A Comprehensive Guide
What Causes Acne?
All sorts of old wives tales exist about the causes of acne and how to get rid of acne fast before your next event, so we’re going to set the record straight. According to WebMD, acne can result from three things:
• Irritation of hair follicles
• Your body producing too much oil
When skin pores or hair follicles get clogged with oil or dead skin cells, bacteria finds a breeding ground. Acne is the result.
Another factor that can trigger acne is hormonal changes brought on by normal body cycles or medication. There’s good news – chocolate and pizza don’t really cause acne!
Acne comes in many varieties including whiteheads, blackheads, nodular acne, and pustules. Nodular acne can be particularly difficult to deal with because hard cysts form below the skin’s surface that is painful and difficult to treat. Pustules are the raised red spots that we tend to mean when we use the word pimple. While some of these can be small and almost unnoticeable, others can be painfully inflamed and difficult to cover up. Thankfully, there are simple ways to treat and prevent these breakouts so that you can get rid of acne fast.
Then, how do you get rid of acne?
Beauty supply companies and retail stores would have you believe that you need hundreds of dollars’ worth of specialty products to rid your skin of pimples and angry red spots. That’s simply not true. In fact, there are many items already in your home that can help reduce your skin’s inflammation and get rid of bad acne fast.
• Ice – Just like ice reduces swelling in a sprained ankle, it can calm your irritated skin.
• Toothpaste – Obviously, toothpaste is a cleaning agent which will help rid your pores of bacteria, but it also reduces the swelling and redness of severe acne.
• Steam – You can do this trick as part of your morning shower! Allow the steam to heat your skin and open up your pores. Use a gentle cleanser to remove oil and bacteria that is released.
• Cucumber – Not only can cucumber cool and soothe your irritated skin, but the vitamins in cucumbers will increase the healthiness of your pores as well. Strain cucumber in water to wash your skin with or create a mask of smashed cucumber for wonderful results.
• Oatmeal – A mask created with oatmeal will exfoliate and leech oil from your skin. Add honey and lemon to create a paste that includes the healing properties of those ingredients as well.
Follow up treatments with rinse or gentle washing, followed up by a non-comedogenic moisturizer to get rid of acne fast.
Watch out for those home remedies that sound too good to be true! Some can leave your skin red and irritated or make your breakout even worse. Test a small area of skin before using any product – home remedy or store purchased – on your face.
If you’re treating baby acne, be especially careful. Most baby acne is caused by the extreme hormone and environment change that they initially experience, and it will fade in a few weeks. Treat it only with remedies approved by your pediatrician.
The best way to deal with breakouts is to avoid them in the first place!
Tell Acne to Back Off!
Forget all those expensive products that promise amazing results. Save your money, and use these simple tricks to avoiding acne. The best acne face wash is a simple, gentle cleanser. Remember, it’s only on your face for a few seconds! Before wasting money on an expensive product that gets quickly washed down the drain, read on.
Here are the top 10 ways to not get acne without spending a fortune!
1. Use a fresh pillow: You rest your face on your pillow for approximately eight hours every night. That means it attracts drool, old makeup, sweat, and who knows what else! Replace yours with a clean one once a week to prevent breakouts.
2. Moisturize your skin: This seems contradictory if you have oily skin that is triggering your acne. Properly hydrated skin will produce less oil, reducing your acne. The best moisturizer is one that is gentle and created specifically for oily skin. Argan oil has been increasing in popularity as a natural non-comedogenic moisturizer for those who suffer from acne, and all you need is a drop.
3. Keep your hands off! : We don’t like to think about how many germs are creeping around on our hands of a daily basis. If you’re always touching your face, you’re transferring bacteria to your sensitive pores. And kids’ hands? They may be sweet, but those grubby fingers are acne-makers.
4. Choose your makeup with care: Minimize the amount of makeup that you use to reduce pore clogging. What makeup you do use should state on the packaging that it’s non-pore-clogging. Wash your face each night rather than sleeping with makeup on your face. Double check the expiration date on any makeup, cleanser, or lotion. Don’t use products that are expired because of chemical changes that could have taken place.
5. Consider your hair products : If you have acne along your hairline or covering your forehead, it may be your shampoo that irritates it. If you use hair spray or gel, make sure that you’re not also getting it on your face, where it will trap residue in your pores for bacteria to grow.
6. Drink water: This step increases overall health and enables your body to more easily flush toxins from your systems, including your skin. Water based moisturizers are also best for your face and body.
7. Check your medications: Some prescriptions can trigger hormones or oil production that leads to acne. If this is a listed side effect of one of your medications, consult your doctor. They may be able to offer an alternative.
