As you may already know, your skin contains thousands of tiny little holes called pores. All pores have something inside them called sebaceous glands which produce an oil called sebum. Under normal circumstances, sebum exits the pore and doesn’t cause any problems. In some unfortunate circumstances, the pore becomes blocked and infected, and the sebum gets stuck inside the pore, causing a pimple. The pimple usually starts as a blackhead or whitehead, sometimes too small to see with your eyes, and if the wall of the pore breaks, can form an inflamed pimple, also called a papule and pustule.
EditClearing Acne with Hydrogen Peroxide
- Talk to your doctor first. Consult your doctor or dermatologist before trying hydrogen peroxide for your acne. Many experts don’t recommend using hydrogen peroxide for acne due to it’s irritating and drying potential. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a chemical which can act as both a bleach and a disinfectant. Our bodies actually produce small quantities of hydrogen peroxide to help attract white blood cells to areas where there’s an infection. Because of its disinfectant abilities, hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria. But it isn’t selective in what bacteria it kills, and our bodies contain a lot of necessary and healthy bacteria.
- Obtain the proper kind of hydrogen peroxide. You can use hydrogen peroxide to clear acne using one of two methods: in a cream, which contains a concentration of up to 1% hydrogen peroxide; and in “pure” liquid form, which should contain no more than a 3% concentration. Hydrogen peroxide can come in concentrations higher than 3%, but those higher concentrations should never be used on your skin.
- Hydrogen peroxide in a 3% concentration can almost always be found in a drugstore, near the first aid supplies. If you are only able to find hydrogen peroxide in larger concentrations (normally 35%) you will need to dilute it with water before using it on your face. To dilute a 35% concentration to 3%, you’ll need 11 parts of water for every one part of hydrogen peroxide.
- If you use the cream version, follow the instructions on the package as to how to apply it to your face, and how often.
- Wash your face using your normal daily routine. If you have acne, this should include using a gentle soap and only your hands — not cloths or brushes. Wash your face using warm water to help open the pores before cleansing and using the hydrogen peroxide. Dry your face completely before applying the hydrogen peroxide. Dry skin will absorb the hydrogen peroxide better than wet skin.
- Apply the hydrogen peroxide to your clean skin. Use a cotton pad, cotton ball or even a Q-Tip, soak it in the hydrogen peroxide, and move it over the affected areas of your skin. Do not apply it to unaffected areas. Leave it to soak into your skin for 5-7 minutes.
- Try out a small amount on a small area of your skin before putting it over larger areas to make sure your skin can tolerate it and that it doesn’t cause too much irritation. And if it is too irritating to your skin, talk to your doctor about a different option.
- Do not apply hydrogen peroxide to the skin more than once a day.
- Apply oil-free moisturizer. After the hydrogen peroxide has soaked into your skin, gently apply a high-quality, oil-free facial moisturizer. One of the reasons that hydrogen peroxide works on acne is because it helps dry up the excess oil on your skin. A moisturizer helps ensure you do not completely dry out your skin and keeps your skin soft and smooth.
EditReducing Acne with Natural Products
- Try benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Benzoyl peroxide is similar to hydrogen peroxide in that it can act as an antibacterial agent and it can help dry out excess oil on your skin. Salicylic acid helps reduce inflammation and unclog pores, which in turn helps reduce or eliminate pimples. Both benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can be found as the main active ingredient in topical skin treatments (i.e. creams or lotions) or cleansers designed specifically to treat acne. There are a large number of options available over-the-counter at your local drug store.
- It can take six to eight weeks before such treatments start to show serious results, so be patient. If you do not notice any difference after 10 weeks, consider trying something else.
- Tone your skin with lemon juice. Lemon juice works as both an antibacterial agent and an exfoliant. It not only kills the bacteria that causes acne, but it help remove excess oil and dead skin from your face. Lemon juice can also act as a natural bleach and can help lighten acne scars over time. After you’ve washed your face using your normal daily routine, apply one to two teaspoons of pure lemon juice to the affected areas of your skin using a cotton pad or ball. Leave for at least 30 minutes. If you do this before bed, you can let the lemon juice dry and simply to go bed. If it’s during the day, rinse the lemon juice off your face with cold water.Apply your normal daily facial moisturizer when your face is dry.
- Be careful using lemon juice if you have open sores, as lemon juice can cause stinging if applied to open sores.
- Due to the skin lightening effects, you should not use lemon juice if you have naturally dark skin.
- Use tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is a natural ingredient that works as an antibacterial to kill the bacteria that causes acne. It is also gentler on your skin that many other more acidic treatments. You can use 100% pure tea tree oil directly on pimples after you’ve washed your face, or you can mix it with either aloe vera gel or honey to create a cream that can be used for spot treatments.
- Make your very own facial scrub by mixing ½ cup of sugar, one tablespoon of honey, ¼ cup of olive or sesame oil and 10 drops of tea tree oil together. Once mixed you can apply it to your skin and scrub for three minutes to help exfoliate your skin, then rinse off with warm water.
- For some people with acne, tea tree oil can be too irritating, so try it out in a small area before using it all over, and stop using it if it causes significant irritation to your skin.
