The Best Acne Treatment Approach Is Often Non-Prescription Acne Treatment Systems. Here’s Why…
We All Know The Basic Advice About Taking Care Of Acne
- Scrub your face with soap
- Don’t eat chocolate
- Let the sun dry out your skin
- Zap your zits with antibiotics
The problem with this advice is that it’s wrong.
Whether we like it or not, we are judged by our appearance. Acne makes us feel uncomfortable around other people and it can also destroy intimacy. In some instances, it will even have a negative impact on income and professional opportunity. Acne is a serious matter and the pressure is on to find the best acne treatment to successfully manage the condition.
Simple Works, But Be Careful
Most acne sufferers can successfully manage their condition with inexpensive over-the-counter acne products. That’s the good news. The bad news is that acne products are not created equal. When acne sufferers jump straight in and simply try random products, they usually end up frustrated.
95% of acne treatments on the market don’t work as advertised and often make acne worse. They can burn your skin and make your face red, which actually makes your acne worse and as such only serves to make you even more self-conscious.
To find the best acne treatment we have…
That’s how we eventually narrowed down an extensive list of acne products to just a few that we think are the best on the market today.
Where To Start
You can buy and try lots and lots of individual acne products, and you will eventually find a collection of products you like. Or you can start with a complete, quality system and see if it works for you.
We have reviewed the most popular acne treatments available and rated their effectiveness, safety, etc. We created this chart to make it easier for you to see the results and choose the right treatment for your skin:
What Doctors Don’t Tell You About Acne
Modern medicine considers mild to moderate acne an acceptable feature of growing up. If you go to your doctor for help with whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples, chances are you’ll be given a prescription for an antibiotic or benzoyl peroxide, or both, and sent on your way. If you have especially deep skin infection causing nodules or cysts, you may be put on Retin-A or Accutane, and if you have the more aggressive forms of acne that cause pimples to grow together all over the top half of the body (acne conglobata) or the kind of acne that results from the immune system’s attack on an ingrown hair (acne keloidalis nuchae), you will probably get a referral to a dermatologist for laser therapy or surgical reconstruction procedures.
There are two critically important things everyone who has acne needs to know about medical treatments for acne:
- Most medically supervised treatments for acne significantly reduce the number and size of blemishes.
- No medically supervised treatments for acne get rid of all your cysts, nodules, blackheads, pimples, and scars, and some prescription therapies offer only short-term relief.
Acne is caused by a combination of factors. The lining of a pore in the skin starts producing skin at a high rate. Dead skin cells accumulate in the pore faster than the sebum it makes can push them to the surface. The oily sebum made by the sebaceous gland at the base of the pore gets trapped under dead skin, along with acne bacteria. The immune system generates inflammation to kill the bacteria, but the bacteria release chemicals that target surrounding healthy skin. Squeezing or mashing pimples forces acne bacteria deeper into the skin, where they can continue to trick the immune system into destroying more and more healthy tissue while pink scar tissue grows over them and locks them inside the skin.
Stopping any step in this process will reduce acne. But the best acne treatment will stop all of these steps, which is necessary for achieving blemish-free skin. Medical treatment zeroes in on just one step of the process and usually works for that one step. And traditional home acne care suffers the same limitation.
Rubbing or Scrubbing Your Blemishes Is Never The Best Acne Treatment For Your Skin
The traditional recommendation for treating acne was to rub and scrub and wash your skin until your acne had no choice but to surrender. That’s not the best acne treatment approach. In fact, it is completely counter productive. Usually rubbing your skin just makes healthy skin red and raw. Blemishes and pimples are unaffected.
The problem with the old rub-and-scrub approach to acne is that it only takes care of one part of the problem. Vigorous detergent treatment of the skin only gets rid of excess oil on the skin. Sometimes that makes a difference, but if the problem is that the oil is trapped under tiny flakes of dead skin stuck together with a kind of biological glue at the top of a pore, all that washing your skin will do is to irritate the healthy skin surrounding blemishes.
