Acne is almost a rite of passage for many of us in our teenage years. If you are lucky, the problem will clear up by the time you are a young adult, but some continue to experience this skin problem well into our 20s, 30s and beyond. Fortunately, there are plenty of products that can improve and even permanently clear up your acne.
Types of Acne Products
Since acne is often caused by excess oil, it is important to keep skin clean. There are a variety of cleansers on the skin care market that clear away oil well, especially those that contain salicylic acid. It is also important to regularly scrub your skin to remove dead skin cells, which clog pores and contribute to acne. Avoid overly harsh scrubs, however, which can exacerbate break outs.
Topical solutions that target individual breakouts can help eliminate pimples that have already appeared. Look for formulas that contain benzoyl peroxide. Also, don't forget to moisturize your skin. It may sound contrary to logic, but skin can go into oil production-overdrive if it gets too dry. Choose a moisturizer that is non-comedogenic and oil-free.
Natural Acne Products
Oatmeal has long been touted for its ability to soothe skin and absorb excess oil. Cook oatmeal as you normally would with water and let cool. Apply to face for a few minutes and then rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Tea tree oil is another natural remedy for acne prone skin, and also has a very pleasant smell, unlike many chemical acne products. Purchase pure tea tree oil and add a few drops to your regular moisturizer. Apply to face and neck before bedtime.
Aloe vera is useful in healing acne scars. It is often tempting to pick at pimples, but you should avoid it as it only makes them worse. However, if you have caused a sore, apply aloe vera morning and night to help fade the scar.
Drugstore Acne Products
If you are on a budget but want effective acne products, visit your local drugstore or pharmacy for a good selection. The top selling brands include Neutrogena, Clearasil, Clean & Clear and Biore. They each make targeted lines for acne including cleansers, masks, scrubs, astringents, pore strips, medicated pads, lotions and spot treatments.
Dermatologist-recommended drugstore skin care products include Purpose, which makes a gentle cleanser and moisturizer suitable for acne-prone skin, as well as Cetaphil. Both brands are among the simplest and most affordable of drugstore acne skin care options.
Department Store Acne Products
You can expect to spend more for acne skin care lines from department or specialty stores, such as Sephora, Ulta, Macy's or Bloomingdale's. Most major makeup companies make skin care lines including special products for acne. Clinique stands out as a top choice for its acne-fighting skin care line, which includes a three step program: cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize.
At Sephora, brands including Philosophy, Murad and Bliss make very effective acne skin care products. It is possible to visit Sephora's website and read hundreds of reviews for each product; a convenient feature for those who wish to learn of others' first-hand experiences.
Prescription Acne Products
If none of the above methods are effective at treating your acne, it may be time to visit a dermatologist, who will take a more aggressive approach in treating your acne through prescription medications and topical solutions. Your dermatologist may prescribe an antibiotic to treat the problem from the inside. Oral contraceptives have also been proven to be an effective treatment in some women.
Topical prescription acne solutions treat the bacteria that can cause acne. They are typically much stronger than over the counter brands and can often be irritating to the skin. Retinoids are often used to treat acne and can leave skin red and flaking. Exposure to the sun should be avoided while on these medications. Be sure to wear sunscreen.
One of the most aggressive acne treatments is Accutane, taken over a several month period. The patient will be required to submit to regular blood tests to check internal organs as well as pregnancy. Accutane is used in extreme cases, but is very effective in clearing up acne, often permanently.