- Create a baking soda paste. Baking soda is a great natural exfoliant, and it is very inexpensive. You can mix baking soda with warm water until it forms a paste, and then apply the paste to your face like mask for up to 15 minutes. Before rinsing off the mask, make sure you very gently scrub it into your skin to help remove excess oil and dead skin cells. You can also add a teaspoon of baking soda to your non-exfoliating facial cleanser before washing your face. The baking soda will add exfoliation properties to your cleanser.
EditUsing Medical Treatments for Acne Removal
- Consult a dermatologist regarding topical treatments. Discuss, and show, your specific acne problem to a dermatologist and work with him to develop a personalized treatment plan for your specific situation. Several topical treatments (i.e. creams, lotions, gels, etc.) are available via a dermatologist that may work for your acne. Those treatments may include:
- Topical antibiotics that you can dab onto your problem areas to help control the bacteria that is causing your acne.
- Topical retinoid medications, which are made from vitamin A and can help unclog your pores, and they can also help antibiotics work more effectively.
- Ask a dermatologist about oral antibiotics. Oral antibiotics (i.e. pill form) are also available from your dermatologist for acne problems, should your dermatologist deem them a good treatment plan for you. These antibiotics would be similar to those you’d take if you had any other type of infection, such as a bladder infection. They’d help to kill the bacteria that is causing your acne.
- Some doctors may also consider prescribing oral contraceptives (i.e. birth control pills) to young women with acne problems. Some low-dose oral contraceptives, which contain a combination of the hormones estrogen and progestin, can actually help control and reduce the amount of acne on your skin.
- Ask for medical extractions. You’ve probably heard people telling you not to pop your own pimples (and they’re right) — but this doesn’t mean that a doctor can’t do it for you! Medical extractions area a safe way to clean out infected pores without the increased risk of scaring that can happen when popping pimples on your own. Since medical extractions focus on specific pimples, you will probably need to go back to the doctor again if you suffer from another breakout.
- Spas that offer facials specifically for helping clear up acne may also perform extractions, and this option is certainly better than doing it yourself. However, you may want to ask the aesthetician what type of products they’re using on your skin during the facial to ensure they don’t end up clogging your pores all over again!
- Look into getting a chemical peel. Chemical peels must be done by a trained professional. That professional will use a high concentration solution of something like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or trichloroacetic acid (TCA) to remove the top layers of skin on your face (or elsewhere on your body where you have problems). The removal of these layers of skin helps clear up excess oil and dead skin to help your pores work properly.
- Chemical peels should not be done to people who are also taking oral retinoids (like isotretinoin) as the combination of the two products can cause your skin to become severely irritated.
- While the effect of one chemical peel may show results for you, chances are you will need more than one to achieve a lasting effect.
- Get a cortisone injection. Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory steroid medication that can be injected right into an acne lesion. The cortisone will reduce the swelling of the lesion acne within 24–48 hours after the injection. Obviously, because it’s being injected directly into a specific pimple, it is more of a spot treatment than an overall solution and is normally not used for those with severe acne.
- Ask about light therapy. Light therapy has shown some promise for people suffering from acne, but it is still a “work-in-progress”. The idea behind light therapy is that certain types of light (i.e. blue light) can target specific bacteria that causes acne and help reduce the inflammation in your pores. Most light therapy is done by a professional, in a clinic. But there are some at-home solutions available as well.
- Similarly, several lasers have been used to help clear acne breakouts and improve scars.
- Discuss the option of an oral retinoid with a dermatologist. Isotretinoin, which is an oral retinoid, can help reduce the amount of sebum your pores produce, which in turn will help reduce inflammation and acne. However, isotretinoin, which is also known as Accutane, is normally used by doctors as a last resort for patients with severe acne who who haven’t responded to other methods of treatment. If it is prescribed, it is normally only taken for four to five months.
- Isotretinoin has some very serious side effects. It can increase the amount of fat in your blood to risky levels, and it can impact the function of your liver. It can also cause serious dryness to your skin, especially your lips and areas where you have acne. Doctors will usually test your blood regularly to monitor these potential side effects.
- The most serious side effect of isotretinoin is birth defects. Obviously this means it should never be taken if you are pregnant, think you might be pregnant, or are trying to get pregnant. If you are sexually active while taking isotretinoin, you must protect yourself with at least two forms of birth control to ensure you do not get pregnant.
- Scientific research has yet to discover the exact cause of pimples and acne, but they do know it is related to hormones, genetics, and stress in some way. There is actually no scientific proof that acne is caused by what you eat.
- In addition to its bacteria-fighting properties, hydrogen peroxide also helps clean the skin by removing the layer of dead skin and excess oil that lies on top of the clogged pore.
- Not everyone’s skin is going to react to hydrogen peroxide the same way. If you experience any uncomfortable side effects after applying hydrogen peroxide (or any other chemicals) — stop immediately and consult your doctor.
- If you are already seeing a dermatologist, obtain her advice before using any other method they have not already recommended.
- Get Rid of Acne Using Mint Leaves
- Treat Pimples with Fucidin
- Use Herbs to Treat Acne
- Get Rid of Pimples with Baking Soda
- Avoid Negative Effects of Benzoyl Peroxide
EditSources and Citations
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