6 ways to get rid of acne
Acne is the leading skin complaint dermatologists observe in New Zealand. It affects almost everyone at some stage in their lives, particularly during adolescence but frequently stretches well into adulthood. Whether it's on your cheeks, chest or back, almost everyone has experienced some degree of acne in their lives. Read on for six different ways to treat it - including stubborn scarring.
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While studies have found no direct link between acne and lifestyle, experts recommend adopting a holistic approach to the skin disease. “There is some evidence that a low glycaemic index diet (low carbohydrates and sugars) and high fish intake has beneficial effects and reduces the incidence of acne,” says Dr Yiasemides. Caroline Parker agrees, suggesting that sufferers reduce intake of high glycaemic carbohydrates like white bread, rice and potatoes.
Elevated stress has been known to intensify acne further - try employing stress management techniques. Parker suggests yoga, meditation or breathing exercises to help calm the mind, as well as a minimum of eight hours sleep each night.
While an emergency spot treatment certainly serves a purpose, it won’t work miracles. It’s imperative that you are regularly cleansing, exfoliating and moisturising alongside this, with products that cater to your blemish concerns and skin type. “Many fall into the habit of treating when the problem is visible when in fact that breakout started six weeks prior underneath the skin,” explains Keshan Gunasingh, Director of Beauty Research and Development for Johnson & Johnson.
Light therapy refers to non-laser sources of light that help eradicate acne-causing bacteria at the source. It is a pain-free and relatively low-cost alternative with clinically proven results. “LED therapy works by gently penetrating the skin through blue or red light, and targeting acne-causing bacteria and reducing inflammation,” explains Yiasemides. Previously only available at dermatologists and skin centres, there are now take-home options available that combine both the benefits of the red and blue light.
Pictured: bh editor Erin was one of the first in New Zealand to try the Neutrogena Light Therapy Mask when it launched last year and rates it for calming redness and inflammation
If over-the-counter treatment isn’t working, your doctor can prescribe oral medication, which can help manage the severity and frequency of acne outbreaks. Medication works by reducing oil production, fighting bacterial infection and reducing inflammation. It’s important to note that with the majority of prescription drugs, results won’t be visible until four to eight weeks and your skin may get worse before it get better.
Consult a dermatologist
Before progressing with more costly treatments, we recommend getting your acne assessed by a dermatologist so an appropriate treatment plan can be advised specific to your skin.
In many cases acne leaves behind pigmentation and scarring. Fortunately, laser treatment is widely available and has proven effective in significantly reducing the appearance of this. Users can expect an increased sensation of heat during the treatment says Marianna Glucina of About Face. “We apply a topical anaesthetic ointment before the procedure to minimise the discomfort you may experience and follow up with a cooling gel after the procedure to minimise any residual heat sensation,” she adds.
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