Skin Care

Guide to pimple treatment and prevention

Acne during formative years can leave lasting scars, and I'm not strictly referring to physical scars. If you've never been called "pizza face" or been told your face "exploded," you may question my philosophy, but for all those teens out there suffering from poor self-image, there is hope.

Although I'm not an advocate of drugs, if you have a severe case of acne, you may want to consult a dermatologist for medical treatment. As tempting as it is to self-diagnose and jump online, I strongly discourage you from doing so. A lot of online drug companies use improper doses and are not regulated by the FDA.

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Some drugs can have severe side effects. One of the most popular anti-acne medications, isotretinoin, can cause severe birth defects, and woman are required to use two forms of birth control while ingesting this medication.

Other treatments, such as oral contraceptives (the pill), have been shown to clear up acne. Injections might also be used, and surgery can treat extreme cases of acne.

If you suffer from occasional flare-ups, there is help for you, too. By establishing a daily skin care regimen, you can usually prevent pimples before they form. Choose a mild cleanser. Growing up, I chose gritty cleansers because I was convinced that the harder I scrubbed, the more grit I would remove. My plan backfired. Scrubbing leads to skin agitation, which means more breakouts.

Once you find an effective cleanser, choose a toner. Toner sops up excess oil, which is prevalent in teenagers, and also rids your skin of excess cleanser that you may not have washed off. Top your skin off with a moisturizer to hydrate your skin. If your moisturizer does not contain SPF, make sure to apply sunscreen religiously. Contrary to popular belief, although the sun may temporarily dry up pimples, the dryness and damage excess exposure creates leads to more skin problems in the long run.

For spot treatment, I use Origins Spot Remover. Most skin care lines have a similar product that you dab directly on the imperfection. Within days, your pimple should clear up. In the meantime, dab a small amount of concealer over your pimple if you are sensitive.

Getting rid of pimples forever is unrealistic, but there are some tips for reducing your breakouts:

Although acne can be a sensitive subject, it usually clears up throughout your teenage years. With careful monitoring and proper treatment, you can lessen the often-painful side effects of severe acne.

By Molly Carter