small amounts. However, you should be using natural ingredients / products along with your more aggressive acne treatment for an extra soothing effect and other benefits. To learn more about natural skin care remedies click here.
Home Care Plan and Remedies For Adult Acne
There are many effective treatment options that you can do at home. However, the key to the whole treatment plan is consistency. So, if you want to see desired results, it will require your commitment, time and patience. Your action plan may require in-office treatment by a dermatologist at a later point. In most cases, however, a balanced program integrating the whole body health approach through skin care, fitness and stable diet will lead to much better results, like brighter complexion and a more vibrant, and healthier you.
So, whenever you start on your action plan - stick with it. If you run into some big puzzles or obstacles along the way, visit and consult with your dermatologist. Now below is a step-by-step action plan that you can follow. It is designed to treat your adult acne and the discoloration that can result from it, including lines or wrinkles.
Please note that you will have to wash your face or skin every morning and evening. After each wash, apply your anti-acne medication. When washing your face or applying your anti-acne medication, always cover your entire face and don’t just spot treat it.
This way, you are fighting your current and future breakouts, that you don’t see yet, and smoothing out your wrinkles at the same time. Go through following steps when you wake up in the morning and right before you go to bed in the evening:
STEP 1 - Cleanse
The last thing challenged skin needs is to be punished. Treat your troubled skin gently. Too much cleansing of the skin can be damaging and vise versa… too little cleansing can be just as damaging. It has to be a perfect balance. You should know that sebaceous glands produce your body’s sebum, which protects you from various bacteria, viruses, fungi and acts as your body’s natural moisturizer.
Removing too much sebum from the surface of the skin will not lower its production; it will only over-dry the skin, and if dry skin cells mix with existing sebum, it can clog pores. On the other hand, if the skin is not thoroughly cleansed, dirt and bacteria will cling to the sebum (remember Klingons from Star Trek?) and contribute to acne formation.
Salicylic acid (that is found in plants) is a fantastic over-the-counter acne cleansing ingredient/product, because of its ability to clear away the buildup of dead skin cells and unclog pores. Salicylic acid is known for effectively managing blackheads and whiteheads, reducing redness and inflammation (it’s anti-inflammatory). Like most acne-fighting ingredients, it can be irritating and drying, so find a product with no more than 2% concentration. As a rule, always remember, when using powerful ingredients, always start small and gradually increase the dose if necessary.
Now, you are ready for your daily cleansing process:
a) Splash water or wet the entire affected area of your skin.
b) Put a blob of the cleanser in the palm of your hand.
c) Apply to the entire affected area (which could be your face, neck, chest or back) and keep it away from your eyes and areas under your eyes.
d) Let the product sit on your skin for a few minutes (you can get some other morning routine done in the meantime, like brushing teeth).
e) Rinse thoroughly with generous amounts of warm water.
STEP 2 - Destroy Bacteria
Now that your skin has been cleansed, it’s time to apply a topical acne treatment to kill the bacteria that caused acne in the first place. Benzoyl peroxide is the most effective over-the-counter treatment that attacks bacteria and speeds up the removal of dead skin cells. You can purchase it in a gel or lotion format, but make sure to test it before using it. Apply it on a small area on the inside of your arm to make sure you don’t have an allergy. Look for a product that comes with 2.5% to 5% of strength and that is designed to reduce inflammation.
Application process of benzoyl peroxide:
a) Apply a very thin layer (just enough to coat the whole affected area)
b) Lightly absorb any excess with a clean and dedicated washcloth (keep in mind that this ingredient will bleach colored clothes and cloths).
STEP 3 - Minimize Inflammation
Usually acne is highly inflammatory. The best way to deal with inflammation is by using botanically derived antioxidants and some members of the alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) family. Speaking of AHAs, lactic acid and glycol acid are the two most commonly found in over-the-counter acne formulations that strip the skin of dead cells and smooth out texture.
Also, they extract and push moisture to the surface, which can reduce drying effects of other acne medications. Alpha-hydroxy acids are very powerful and most versatile set of skin ingredients. By exfoliating and loosening clogged pores, these acids enable the penetration of acne medication. In addition, they increase the production of glycosaminoglycans (complex sugars in the skin), round and even out the skin, including pigment layers.
When it comes to the benefits of antioxidants, they help to capture free radicals and reduce the production of cell cytokines (cell signaling molecules that stimulate the movement of cells towards areas of inflammation, trauma or infection) that are released at different times of acne formation. So, select an antioxidant that best fits your skin type in a serum (best for dry skin) or mist (best for oily skin) form.
For example, such antioxidants as vitamin C are known for stimulating collagen production, which is perfect for adults who fight both aging (wrinkles or lines) and acne. In addition, you may need to have a lotion or moisturizer around. Check out a natural body lotion made by Natural Vibrancy, since it has some very effective antioxidants at play (like seaweed and green tea), it is anti-inflammatory and designed for all skin types. It is available on Amazon, as well.
a) Apply a thin layer of a lotion that contains antioxidants over the whole affected area.
b) Apply a thin layer of alpa-hydroxy acid to the entire affected area. Use 8% or 10% of strength maximum.
c) If the skin feels dry, apply a natural lotion.
So here it is - your home-based action plan.
Remedies for Blackheads or Whiteheads
Now, what to do if you have blackheads (which can be deep cystic acne or pimple type)? In this video we cover the most effective methods to attack this problem.
If Your Acne Is Not Gone…
If you don’t see any improvement in your acne after 4 weeks or you find some left over discoloration spots from previous acne, you should try retinol, which is also good in improving wrinkles. We suggest that you visit a dermatologist to discuss your situation and see if it makes sense to get a prescription.
At prescription levels, vitamin A derivatives are powerful anti-acne weapons. They stabilize the process of skin cell development and turnover. Over-the-counter products are not as effective (even if you find vitamin A listed as one of the top five ingredients), since vitamin A in the form of retinol is highly unstable, and concentrations constantly change with some light and air exposure.
Here is some more information on holistic skin care.
Have you discovered a natural remedy that worked on your acne? Share with us, so we can all learn.