Mild acne can be successfully managed using topical treatments available from pharmacies without a prescription. These will usually include the ingredient Benzoyl Peroxide. Benzoyl Peroxide works by helping to prevent dead skin cells from clogging up the hair follicles. It also eliminates the bacteria responsible for causing infection to these plugged follicles. Benzoyl peroxide is usually applied to the affected areas 20 minutes after washing with a mild soap or cleanser. Examples of available products containing benzoyl peroxide include:
- Acnecide Gel (benzoyl peroxide 5%)
- Quinoderm 10 Cream (benzoyl peroxide 10%) - discontinued
- Quinoderm 5 Cream (benzoyl peroxide 5%) - discontinued
- Panoxyl Aquagel 10 (benzoyl peroxide 10%) - discontinued
Anyone who has ever had acne dreads breakouts; and for good reason too, because sometimes it takes weeks to clear up, not to mention the risk of scarring. Even if you've found an effective treatment for your acne, it is still important to take measures to prevent recurrence - with a few simple precautions you may be able to fend off breakouts.
Acne can be very hard to prevent. Some inducing factors, such as puberty can’t be helped. However, there are ways to reduce your risk of developing acne and for improving your symptoms if it’s unavoidable. These include:
- Wash using a mild soap or cleanser. Avoid using very hot or very cold water as this can make acne worse. Avoid scrubbing harshly or using abrasive washcloths as this can irritate the skin. Use a very soft cloth, rinse well with warm water and pat dry using a clean towel.
- Don’t wash the affected area more than twice a day. Washing too frequently can irritate the skin and make the acne worse.
- Avoid touching your face. This can spread bacteria from the hands to the face.
- Avoid the temptation to pick at or squeeze your spots, this can lead to permanent scarring.
- Ensure hair is regularly washed and try not to let it fall across the face.
- Avoid using oils, fragrances, gels or pomades on your hair. If any of these products get onto your face they can block pores and causes acne.
- Avoid using excessive amounts of cosmetics and makeup. Try to only use products labelled as ‘non-comedogenic’. Non-comedogenic products are water-based and are less likely to clog up the pores on your skin.
- Always remove makeup before going to bed.
- If your skin is dry and flaky, try using a fragrance-free water-based emollient.
For more details on how to prevent acne, see below:
Keep your hands off the face
Our hands may look very clean, but they carry all kinds of germs. They are constantly gathering dust and grime as we touch different surfaces, including our hair. They secrete quite a bit of sweat too. Touching a clean mirror with your fingers should demonstrate it all too well. Unconsciously rubbing or scratching the skin may cause abrasions, or even break a zit, which in turn will set off a reaction that may culminate in a full-blown breakout. Avoid touching the face except to gently wash it occasionally.
Wash your face frequently
Keeping the skin free of germs and dirt will reduce the chances of acne breakouts. You don’t have to use soap or other cleansing products every time. Deep cleaning once a day may be beneficial, but always apply a neutral moisturiser afterwards, as dry skin triggers excessive production of skin oils.
Follow a healthy diet
We are what we eat. Greasy and spicy food is thought to promote breakouts. Food allergies, however mild they may be, are also potential triggers. Dairy products, nuts, chocolate and soda are some of the common allergenic foods. So are alcohol and certain additives in fast foods. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables will ensure healthy skin.
Drinking plenty of fluids is thought to reduce acne risk considerably. Besides flushing out toxins from the body, water can keep the skin moisturised from the inside.
Keep a tab on the products you use
Reduce your exposure to potential allergens by choosing everyday cleaning products like soaps, shampoos and detergents carefully. Note adverse reactions whenever you try a new product and check out the ingredients. Avoid other products that contain them.
Cut down on cosmetics use
These well-known culprits can trigger acne in several ways. They clog up the skin pores and literally suffocate the skin, creating an ideal environment for bacterial growth. Cosmetic products typically contain a number of chemicals, any of which can cause an allergic reaction. The very act of applying makeup can irritate sensitive skin.
If you find it hard to completely abstain from cosmetics, stick to specific products that you have personally found to be the least offensive. Leave the make-up on for the minimum amount of time. Never go to sleep with it. Avoid vigorous rubbing while applying and removing makeup.
Most people experience breakouts during periods of stress. The hormonal changes could be the reason. Stress is part of life, but it is essential to keep the mind and body healthy through regular exercise and relaxation techniques. Get good sleep too.
Sleep in clean beds
Since we spend one-third of our day in bed, sweat, dead skin cells and dandruff accumulate in our bedding. They can irritate the skin and cause acne. Change pillowcases and bed covers every week.