Acne manifests itself as red bumps, blackheads and whiteheads, a result of clogged hair follicles in the face, chest and back. Severe forms of the condition also manifest in breakouts of the groin and anal region. Most pimple breakouts occur during puberty, but many adults continue to experience problems throughout their lifetime. There are many ways to prevent and soothe breakouts when they come. Using an over the counter pimple cream is often the first line of defense.
How Pimple Cream Works
Pimple breakouts occur less frequently when sebum (oil) is reduced, pores stay unclogged and bacteria is eliminated. The active ingredients of these creams are benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and sometimes lactic acid, among others. These ingredients work by opening up the pores to flood them with oxygen, thus killing bacteria; or helping the skin to shed dead skin cells. Other ingredients include sulfur and resorcinol, which helps the skin dry and peel which opens up clogged pores.
A Cure for Pimples or Mere Prevention?
There is no cure for pimples, but it is possible to learn how to prevent pimples with regular skin maintenance and an OTC cream. For mild cases, regular use of a cream with one of the active ingredients mentioned above will help control and cover up pimples. Keep the skin clean by washing with a mild, non-abrasive soap two to three times a day. The proper washing technique for people with acne is to use a gentle motion, rubbing in circles with a soft pad made for acne sufferers. Avoid scrubbing, as it has been shown to irritate the skin, making the situation worse.
Severe acne requires stronger medication prescribed by a doctor. Before choosing a prescription medication with your doctor, there are several things to know about creams such as Retin-A, Benzaclin and Benzamycin. Prescription medications have different side effects and individual results may vary. The good news is, if the first prescription is ineffective, there are many brands on the market to take its place.
Pimple Cream Side Effects
Side effects range from mild to intense skin irritation and a burning sensation where the medicine is applied. Experts suggest using the cream only as directed. Applying excessive amounts will not increase its effectiveness, but can increase irritation.
If the medicine causes excessive discomfort, apply it for short periods of time before washing it off. Eventually, the skin should develop a tolerance for the potent chemicals in the topical ointment. While using the prescribed solution, be sure to discontinue the use of OTC products and use only mild, non-abrasive solutions to wash with.
Topical Tips and How to Reduce Acne Scarring
Apply topical treatments only after washing the face, and do not use more than directed. Popping pimples helps with discomfort and appearance, but it pushes the oil and/or pus deeper into the skin, and often leads to more swelling and redness, accompanied by possible scarring. Practice a regular pimple prevention routine for several weeks that combines appropriate hygiene practices with the use of an OTC medication. Stay consistent and patient. If you don’t see results, see a dermatologist.
Clear Skin Tips
Overactive sebaceous glands are the main cause of pimple outbreaks, so don’t contribute to what the body already produces. Clean cell phones, phones and glasses so there is no oily buildup on them. Avoid touching your face with dirty hands and always remove makeup as soon as possible. Tight clothing can also be an irritant, choking pores and causing pimples on the body.
In addition to these clear skin tips, remember that oil from hair and comedogenic makeup can cause acne as well. Keep hair clean and out of the face, and only buy non comedogenic cosmetics (mineral makup.) For many people, especially teenagers, hormones causing overactive sebaceous glands are the culprit behind ugly pimples. Staying consistent with lifestyle choices and a regular acne prevention routine is the best way to control current outbreaks and avoid, or reduce, future ones.
Severe Cases: Ask a Doctor How to Prevent Pimples Safely
For severe cases, doctors can prescribe oral medications that dry up and shrink sebaceous glands. These strong prescriptions, such as Accutane, are taken every day for a limited time period, and are effective for up to a year. Severe side effects such as extreme reactions to sunlight, long term depression and stomach pain are possible. Before taking such extreme measures, experiment with several pimple treatment creams and a daily skin maintenance routine while routinely seeking advice from a Doctor on how to treat pimples safely and effectively.