Q: Hi Dr I have acne/pimples. What can I use to get rid of them?
A: Questions on pimples are very frequent as people wonder how to stop getting them or what to do to get rid of them. So here goes:
Pimples or acne are always a serious concern for males and females of all ages. When you’re a teenager, it appears life is generally miserable when you have a lot of these and when you’re older, it’s embarrassing and almost as if, you didn’t pass through rites of the teenage years and now have to deal with it at this age 😀 Either way, it can be a source of emotional upset. Stressing out about it, now makes it even worse as stress can make acne worse even if it doesn’t directly cause it.
Acne happens when hair follicles get blocked by dead skin cells and oil. They are most frequently found on the face, back, shoulders and neck.
Pimples are usually increased or aggravated by hormones which are in abundant supply during the teenage years, pregnancy, before the start of a menstrual period and when using some medications. In other instances, pimples result from friction between clothes and skin (e.g. collar, or wearing a back pack often), having greasy hair or other materials constantly touching the skin and a family history of acne.
Acne can be inflammatory (in which case they are usually painful like pimples) or non-inflammatory (blackheads or whiteheads). One of the major problems with acne is the fact that a lot of the people who have them can’t leave them well alone…plucking, tweaking, pressing and just generally touching them leading to more inflammation, scarring and even bacterial infections as germs from hands are transferred to them.
Treatment of acne is targeted at one or a mixture of the following factors: reducing inflammation, reducing oil production, improving skin cell turnover and reducing bacterial infection.
Creams with Salicylic acid or Benzoyl peroxide are useful for removing dead skin cells, killing off bacteria and reducing oil production. You may notice some slight irritation initially which wears off in a little while. Where in doubt, please see your doctor
Your doctor could also prescribe other (stronger) drugs if the above do not work to deal with the acne and the scarring.
You can prevent pimples by using gentle cleansers on your face in the morning and evening. Be sure that they do not dry out your face as these cause even further irritation.
Do not use your body soap on your face for the same reason. Use a facial bar or facial wash.
Keep greasy hair off your face and wear loose clothes that allow your skin to breathe. Cotton is always a great idea 😀 For this same reason, if you always carry a rucksack, switch it around and carry other bags in turn to allow your back ‘breath’
Do not use greasy cosmetics and if you have acne, perhaps you should give your foundation a miss for a while or try not to be too heavy handed with it 😀
Be sure to wipe all your makeup off your face every night. Those pores need some air after all that war paint we put over them 😀
And…please leave your face alone, especially if you’ve got pimples. Continually picking at them will just cause more scarring and increase the likelihood of bacterial infections 😉
For natural methods, Alpha hydroxy acids found in some fruits have been found to also be helpful. A good number of creams contain this and they help unclog pores and remove dead skin cells. Use with caution though as they may cause some irritation.
I hope this helps. Have a great night, people 😀