Why Do I Get Acne
Acne is an inflammatory skin problem caused by one or more of three things:
- Plugging of hair follicles
- Hormonal fluctuations that cause the body to secret excess oil
- Bacterial infection that causes inflammation
Acne severity can range from blackheads and whiteheads to cysts.
Nearly 85 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 24 experience acne. Why some people have severe breakouts while others barely have a pimple is not entirely clear. But genetics and environmental influences clearly play a role.
How To Clear Up Acne Fast: 15 Tried
- Read Time:6 minutes
- by Jennifer
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Acne is a common problem that most people have to face at one point or another. A problem that always seems to show up at the worst times. So how do you clear up acne fast, when it pops up out of nowhere and you dont have the time or patience to wait it out, and you need it gone yesterday?
If youre looking for tried and true ways to help clear acne flare-ups fast then this is for you.
What Should You Look For In A Cleanser
In general, avoid overly aggressive and harsh cleansers, especially if youre already using a prescription topical ingredient. With dry and sensitive skin, a creamy cleanser may be a better option. For oily skin, a gentle, foaming cleanser may be better. If someone has a lot of blackheads, something with salicylic acid can be helpful because it seeks out oil and unclogs pores. Benzoyl peroxide also has antibacterial properties and can help remove dead skin.
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Avoid Skincare Products That Contain Oil
Skin care products containing oil can clog the pores. This can worsen acne symptoms and increase the likelihood of developing pimples.
Using topical products, such as moisturizers and sunscreens that do not contain oil can help to reduce the risk of blocking pores.
People refer to products that do not contain oil as noncomedogenic.
Wipe Down Your Headphones
Sneaky everyday habits could secretly be doing a number on your skin. Even something as seemingly harmless as wearing over-the-ear headphones could be the culprit to breakouts around your temples and jawline. “This is especially the case when you wear them during and after a workout, or if you keep them on for long periods of time,” says dermatologist Dr. Debra Luftman. “Sweat and moisture collect on and around the headphones, compressing the skin and therefore encouraging bacteria and yeast to multiply,” she says. Gross, but true. Use an antibacterial wipe to quickly disinfect your headphones.
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Shower Asap After Exercise
Sweat that gets trapped against the skin and then dries can be highly irritating to hair follicles. It can create the perfect place for bacteria to grow.
Try to schedule workouts and other physical activities so that you can take a shower immediately after. Don’t stop by the grocery store or the library until you’ve lathered up and changed clothes.
Biking, rowing, spin classes, and other activities that you perform while sitting can create friction on the skin of the buttocks. This may irritate butt acne. In these cases, it may be best to switch to an alternative activity until the breakout heals.
Make Your Own Natural Remedy
Another way to get rid of your pimples is to try making your own all-natural at-home remedy using ingredients you already have in your cupboard, such as apple cider vinegar or toothpaste. Later in our guide, we outline the specific steps you can take to make these easy zit treatments.
Now that you have a quick peek at how to get rid of pimples, it’s time to discover more about types of acne and potential causes for your breakouts.
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Trying Out Oral Medications
Historically, the premier hormonal mediator has always been the birth control pill, which works by replacing the hormones your ovaries are producing with synthetic varieties that won’t stimulate those pesky sebaceous glands as much. But this doesn’t have to be your first line of defense. Marmur points out that while the Pill may clear up acne, it can also provoke another unsightly reaction: melasma, a noticeable discoloration of the skin that she says is on par with acne in her practice as a top complexion complaint. If you do opt for the Pill, figure out an exit strategy first. “Birth control pills can be very effective. But eight or nine times out of ten, when you stop them you are right back where you started,” says Bank.
Bank’s a big fan of the controversial Accutane, the prescription-only vitamin Aderived pill, because it continues to work after you stop using it. “Accutane is still, hands-down, our most effective, lasting antipimple medication,” he says. “My Accutane-treated patients are among the happiest and most grateful patients.” Although an Accutane prescription comes with significant FDA regulation , most of the derms we interviewed believe it to be worth the trouble. Downie calls Accutane “the be-all end-all for really bad cystic acne,” and Mariwalla says: “After you stop the medication, many people have a durable response for many, many years.”
Wash Your Face Regularly
If you only take one tip from this list, this is it. Its super important that you follow and stick to a daily cleaning routine. Your oil glands are active all day and when that oil combines with dirt, makeup, and pollution, it can potentially worsen and cause breakouts. If at the end of the day youre unable to wash your face, substitute with face wipes.
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Try To Keep Your Hands Off Your Face
One of the most basic tips for how to get rid of acne is simply to keep your hands to yourself. Your hands arent always clean, and dirt under your fingernails and improper squeezing can cause acne to spread or lead to further infection, Dr. Hammerman says. Plus, popping can lead to pitted scars, which stick around much longer than that pimple would.
