There are two things you should remember about acne. One is that it is nearly always a temporary condition. The other is that since its blemishes are caused by an increased oiliness of the skin, the methods that work the best in keeping acne to a minimum, until it is outgrown, are those that reduce the oiliness and increase the dryness of the skin.
How to Decrease Skin Oiliness
The increased oiliness of the skin may be cut down in various ways. When these ways are used effectively, the adolescent’s appearance and outlook on life can be greatly improved. One of the methods that works well is washing with soap and water frequently and thoroughly. The soapy solution is an excellent solvent for the oils, and therefore helps make the skin drier.
Some people benefit from any soap. Others may have skin that is sensitive to, and therefore irritated by, a specific kind of soap. In these cases a less irritating soap can usually be found. If not, there are many soap substitutes now manufactured that have the advantages of soap but not the possible irritations. There are also various types of medicated soaps that include extra ingredients such as germ killers and drying sulphur containing products.
Get some Sun!
Another inexpensive form of self-treatment for acne is sunshine. There are a few individuals whose skin is extra sensitive to any exposure to sunshine. But for most people the ultraviolet rays of the sun dry out the skin. Sometimes a physician will prescribe artificial sources of ultraviolet radiation although you need to be aware of health risks associated with these.
Another way of clearing the skin is by applying drying lotions and creams. There are many helpful agents, from the time-honored Lotio Alba (white lotion) to the most recent entries in the drug manufacturers’ sweepstakes, which contain sulphur and other sebum-dissolving and skin-drying ingredients. Such preparations are at times combined with cosmetically attractive colorations so that they can be used as blemish hiders as well as treatment for the underlying acne. Your doctor can advise you as to which application is best for you.
Occasionally, in severe cases, a small dose of x-ray treatment to the skin is beneficial. This is usually not done except for those few individuals whose acne is so serious that it seems to the physician that permanent scarring may result.
Most cases of acne leave no traces in later life. A few severe cases leave some scars, but practically never the disfiguring kind that so many teen-agers are sure will scare off everyone they meet in later years.
What the Doctor Can Do For Acne
Doctors may use other methods of treatment for ridding patients of acne blemishes, including cortisone medications, and abrasives to rub off or remove sections of severely affected skin. These treatments should also be reserved for use in severe cases and then only upon the suggestion of a well-qualified physician.
Invasion of acne blemishes by germs can worsen the individual’s appearance as well as undermine his health. Therefore some doctors treat patients who have severe acne with injections of vaccine derived from common skin-invading bacteria. With an obviously infected case a germ-killing medication like penicillin may be of help. Some doctors believe that small daily doses of an antibiotic will help keep acne under control. I believe it is better to reserve the antibiotics for occasional use when specifically indicated for an obvious infection.