Guidelines on How to Get Rid of Your Pimples
Having an understanding of the basic principles of Acne treatment and available guidelines will help the acne sufferers effectively keep their pimple problem under control.
Control of acne becomes easier and more effective if the basic pathogenesis and type and extent of the pimples are understood well. Most teenagers who suffer from acne take it lightly, at least in the early stages, and resort to self treatment with acne home remedies and OTC acne medications.
Several acne treatment aspects have been evolving since the last decade; like the combination therapies, the role of lasers and light based therapies and the various modalities of treatments for acne scars.
Acne Treatment Principles
Most people tend to believe that acne is a natural phenomenon and a minor irritation during adolescence and teenage. The latest updates from the global alliance to improve outcomes in acne recommend early and aggressive treatment of acne to reduce the chances of permanent scar formation in acne sufferers.
Following are some important guidelines regarding the management of acne:
- There is no cure for acne. It is impossible to get rid of acne in 3 or 10 days as is being claimed by some commercial websites.
- The goal of treating pimples is to control the disease activity and limit inflammatory response within the dermal layer of skin before it damages the skin structures. This will help prevent formation of acne scars and blemishes.
- There is no single effective treatment for all types of acne. Treatment of zits varies according to the type, severity and extent of acne eruptions. The age and sex are also deciding factors while planning a treatment schedule for the acne.
- It could take anywhere between 2 weeks to 16 weeks for the acne eruption to get under control.
- Required duration of treatment for pimples varies from individual to individual.
- Normally combinations of systemic and topical anti-acne medications are instituted to initiate the treatment of acne. Once new acne eruptions stop, the oral medications are gradually tapered. The topical medications, usually a combination of tretinoin/ adapalene/ tazarotene or benzoyl peroxide with topical antibiotics clindamycin or erythromycin are continued as maintenance therapy. Later, topical antibiotics are also stopped as new eruption of acne is not evident for a few weeks.
- Topical medications, especially the retinoids, may cause flare up of the pimples during the initial stages of treatment. There is no need to stop or change the treatment in such cases. If irritation is continues, the frequency and strength of application may be reduced till the skin tolerance is regained.
- Never rely on OTC acne products or acne home remedies if you have inflammatory acne (red, painful eruptions). Any delay in proper treatment of inflammatory acne could lead to permanent scarring.
- The topical retinoids and benzoyl peroxide applications should be used only at night; never during daytime. When you are using these creams, it is advisable to avoid prolonged sun exposure. A sun screen with sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or above should be worn while outdoors.
- In those with a family history of acne scarring and severe eruption of comedonal or inflammatory acne, initiation of treatment with oral isotretinoin is advised by most dermatologists.
- Oral retinoids are absolutely contraindicated in pregnancy. If you are a female of child bearing age group, you should practice double contraception (pills with barrier) throughout the period of treatment and at least two months after the cessation of therapy with oral retinoids.
- If you have an acne prone facial skin, avoid using oil based make up and creams on the face.
- Constant picking at the pimples is an often ignored cause of scarring and pigmentation in acne. Avoid manipulating the acne bumps at all times.
- Do not use topical steroids on the face unless under the supervision of a dermatologist, that too for specific indications only.
- Most acne treatments, in addition to their medicinal properties, have a peeling effect on the skin. In those with sensitive skin, the skin may turn red and irritated in the initial stages or during the therapy. If the dryness and irritation is severe, discontinue the treatment for a few days, apply non-comedogenic moisturizers, and then restart the treatment when the skin returns to normal.
- Though controversy still exists regarding the role of diet in acne formation, most acne patients do experience flare ups with certain food items. Low fat, low calorie food, avoidance of milk and milk products, high iodine containing food items, chocolates, fizzy drinks and fast foods are best avoided by acne sufferers. Excess alcohol and caffeine intake is also discouraged in acne.
Learning the basic principles on which the treatment of acne is based will be beneficial for those suffering from this most common skin disease with far reaching physical and psychological consequences.
Published by Dr Hanish Babu, MD on 26th May, 2018
The information given in this article is for educational purpose only so that patients are aware of the options available. No diagnosis should be made or treatment undertaken without first consulting your doctor. If you do so, the author or the website will not be responsible for any consequences. The images provided are for illustration purpose only and are copyrighted.
Copyright 2018 © Dr Hanish Babu, MD