Do you suffer from acne and blackheads? Are you looking for a answers about how to look and feel better about yourself? Then, Removing Blackheads Guide is for you! Reports show that over 90 percent of all adolescents and almost 25 percent of all adults are acne sufferers. And although acne affects about 50 percent of all adult women, acne does affect males and females worldwide, regardless of nationality.
This website includes information based upon research about acne. It strives to help clear up myths from facts and present an overview of the issues surrounding acne along with possible solutions available to help with the prevention and treatment of acne, all based upon the most recent studies, reports, articles and findings available, so that you can learn more acne health care.
For example, does chocolate really cause blackheads? And how about oily foods? Do French fries bring on the acne? The latest reports show that although scientific evidence is not 100% accurate in this area, your diet does not directly cause acne. And by diet, this means not only chocolate and French fries, but also any other dietary combinations with sugar and oil or other ingredients.
Four Types of Acne
There are basically four types of acne:
- Pimples and
Whiteheads are when the sebum (oil) and resulting bacteria are trapped below the skin’s surface and you can actually see a white head appear above (or near popping out of) the skin. Blackheads are when the sebum and resulting bacteria are only partially trapped, slowly draining out the surface and turning black because of your skin’s melanin or pigmentation. In the absence of either white or blackhead are generally (but not always) smaller pimples. And the often deeper, boil-like lesions are referred to as nodules.
All forms of acne can be mild, moderate or severe. Typically, mild acne is visible in the form of whiteheads and blackheads, sometimes pimples. With moderate acne, more pimples and pustules are present on the face, some may appear on the back or chest. And with severe acne, many nodules develop, often large and sore, over parts of the face, back, chest and other body areas. This type of acne can lead to scarring. Actually, lesser cases of acne have been followed by scarring. So for those with possible nodular acne, seeking advice from a healthcare provider as soon as possible is recommended.
A gender issue to note is that males more often have the severe form of acne rather than females, due to their hormones. And the areas where they tend to break out most frequently are unfortunately more difficult to treat, the chest and back.
The real cause of acne, including blackheads, can actually be a blend of several factors that we’ll discuss here. Get the information you need from this blackhead removal guide today!
Rid of Blackheads Fast
Have an acne problem and need to get rid of blackheads fast? There are many different avenues to choose from. We will review over the counter topical medications, prescription medication, phyiscal treatments and seeing a dermatologist.
Over-the-Counter Topical Medications
There are many types of over-the-counter treatments for acne. Most people, when first faced with an acne condition, usually go to the local pharmacy and buy an over-the-counter medication on the basis of recommendations from their friends or perhaps even television ads. It’s always a good idea, however, to consult with a doctor before using any kind of over-the-counter medication. Even though acne is a fairly benign condition, a doctor can advise on the best course of treatment and also offers suggestions based on your particular kind of acne.
Because of the large number of products available for treating acne, it can be difficult to decide which one to try. Depending on advice from your friends is not too reliable, because what works for one person may not work for another. It’s best if you have some background knowledge about the active ingredients in various acne medications, so you can make a better informed choice about which medication to try.
One of the most popular ingredients in acne treatments is benzoyl peroxide. It is found in gels and ointments and works by combating the bacteria which causes pimples. It is also useful for removing dead skin cells that accumulate on the surface of the skin. It is these dead skin cells which combine with sebum to create blackheads and whiteheads.
Benzoyl peroxide has been proven to be safe and effective in combating lesions. It can be used after acne has cleared up to keep the skin free from acne causing bacteria. The only side effect associated with this ingredient is dry skin, and this can be avoided by decreasing the frequency that it is applied on the skin. It can also bleach hair and clothing, so care must be taken when applying it.
Another popular ingredient in acne medications is salicylic acid. This prevents acne by clearing up dead skin cells which are accumulating too quickly and clogging the pores. Products which contain salicylic acid should continue to be used after the skin has cleared up to prevent future outbreaks of acne. The only side effects associated with salicylic acid are dry, irritated skin.
Other ingredients you may see in acne medications include resorcinol and sulphur. Resorcinol causes the top layer of skin to peel — including the dead skin cells which clog the pores. It is often combined with sulphur. It is not known how sulphur affects acne conditions, but it has been used effectively for more than 50 years. Sulphur is often combined with other ingredients besides resorcinol like salicylate acid and benzoyl peroxide. It is not usually used by itself because of its strong, unpleasant odor.
Of all these ingredients used for combating acne, benzoyl peroxide is probably the most versatile. It can be used in cleansing liquids or bars, as well as lotion, cream, and gels which are applied directly on the skin. The cleansing products are usually used once or twice a day, while the creams and lotions can be used as needed. They should be applied on the skin around the acne as well as the pimples themselves for most effectiveness. You must avoid getting benzoyl peroxide in the eyes, mouth or nose as it will cause irritation or inflammation.
Many people try to treat acne conditions on their own without consulting a doctor. However, it is always a good idea to check with a dermatologist when you notice any kind of unusual skin condition. Even if it turns out to be acne, the doctor can give you valuable information and advice about how to treat it.
Mild and moderate conditions of acne can often be treated with over-the-counter medications, but severe cases should be treated by a dermatologist and prescription medicine. Even if the acne is moderate, a prescription medicine may be more effective than what is available over-the-counter.