8. Exercise: As with drinking water, regular exercise increases overall health for glowing skin. Just make sure that you’re gently cleansing your skin of sweat as soon as you’re done with your workout.
9. Be careful in the sun: The sun’s rays can cause more damage than sunburn. Along with the risk of skin cancer, ultraviolet rays can also increase your tendency toward acne. Add to this the fact that you’re probably sweating, using tanning oil, and wiping your face with your hands, and you have a veritable acne factory.
10. Clean your phone: Ever notice that layer of makeup, sweat, and crud that builds up on the screen of your phone? Whenever you answer it, you’re rubbing that coating of grime all over the sensitive skin of your face. Gross! Wipe off your phone daily to keep it germ free.
If you’ve done your best to avoid acne but still wake up to ugly spots, get rid of pimples quickly!
Get Rid of Acne Overnight!
Does it seem like a pimple always rears its ugly head at just the wrong time? If you have an angry red spot that you need to make disappear as soon as possible, these emergency measures are how to get rid of acne fast.
• Salt water – Mix a teaspoon of sea salt into two tablespoons of warm water and apply it to the affected area. Salt dries and kills germs. (This is the same reason your dentist tells you to gargle with it when you have a sore in your mouth.)
• Tea Tree Oil – This essential oil is an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent, making it the perfect choice to zap your zits quickly.
• Aspirin – Also an anti-inflammatory medicine, aspirin can be crushed and mixed with a small amount of water to form a paste. Leave it on your pimple overnight for amazing results.
• Lemon Juice – Use it fresh from a lemon, not in a bottle which will include chemicals and preservatives. The lemon juice will kill bacteria and tighten your skin.
• Green Tea – A cool, soaked bag of green tea leaves can soothe and heal your pimples and inflammation. You can also follow up with a green tea moisturizer.
Above all of these great tips, avoid the temptation to squeeze, puncture, or manipulate the pimple. You will make it worse and be sorry that you did. Doing so can create acne scarring.
Make Acne Scarring Disappear!
Now that you have learned how to get rid of acne fast and have won your battle with acne, you may have scars that remain. Don’t worry! Pimple scarring can be treated. There are simple methods to get rid of acne marks and discolorations.
• Aloe Vera – The serum of the aloe plant has been used for its healing properties for centuries. This inexpensive solution can soothe and diminish your acne scarring, too. Purchase a plant for fresh, pure aloe gel for your skin, or choose an Aloe Vera cream with few other ingredients.
• Retinol A – Many high quality skin care products are available with Retinol A in them. This powerful vitamin has anti-aging properties and reduces discoloration of the skin for a smooth, even tone. Retinol A is also effective as an age spot remover.
• Argan Oil – This natural essential oil has been getting some recent attention as a cure all for dry skin, brittle hair, acne breakouts, and diminishing scars. It works as a light moisturizer as it evens your skin tone.
• Stop Picking – This is the number one thing that increases the longevity of your acne scars. Most of these spots and discoloration will fade on their own, given enough time, but it can take months. If you’re constantly squeezing, picking, and scratching the scar will remain and possibly become permanent.
If you’re struggling with serious scars, you may want to try these solutions.
• Microdermabrasion – This chemical free procedure is kind of like exfoliation on steroids. Known for its amazing anti-aging effects, microdermabrasion is also ideal for ridding your skin of unattractive acne scarring. Microcrystals are sprayed over the skin to reveal the healthy layer below.
• Chemical Peels – Exfoliating the skin is the secret behind chemical peels as well, but these are easier for you to do yourself at home. Unlike microdermabrasion, chemical peels do use chemicals, as the name suggests. Some of these can be harsher than others, so use caution if you have sensitive skin.
• Laser Treatment – A dermatologist can target your most stubborn scars and pockmarks with laser treatment. By reducing the size of the blood vessels in the area, the area’s redness disappears.
• Collagen Filling – If your scars are pits or deep pockmarks rather than discolorations, collagen injections can plump those areas.
When dealing with your breakouts or acne scarring, don’t be fooled by old wives tales and acne myths.
Some Acne Truths May Surprise You.
If you’re dealing with pimples or acne scarring and trying to determine how to get rid of acne fast, it may be difficult to sift through the volumes of fact and fiction that exist regarding proper treatment of your skin. Here are the top 10 acne myths busted!
1. Getting a tan gets rid of acne: While you may see less acne scarring once you have a tan, too much time in the sun can actually make your breakout worse. Ultraviolet rays, sunscreen products, and sweat can all clog your pores and give bacteria a new home.
2. Scrub your skin to deep clean: While keeping your face clean is vital to keeping acne at bay, harsh products or vigorous scrubbing can actually irritate your skin further and increase inflammation.
