Acne Facts and Self Help Acne Treatment

written by Dr Ruban Satkuna Nathan on 4 November 2013
- One of the most common skin problems
- Predominantly seen in adolescents, but 5% of women & 1% of men aged 25-40 years experienced       
  this condition
- Can cause permanent scarring, especially when lesions are “picked”, “squeezed” or “popped”
- The emotional impact can be devastating
- Depression & suicide are not uncommon in this patient population
Pimples (acne, zits, spots) affect the skin of the majority of teenagers and a significant number of adults. Some individuals are lucky and have only occasional breakouts, while others may experience on-going (chronic) problems. The presence of pimples on the skin, especially the face, may cause anxiety and/or embarrassment.
Treating pimples promptly can also help overcome its emotional and psychological effects. Although pimples by themselves are not ‘bad’ for overall health but living with them, especially if they are persistent and become a long-term problem can be as devastating emotionally as living with a chronic disease.
Studies have shown that people with regular breakouts of pimples are more likely to develop depression.
Experts say that acne should be treated promptly, especially if the individual is prone to getting pimples.
Diet - Researchers from New York University reported in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that a diet high in dairy products and high glycemic index foods increases the risk of developing pimples.
The scientists also suggest that using MNT (medical nutrition therapy) may help reduce the number and severity of acne outbreaks.
Washing your face about twice each day, should not be too often. Make sure you have a mild soap. Use warm water. Wash gently; do not scrub the skin. Experts advise the use of an OTC lotion which contains benzoyl peroxide.
Do not pop (burst) the pimple - There is a risk you may push the infection further down, causing more serious blockage and worse swelling and redness. Popping pimples also increases the risk of scarring.
If you need to get rid of it - If you have an important event, such as a public-speaking engagement or a wedding and it is important to get rid of a sightly pimple, get a specialist to treat it for you.
Touching your face - Even though this may require some willpower, try to refrain from touching your face with your hands. If you are using a telephone, do not let receiver touch the skin of your face - it may have skin residue or sebum on it. Before touching your face make sure you always wash your hands with soap.
Hand hygiene - Keep your hands and nails as clean as you can by washing them regularly with soap. Keep your nails short.
Glasses (spectacles) - Glasses collect sebum and skin residue; clean them regularly.
Loose clothing - If the pimples are on parts of your body covered by clothing, such as your back, shoulders or chest, wear loose clothing. Whenever possible, avoid wearing headbands, caps and scarves - if you have to wear them, wash them regularly. In short - allow your skin to breathe.
Make up - Make sure you have wash off your make up before you go to sleep. Only use makeup that is nonceomedogenic or nonacnegenic (you should be able to read this on the label).
Hair - Sebum and skin collects in hair. Keep your hair clean. Try to keep your hair away from your face.
Sun exposure - Overexposure to sunlight may sometimes result in the production of more sebum. Some medications used by people with acne may make your skin more prone to sunburn.
Shaving your face - Be careful when you shave. Use either safety razors (make sure blade is sharp) or an electric shaver. Before shaving, soften the skin with warm, soapy water before applying the shaving cream - the skin is softer straight after a warm shower.