Almost all of us go through a teenage phase where acne plagues us. We agonized over how to get rid of acne fast. There are many acne treatments in Singapore, ranging from an affordable array of over the counter topical creams to other more costly ones. It is mind boggling to sieve through all the information and marketing hype. Often we try many types of acne medication which may be ineffective or may have harmful long-term side effects. Sadly, some of the ingredients are the actual culprits that cause the acne to worsen. If we read the labels for some of the scientific, chemical sounding names and research on them (thank Google), we’d be shocked these harmful substances can be applied on our bodies, especially delicate facial skin!
To achieve glowing, beautiful skin is not rocket science but one do need to exercise proper care, hydration and eating a nutrient rich diet.
Acne can manifest itself in many areas of our body, the more common being
- forehead acne
- facial acne
- scalp acne
- back acne
- neck acne
There is even such a thing as baby acne, which is caused by the baby’s exposure to maternal hormones in the womb.
The main cause of acne are clogged pores that lead to bacteria overgrowth leading to skin inflammation. Genetics, changing hormone levels, lack of sleep and stress are all contributing factors to acne. Here is a video on how acne is formed.
Types of Acne
- Depending on the type of acne and underlying cause of skin irritation or inflammation, it manifests in symptoms including:
- Blackheads, or small black dots on the skin, usually around the nose, forehead or chin. Called “comedones”, these are result from debris getting trapped inside of a follicle. It is a non-inflammatory, Grade 1 acne.
- Whiteheads, which is formed by pus buildup under the skin as a result of follicles getting plugged with sebum and dead skin cells. These may be pimples caused by minor inflammation with ‘heads’.
- Papules and pustules (pimples) causes small or medium sized bumps on the skin that are round, red and may not have a visible “head”. These are caused by “moderate” infection but are not as severe as cysts or nodules.
- Cysts or nodules are severe pimples which are infected and painful. Form within deeper layers of the skin, they become very swollen or tender, and takes a long time to heal.
Common Treatment of Acne
Dermatologists may prescribe oral antibiotics, medications to treat acne which include gels, lotions, cleansers. The harsh chemicals used in over-the-counter and prescription acne products may cause further irritation to sensitive or already inflamed skin, so it is not always safe for continued use.
Doctor prescriptions typically include:
- Ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Concentrated vitamin A derivatives are also used, as well as sulfur or zinc compounds.
Benzoyl peroxide helps kill bacteria found inside pores, which helps prevent pore clogging, reduce infections, redness and inflammation. However, it the negative side effects include dryness, burning and peeling. Always start with a lower concentration to a small test patch.
Salicylic acid helps remove excess cells that trap sebum and bacteria inside pores. It can also cause redness and dryness on sensitive skin.
- Dermatologists sometimes prescribe antibiotics to treat acne to get rid of bacteria in pores which include clindamycin, doxycycline, erythromycin, and tetracycline.
- Dermatologists may also recommend a peel (eg. glycolic peel) to remove acne scars, dark spots or scars. Bear in mind that peels and other acne treatments can increase sensitivity to the sun.
Natural Acne Remedies
- Treat acne from the inside out. Do not believe that topical care is the only option. Acne, as with many common ailments are manifestations of what is happening inside our bodies, especially what we are putting into them.
- Foods to avoid are sugar and carbohydrate rich foods, gluten and wheat, conventional dairy as they cause inflammation of the gut which affects the skin. Another helpful tip is to eliminate chocolate as it Is high in compounds that can trigger acne. If you must, eat dark chocolate. Fried and fast foods contain hydrogenated oils, sodium, chemicals, flavorings and sugar that causes inflammation. Hydrogenated oils in foods like pizza and in packaged foods that contain soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, and vegetable oil causes oily skin which makes it prone to acne.
- Other recommended home remedies for acne are things
- such as not picking blemishes
- over cleansing with harsh chemicals eg. parabens, sulphates, petrochemicals
- stay properly hydrated
- eating lots of green leafy vegetables, berries
- Supplements of probiotics and Omega fatty acids to fight bacteria and inflammation
- Gently cleanse with mild wash made from natural ingredients eg. Emu Oil Liquid Hand & Body Wash without the harsh chemicals in many commercially available products. Harsh chemicals strip skin of its natural, protective moisture. Often, this negatively affects the skin by over drying it which causes premature ageing, fine lines and wrinkles. Moisturise immediately with Emu Oil Moisturiser which is highly penetrative, therapeutic and formulated with natural essential oils for added benefits.
- Topical application using Emu oil to spot treat acne and pimples reduces inflammation and scarring. It sounds counter intuitive to apply oil to already oily skin, but the truth is when one applies harsh drying agents to acne, it tricks the skin to produce more oil and worsens the condition. Besides, drying pimples out and draining the pus by removing the ‘head’ produces scarring. Emu oil helps in that it fights inflammation underneath the skin without the pimple ‘ripening’ to be drained.
- Supplements like Emu Oil Capsules with natural, rich Omegas 3, 6 & 9 fortify the body against inflammation while nourishing the body with nutrients for healthy skin, hair and nails.