And that irritation of the skin usually triggers a reaction to repair the skin by producing still more oil. The overly vigorous washing of your skin will kill some skin cells that will land on top of new pores, trapping the newly produced oil. The net result is even more acne than you started with. The old advice on washing your skin doesn’t make your skin any better, but it’s a great marketing tool for the makers of soap and wash cloths.
FDA-Approved Ingredients for Skin Cleansing
A better way to treat acne is to get rid of at least two of the causes of blemishes at the same time, removing excess skin oil and the clumps of dead skin that keep it trapped inside pores. The two FDA-approved ingredients for this purpose are benzoyl peroxide and salicyclic acid.
FDA-approval, by the way, does not mean a product is a wonder drug that immediately clears up acne in all cases. The US FDA has studied benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid and declared them to be GRASE, or generally recognized as safe and effective. The FDA took over 20 years to examine scientific studies, medical case reports, and expert testimony to decide only in June of 2011 that:
- Benzoyl peroxide is safe and effective in concentrations of 2.5% to 10%,
- Salicylic acid is safe and effective in concentrations of 0.5% to 2%.
The ruling is recorded in the US Federal Register and has the force of law for acne product makers in the USA. But the FDA doesn’t just regulate how much of these ingredients should go into a product. It also requires certain warnings for their use:
- Users of these products must be warned that using products that contain these ingredients may cause irritation of the skin if they are also using other acne care products at the same time.
- Users of these products must be reminded to cleanse skin before applying the product and
- Users are also advised that if a product makes the skin itchy or irritated, use less.
The FDA rules are just commonsense. No matter what product you put on your skin, you need to stop if it causes irritation. After all, your skin repairs irritation by making still more sebum in its pores. It is always best to test a dot of any new skin care product on the skin of your forearm, leaving it there for at least eight hours, to make sure it won’t cause sudden sensitivity on your face. But what’s the benefit of these generally accepted as safe and effective acne-fighting ingredients?
- Benzoyl peroxide kills acne bacteria that live in pores. The best acne treatment systems include this ingredient.
- Salicylic acid breaks up the dead skin that traps bacteria in pores and also relieves inflammation.
These two products used together go a long way toward reversing the steps that cause acne. The first step in the process that causes acne is accumulation of dead skin. Salicylic acid breaks up clumps of dead skin. The second step in the process that causes acne is accumulation of oil and bacteria in a pore. The salicylic acid helps oil escape the pore and benzoyl peroxide kills acne bacteria in 48 hours or less. Benzoyl peroxide also helps clear off old skin cells around pores.
As the dead bacteria and excess sebum drain out of the pore, the immune system stops creating inflammation to fight infection. And the salicylic acid component of the best acne products also relieves preexisting inflammation to clear up redness of the skin.
Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid aren’t wonder drugs. Benzoyl peroxide will get rid of about 70% of your pimples. Salicylic acid will get rid of about 60% of your blackheads. Together, they don’t get rid of 130% of your blemishes.
Your skin is a living thing. There will always be different states of healing in different locations on your skin. If you use just these two products, however, you can get rid of most of the blemishes of your skin. It takes an acne treatment system to get rid of the rest.
Systems, Not Products
There are two ways acne treatment systems can work for you in ways that individual acne treatment products cannot. One is by enhancing the effects of your best individual acne products. Green tea extract, for example, reduces the production of oil in the sebaceous glands underneath the skin. If you use green tea extract as part of your acne treatment routine, your salicylic acid treatment will work just a little better.
The other way acne treatment systems can work for you is by correcting skin damage left behind when blemishes heal. An astringent can help shrink enlarged pores left when blackheads fall out. Glycolic acid can smooth the edges of acne scars. Kojic acid and arbutin are safe skin lighteners for the brown spots healing acne forms on Asian and brown skin tones. Probiotics can help reduce the intensity of the inflammation your immune system generates for new infections, and microdermabrasion cloths can help restore the smooth finish of your skin.
To be your most trusted ally in your pursuit of clear, healthy skin.