Acne comes in a number of forms. The most common type, Acne Vulgaris, may be mild or moderate and feature blackheads, whiteheads, papules, or pustules. nodules, or cysts:
1. Whiteheads: Pores get completely blocked by sebum (oil), bacteria, and dead skin cells. The combination looks white on the skin's surface. Though these things are tempting to squeeze, it's generally better to leave any kind of acne eruption untouched. But if you must squeeze or pop one, make certain your hands are clean and that you mop the site afterward to remove any residue. The bacteria inside any kind of pimple can spread infection to create new pimples nearby. It helps to use a sterile needle to nick a pimple before squeezing it with sterile gauze pads.
2. Blackheads: When a whitehead is only partially blocked, contents slowly drain to the surface, where the natural pigment in the dead skin cells reacts with oxygen to turn black.
3. Papules: Red, tender bumps with no head.
4. Pustules (the classic zit): An inflamed red circle with a white or yellow center.
Severe acne vulgaris displays nodules, large, hard bumps under the skin's surface, and cysts, nodules filled with pus.
Which Acne Treatment To Choose?
Severe acne of any type, including Acne Rosacea, which usually occurs over the age of 30, Acne Conglobata, Acne Fulminans, Gram-Negative folliculitis, and Pyoderma Faciale should be treated by a physician. Anti-bacterials and other medications needed to treat some of these require a physician's prescription.
Over the years, various creams, ointments, washes, pills, and dietary treatments have been tried in the battle against acne. They have included Retin-A, sulfur, 2% salicylic acid pads, clindamycin and sulfur, resorcinol, adapalene, erythromycin, azelaic acid, isotretinoin, tetracycline, doxycline, minocycline, oral contraceptives, tazarotene, sodium sulfacetamide, blue light treatment, and red light treatment, all with no consistent success and the last two being extremely expensive. Various folk and home remedies have proven worthless to some and invaluable to others.
How to Get Rid of Those Zits
Daniel Kern, owner of the site, Acne.org, recommends a simple treatment for acne. He discovered it and reports that he and others have used it with great success. It involves over-the-counter products that cost very little. Its three-step process that is followed twice a day, preferably with the treatments 12 hours apart:
1. Gently wash the affected areas. The operative word here is "gently," as it's a proven fact that rough treatment of an infected area will only spread the infection. Your aim here is to remove body oils to allow the medication used in the second step better penetrate infected pores. Use a mild soap with warm - not hot, not cold - water and use your bare hands, not a washcloth. DO NOT IRRITATE YOUR SKIN. Rinse gently and pat (not rub) dry.
2. Apply 2% benzoil peroxide cream from the tube. This is available at any drug store. Neutrogena On-the-Spot is one such product. Kern sells his own product on-line from his site. When you begin using it, start with a small amount, what you think would be the minimum amount to cover the area. Over the next two weeks, you will be increasing the amount used until it's double the amount you started with. Be careful to avoid the area around your eyes.
3. Wash your hands and apply a moisturizing lotion, a little less than the amount of benzoil peroxide cream you used. Benzoil peroxide works by drying up the oils that block pores. But it also dries your skin, making it flaky and itchy. The moisturizing lotion counteracts this.
If you have mild acne and you aren't all that concerned about treating it but want to hide it, cosmetics will do that. Just avoid the kind with oily bases; they will make acne worse. As for shaving a face that bears acne pustules, it's actually a good idea to shave. Dermatologists believe it improves acne by exfoliating the skin. You must be careful to shave around the pustules, however, not through them.