Cure Your Acne! Common Myths, Treatment Reviews, and Acne Information

Acne occurs when the tiny pores in the skin are blocked, this can be from dirt, excess oil, inflammation, barrier blockage, or even over-washing of the skin. Acne can occur on the face, back, ears, neck, and chest. Rare cases of acne may also be found in other parts of the body.

A common myth, is that diet does not affect acne. The fact is, there are many, many causes of acne. What causes your acne may be different from your peers. Some people are affected by what they eat, for many, intolerances of certain foods (dairy, wheat, gluten, legumes, etc) may cause inflammation of the skin, leading to clogged pores, and subsequently, acne. Refined sugar can also be a major culprit, many people are able to clear their skin completely, or at least significantly by reducing refined sugar intake to around 10-15g daily.

Another myth, is that washing your face often will clear skin. However, whenever you cleanse your skin, you are chemically stripping it of the natural oils, which actually fight bacteria. If you cleanse too often (or don’t moisturize), your skin will produce even more oil. It is recommended to wash your face only twice daily, preferably 12 hours apart. Followed with a non-comedogenic moisturizer, to reduce excess oiliness.

The treatment of acne, is something that must be taken very seriously. Many people manage to turn one or two small pimples, into a whole face of bleeding, red, oily and bumpy acne, from abusing their skin by using bogus treatments. (Please note, that if your acne is scarring, no treatments seem to work, or is located on your chest and front, it may be time to research into accutane, and make a trip to a qualified dermatologist.)

Benzoyl Peroxide – Benzoyl Peroxide is a very common acne medicine, and with that, it is commonly abused. Benzoyl peroxide may be irritating to the skin, producing redness, and worsening of acne. It is recommended that you use a 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide solution, unless professionally advised otherwsise. Anything of higher strength probably will do more damage in the long run, and you could end up worsening and spreading your acne. Some persons may not be suitable for this treatment, and it is recommended to fix your acne internally than externally.

Toothpaste – What can’t good old toothpaste do? It cleans and remineralizes teeth, deodorizes smelly shoes, but it does not treat acne. Certain people may experience minor success with toothpaste, as it has drying qualities, so it helps to dry up the lesion faster. This may lead to irritation however, and can cause more lesions to come back in exactly the same place. As with any other topicals, you are treating the symptoms and not the cause, so you are not going to get long-term peace of mind with this treatment.

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) – Mega doses of B5 have been shown to aid in preventing new acne from occurring. It is a treatment taken orally, so it does not irritate the skin like Benzoyl Peroxide, or toothpaste. However, we would not recommend this treatment. Side effects include hair thinning, dry skin (face, lips and body), low energy levels, deficiency in other B vitamins, liver damage (preventing some other acne treatments, possibly dooming you with bad skin for many years), ulcers, rashes, stomach irritation, muscle spasms, and more. BUT, this is a natural remedy, I mean, vitamins, they have to be better than chemicals like Benzoyl Peroxide right? Wrong! B5 does not occur at high levels in food, and through practically no diet would someone be able to consume and digest such large amounts of B5, so a B5 megadose is in fact, just as un-natural as Benzoyl Peroxide or other chemical treatments.

Skin & Nails Formulas – When looking, you will find an array of Skin & Nail formulas, on pharmacy, supermarket, and even virtual shelves. These products will most likely not completely cure acne cases, but may help improve conditions and control breakouts. Find a product that looks good for you, use it for 3 months, and if you are sure it is not doing anything, just stop using it. Make sure you take the right dosage, every day. These formulations can be of great benefit to some, but must be taken religiously, and they must be given a decent string of time to show their power. These products are generally “hit or miss,” meaning it will work, or it wont, and they shouldn’t have any negative effects.

“Supermarket Products” – The products that you use, may play a bigger role than you think. Most people will find that gentle products from healthcare professionals, will work exceedingly better than acne treatments from the big brands. I also often find people overreacting from one or two pimples, and jumping to buy cleansers with exfoliating beads, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, etc. All of these, particularly the prior, can be extremely irritating to the skin, and could solely be responsible for every bit of acne on your skin. Some people find success with water cleansing methods, and other natural cleaning techniques. If that is not for you, dermatologists recommend Cetaphil products, which, for most people work with little irritation and maximum benefits.

Accutane / Isotane – The granddaddy of acne treatments, marketed under the names Accutane, Roaccutane, Isotane, Oratane, Accure, and many more. Essentially, every “tane” out there will work the same. They all have the same active ingredient, it is just manufactured by different drug companies. Most govts now subsidize many brands, so it should be a cheap option for everyone.

Isotretinoin, the active ingredient in “tanes,” somehow makes pores smaller, reduces inflammation and oil production. Isotretinoin is a substance similar to Vitamin A.

Scientists don’t know how it works, but it does, and it works well! In fact, 60% or more of patients have their acne put into permanent remission with a single course, and the other 40% gets the same chance of permanent remission on a second course. Users of isotretinoin will most likely experience worsened acne whilst on the course of treatment, but later on during treatment, it will start to clear up, and it will, in most cases, clear up completely by the end of the course.

So why doesn’t everyone just use isotretinoin? Isotretinoin is a harsh drug. It can cause dry skin, eyes, cellular tissue, basically, it can dry out any part of your body. Nose bleeds can result from dryness of the nose. A small percentage of users may experience muscle stiffness, thinning of the hair, and low energy levels. A very rare percentage of people have experienced much more severe symptoms, but these are hardly worth mentioning, because of the advances in this medicine.

Isotretinoin has a bad wrap for side effects, but all side effects can be prevented, or treated. Many dermatologists are now administering much lower doses, they take longer to work, but the worst side effects people get are virtually non existant. Isotretinoin can be dangerous in high, short doses, but nowadays, we like to spread things out, and with constant moisturization, we can slide through isotretinoin easily without too much suffering.
Bloodwork is also done whilst on this medicine, and this helps prevent against severe side effects.

Isotretinoin is recommended to those who experience scarring, or have tried many, many things and finally want to put an end to their suffering. It is definitely not recommended to those with very mild acne. Remember to get a professional opinion, the internet can be a scary place, especially when isotretinoin is concerned.

Some fundamentals to take away from this article would be to not irritate the skin (picking, scratching, using harsh cleansers, etc), to moisturize the skin (to actually prevent excess oil), to watch and make big changes to your diet to see big changes to your skin, and for those with severe acne that will not go away, to seek professional advice, and possibly start a course of Accutane.

Clear skin everybody :)

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