When To See A Doctor
If you find that youre developing dark spots frequently, or if the appearance of these dark spots is affecting your day-to-day life, its time to speak to your healthcare provider.
If youre concerned about your dark spots and dont already have a dermatologist, you can view doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.
Creating a treatment plan with your dermatologist can give you a realistic perspective of dark spots caused by pimples. Having a plan and a professional to call on can make all the difference.
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Consider Light Or Laser Therapies
A dermatologist may recommend photodynamic therapy to treat acne and pimples.
In photodynamic therapy, a medical professional applies a topical solution that makes the skin more susceptible to light. Following this, they will target the acne area with a focused light source. This can destroy dead skin cells and bacteria.
There are many other light and laser therapies that can reduce the appearance of acne blemishes and pimples through similar means.
Leave The Extractions To The Pros
As far as picking goes, it’s hard to resist the lure of the magnifying mirror, that evil contraption that turns every pore into a crater. But while it may appear that your clogged pores number in the thousands, many of those little dots, particularly on the nose, are entirely normal hair follicles. Resist the urge to squeeze leave extractions to the professionals. “If you have a well-trained medical aesthetician working under the auspice of a derm, they can use acne extractors or microneedles to actually get in there for the more difficult whiteheads,” says Neil Sadick, MD, who shares his Park Avenue office space in New York with facialist Luzinete Ripardo, famed for her incredibly thorough pore cleanses.
But the most major advancement may come thanks to gene research, such as that done at P& G’s Miami Valley laboratory in Ohio. A team of researchers led by Rosemarie Osborne, PhD, recently developed an innovative combination of a topical antimicrobial and vitamin B that was shown, in double-blind independent clinical studies, to reduce sebum production significantly .
What next? “The biggest genomics breakthrough relative to acne is understanding why some of us get acne and others don’t,” Osborne says. “This type of research will lead to more customized solutions for acne-prone skin in the near future.” For longtime acne sufferers, that sounds akin to a quantum leapone that just may help ensure that we never have to turn to toothpaste as a skin care treatment again.
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Cover Up With The Best Foundation For Acne Prone Skin
When you need your pimples to disappear in a pinch, you may have to get a little creative. Using foundation won’t make your zits go away, but it can temporarily cover them up. Regular foundation can help smooth your skin and even out skin tone. Using the best foundation for acne prone skin can also provide a much needed emotional boost from looking your best. After cleansing and moisturizing, use a foundation designed for combination or oily skin to prevent acne. Make sure it’s labeled “non-acnegenic” and “non-comedogenic.”
Look Into Birth Control
Birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progesterone have been shown to lower the amount of androgens in your body and therefore, are sometimes prescribed to help treat hormonal acne.
It can take a few months to see results and initially your acne may get worse. There are risks associated with taking birth control pills, and some types can actually make your acne worse. Talk to your doctor to see if taking birth control pills will help the kind of acne you have.
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Use Salicylic Acid Medicated Pads
Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that helps the skin shed cells more effectively. Pre-treated salicylic acid pads are ideal for dabbing this medication onto affected areas. Make sure you keep the medicine well away from your genitals.
It’s okay to use products formulated for the face on other areas of the body, such as:
For treating butt acne, you’ll get better results with a 2% salicylic acid than you would with a lower percentage.
Salicylic acid pads can be used along with benzoyl peroxide. If skin becomes irritated or overly dry, scale back use to either one or the other.
Tread Carefully When It Comes To Home Remedies
While toothpaste, lemon juice, and even Windex have been cited as excellent at-home remedies for blemishes, dermatologists advise against them. Skip these “DIY fixes:”
- “Toothpaste traditionally contained an ingredient called triclosan, which has antimicrobial properties, and the thought was that it helped lower levels of acne-causing bacteria to reduce inflammation and treat the pimple,” Dr. Zeichner explains. “Because triclosan is a known cause of skin allergies, it has been removed from most toothpastes, so they are no longer useful in treating acne.”
- “Lemon juice is also irritating and wouldn’t have any effect on the pimple itself,” Dr. Day adds.
- Windex well, it’s glass cleaner. Don’t put glass cleaner on your face.
One way to remove pimples naturally is by applying tea tree oil, which “may help by reducing inflammation and lowering levels of acne-causing bacteria,” Dr. Zeichner says. But he warns against applying it undiluted to the skin, because it may cause irritation.
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Foods That Help Clear Acne
- Fiber: Eating a diet high in fiber can help, since fiber helps to control your blood sugar levels and therefore controls the amount of oil your skin produces. Try including more fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.
- Fatty fish: Studies show that eating foods with omega-3 fatty acids can improve your acne over time. Omega-3 fatty acids help lower inflammation and reduce the production of a protein involved in the release of insulin growth factors. You can find these fatty acids in fishes like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna.