3. Acne is a teenage problem: While the hormonal rollercoaster of the teenage years does make them more vulnerable to acne, people of all ages can have it. Unfortunately, some people’s body chemistry makes them more prone to breakouts at any age.
4. Acne will go away on its own: Maybe, eventually. Based on the fact that you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you’re not willing to wait that long. Try the many home remedies listed above when you breakout. Use gentle, natural ingredients to get rid of acne fast.
5. Acne is related to what you eat: Overall good health helps reduce acne, but eating one greasy burger is not going to give you a pimple. Unless you have a food allergy, your breakfast won’t cause a pimple to grow by dinner.
6. Sweating helps get rid of acne: In higher temperatures, your skin pores open up. This is an opportunity for gentle cleaning or letting more bacteria friendly matter in. If you exercise, steam your face, or spend time in the sun, make sure you gently cleanse your warm skin.
7. Moisturizer will make your skin too oily: When your skin is dehydrated, it can be prone to overproduction of oil, which clogs pores causing acne. Use light, gentle moisturizer daily to give your skin balance.
8. You know it’s working when it stings: If you’re using a product on your acne that is causing tingling, stinging, or pain, it’s too harsh. Pores that have developed pimples are already inflamed, irritated, and infected. Treat them gently.
9. Stress causes acne: While stress itself does not cause acne, it can produce hormones that will cause your body’s production of skin oil to spike. Keep your skin clean and moisturized when you’re under stress.
10. Acne is caused by dirt: Despite their color, blackheads are not dirt. All acne is caused by pores becoming clogged by dead skin or oil, which then becomes infected.
Not a myth: You can get acne on areas of your body other than your face. Unfortunately, this one is true.
What if I Have Acne That’s Not on my Face?
Unfortunately, acne is a problem that may not be limited to a few blackheads on the side of your nose. Acne and outbreaks of pimples can plague many other areas. Some places that can be as prone to embarrassing outbreaks as the face include back, neck, arms, and armpits. Each of these places has its own special challenges and methods of treatment for how to get rid of acne fast.
Also known as “bacne”, breakouts on your back, which can spread to your neck, buttocks, and upper arms, can be particularly difficult to treat. These pimples can be difficult to reach and are irritated by constant contact with clothing. The good news is that bacne will also largely be hidden by clothing during treatment.
Although you may need to recruit some assistance, back acne is treated the same way you would acne on your face with few exceptions. Use a gentle face cleanser twice each day and use a topical acne treatment. Acne soap is also available in bar form, which may be more convenient in this case. A weekly exfoliation can help treat acne and prevent future outbreaks. It may help to frequently change your shirt so that oil and sweat are not held close to your skin all day. Most back acne scars will fade after a few months have passed.
This same treatment will be effective for chest acne, which is easier to treat since you can see and reach it.
As if it weren’t bad enough that acne can be ugly and embarrassing! When it crops up in your armpits it can also cause constant pain, so you will want to get rid of this acne fast. The constant rubbing and sweating in this area can irritate the already inflamed sores.
Since this is a difficult area to keep clean and dry, treatment can be challenging. If possible, don’t shave your armpits during treatment because this augments the problem. If you must shave, use a clean razor each time and shaving cream for sensitive skin. Clean under your arms at least twice a day with an acne cleanser and try to avoid wearing shirts that pinch this area. Within a few days of paying special attention to hygiene in this area, your acne should begin fading.
Another problem some people experience is darkened underarm skin. This is generally caused by buildup of dead skin cells or blocked hair follicles. An exfoliating treatment, repeated 2-3 times a week, should help. If you still suffer from hyperpigmentation, try fresh lemon juice or a skin brightening cream. In extreme cases, a dermatologist may be able to prescribe a stronger cream for your hyperpigmentation.
The good news is that scalp acne is rarely noticeable to anyone besides the person suffering from it. The bad news is that it can be difficult to treat with your hair in the way.
Choosing hair care products that are gentle and oil free are the best ways to eliminating scalp acne. If it persists, consult a dermatologist. You may actually have psoriasis, folliculitis, or an infection. Since it’s difficult to examine your own scalp, don’t assume that it’s harmless acne and leave the problem untreated.
What Else Can I Try For My Acne?
If you have severe acne and feel like you have tried everything, you may be ready for more dramatic treatment.
Isotretinoin is a prescription medicine that treats acne by reducing your body’s natural oil production. This dries out acne – and the rest of your skin. Though Isotretinoin is generally effective at treating acne, some users report problems with itchy dry skin and eczema years after they cease use of Isotretinoin.
Antibiotics may be prescribed if your acne does not react to traditional over-the-counter and natural remedies. Remember, acne is technically an infection of the skin and may require prescription strength treatment.