- Healthy oils: Consider using healthier oils like walnut, soybean, and canola oil. These also contain omega-3 fatty acids that can help keep acne at bay.
- Nuts: Nuts are a good snack option, since they are chock full of antioxidants that people with acne are often lacking, such as vitamin E and selenium. While there is no definitive data that proves the link between nut consumption and clear skin, there is no harm in including these healthy foods in your diet, as long you eat in moderation.
- Zinc: Zinc has been shown to have promising results when it comes to clearing up acne. Rich food sources of zinc include oysters, poultry, nuts, beans, whole grains, and fortified cereals.
- Probiotics: Probiotics help balance gut bacteria, which may have many beneficial effects including an increase in anti-inflammatory fatty acids in the blood.
How Long Does It Take For Water To Clear Acne
Drinking 2 to 3 liters a day or 6 to 8 glasses of water throughout the day for at least one month improves the condition of your skin.Staying hydrated will help flow toxins away from your body and boost your immune system to fight bacteria that cause acne.Even when you start seeing changes and your acne starts to fade off, keep up with the routine of taking the right amount of water daily and see your whole body system function better.
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Ask Your Doctor About Cortisone Injections
If you wake up the day before school starts with a big honking zit, your doc may be able to help. If you can swing it, Dr. Levin says your best bet is to head to the dermatologist for a cortisone injection.
It’s quick, with minimal discomfort, and will zap your zit almost immediately. This isn’t an easy or cheap option, obviously, but when it’s an emergency like, you have a huge whitehead on the tip of your nose the day before senior portraits it might be worth it.
How Can You Modify Your Diet To Improve Acne
Avoid excessive sugar, desserts and sodas.
In terms of healthful foods, leafy greens and a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin C and beta-carotene can be helpful because these nutrients have an anti-inflammatory effect. Also, some studies have shown that the consumption of certain dairy products could be associated with acne.
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Experiment With Acne Medications
You’ve probably seen the Proactiv clear skin system advertised on television at some point over the last several years, but does it work? Proactiv is one of the better acne remedies out there for mild cases of inflammatory and noninflammatory acne, hormonal acne and adult acne. The starter kit comes with a gentle benzoyl peroxide exfoliating cleanser, a glycolic acid pore cleanser, and a benzoyl peroxide repairing treatment.
Proactiv 3-step acne treatment system, from $33 for a 30-day starter kit,
Another option is Clean & Clear’s Continuous Control Acne Cleanser, a 10 percent benzoyl peroxide facial cleanser, is one of the best face washes designed for everyday cleansing if you have acne. Add an oil-free facial sunscreen as well.
Clean & Clear Continuous Control acne facial cleanser, from $9, Target.com
You can also try e.l.f. brand Acne Fighting Foundation, which contains ingredients to both fight acne and soothe irritated skin, including salicylic acid, witch hazel, camphor, tea tree extract and aloe. This is one of the best acne products on the market for not only “covering up” acne, but continuing to treat it, as well.
e.l.f Cosmetics Acne Fighting foundation, from $6,
Our final suggestion is Effaclar Duo includes micronized benzoyl peroxide that gets at acne deep within the skin. The non-drying, oil-free product is good for moderate acne.
La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo duel action acne treatment cream, from $20,
Invest In A Cotton Face Mask
Yep, maskne is *actually* a real thing. The combination of sweat, germs, and the rubbing of your mask causes a very specific type of breakout, called acne mechanica. There are a bunch of ways to treat and prevent it , but the easiest is to switch to a breathable face mask made of natural fibers, like cotton or linen.
OllieBelleUS Phyto Anti-Acne Mask – 2 masks
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Stop Touching Your Face
You know how you rest your chin on your hand when you’re sitting in class? That might be the reason for those blemishes on your cheek or jaw. You’re constantly touching things that have germs and bacteria anything from your phone to your locker so, putting your hands on your face transfers all of that onto your skin.
Are There Any Home Remedies For Acne
- Cosmetics: Don’t be afraid to hide blemishes with flesh-tinted cover-ups or even foundation, as long as it is water-based . There are many quality products available.
- Facials: While not absolutely essential, steaming and “deep-cleaning” pores are useful, both alone and in addition to medical treatment, especially for people with “whiteheads” or “blackheads.”Having these pores unclogged by a professional also reduces the temptation to do it oneself.
- Pore strips: Pharmacies now carry, under a variety of brand names, strips which one applies to the nose, forehead, chin, etc., to “pull out” oil from pores. These are, in effect, a do-it-yourself facial. They are inexpensive, safe, and work reasonably well if used properly.
- Toothpaste: One popular home remedy is to put toothpaste on zits. There is no medical basis for this. The same applies to vinegar.
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