There are two types of prescription acne medications — oral and topical. Antibiotics are often used to fight acne, and they can be taken orally or as a lotion. Topical prescription medications may include ingredients such as zinc or retinoids.
Antibiotics — The most common antibiotic used for treating acne is tetracycline. It is used to kill the bacteria responsible for acne and also reduces inflammation. Antibiotic treatment may take several weeks or even months to be effective and must continue even after the acne has cleared up. A common side effect associated with tetracycline is increased sensitivity to sun light resulting in bad sunburns if the patient stays in the sun too long. Other side effects include upset stomach, dizziness, and hives.
Women taking tetracycline can suffer from increased incidences of vaginal yeast. Pregnant women and children under the age of 12 cannot take tetracycline because it discolours growing teeth.
Ointments — Antibiotic ointments have fewer complications than oral antibiotics. They are effective in killing bacteria which cause acne, and when used in conjunction with other topical treatments like benzoyl peroxide the bacteria may not develop resistance to the antibiotics.
Retinoids — Retinoids are derived from vitamin A and can be applied directly on the skin in the form of lotions or creams. Topical retinoid medications are useful for treating blackheads and whiteheads by helping to open clogged pores. A common side effect of topical retinoids is dry skin.
Oral retinoids can be used for more severe forms of acne which don’t respond to other treatments. Oral retinoids cause the upper layer of the skin to peel thereby opening pores. They also cause the body to produce less sebum – the substance which causes oily skin.
A number of serious side effects are associated with oral retinoids. They can cause birth defects if mothers are taking them when pregnant, so females must use two forms of birth control if they are under retinoid treatment. They can also cause liver damage and depression, so regular medical attention is needed to make sure the patient is not being adversely affected by retinoid treatment.
Other medications – Birth control pills are sometimes effective in treating acne in women. They change hormone levels in the body and can reduce the acne causing effects of testosterone. Zinc is a relatively new treatment that is effective in some cases. Always discuss with your dermatologist for the most effective treatment for your particular case.
Mild acne conditions are usually best treated by topical ointments. More severe cases may be treated in a variety of ways including oral antibiotics, ointments, and physical treatments such as chemical peels and drainage.
Physical treatments must be conducted by a dermatologist. Although popping pimples is a form of physical treatment, it is ill-advised. It can cause acne-causing bacteria to spread and may lead to scarring. Physical treatments done under controlled conditions (i.e. in a doctor’s office) minimize risk while providing the best outcome.
The top layer of skin can be removed either chemically or with abrasion. Chemical peels are usually done with salicylic acid or glycolic acid. These work by destroying a microscopic layer of skin cells to unclog pores and remove the build-up of dead cells. The same effect can be achieved by using an abrasive cloth or liquid scrub. Glycolic acid treatments can be done every two to four weeks over a period of about six months, but salicylic acid treatments are milder and are often included in over-the-counter medications. They can be used on a daily basis.
Comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) can be removed by a dermatologist using sterile instruments. An anesthetic cream is used in the immediate area and then the comedones are extracted using a pen-like instrument which opens the top to allow removal of the plugged skin cells and sebum. The procedure is usually followed by an application of antibiotic cream. It is important not to try this at home — squeezing or picking at pimples can lead to infection and permanent scarring.
Severe acne can sometimes cause cysts to form under the skin. These cysts can be painful and disfiguring. Smaller cysts can be treated with cortisone injections which flatten the lesion in a day or two. Larger cysts may need to be drained and surgically removed. Drainage can help relieve the pain associated with cysts and also reduce the chance of scarring. It is performed in the dermatologist’s office with sterile instruments. It is important not to try to drain cysts by yourself because of the risk of infection which could lead to permanent scarring.
Light therapy is sometimes used to combat the acnes bacteria that cause acne. It is particularly useful in treating hard-to-reach areas but may have a short-term effect because it does not do anything about the production of sebum or the accumulation of dead skin cells.
Laser therapy is useful for treating the scars caused by acne. It can be used for both surface-level scarring as well as deep tissue scarring caused by serious acne conditions. Research is currently being conducted on the use of lasers for acne treatment. Several approaches are being examined – burning away the follicle sac which produces the hair; burning away the gland which produces sebum; and forming oxygen in the bacteria to kill them. It is not yet known if laser acne treatment can cause permanent damage to the skin.
Seeing a Dermatologist
Even though mild acne isn’t a serious condition it is a good idea to see a dermatologist if your skin breaks out. You can receive valuable information about the cause of acne as well as learning about the options for treatment. In addition, there is a condition called keratosis pilaris that is sometimes confused with acne, so seeing a dermatologist can determine which condition you actually have so that you are not wasting time with inappropriate treatments.
Mild conditions of acne can be effectively treated with over-the-counter medications but more severe cases need the attention of a doctor. Acne can cause physical as well as emotional suffering and can lead to permanent scarring if not properly treated. When acne is not responding to over-the-counter medications you should consult with a dermatologist for treatment.
It is a good idea to prepare for your first consultation by writing down as much information about your acne as possible. The doctor will want to know the background — how long you have had acne, what form it takes (blackheads, whiteheads, lesions etc.) and what you have done to treat it. You may also be asked if your parents or siblings had acne and how severe it was for them.
Since the acne treatment may include oral medications you should be prepared to tell the doctor if you are allergic to certain medicines. Girls may be asked to describe their menstrual period and boys may need to say how often they shave.
The dermatologist may offer a choice of treatments so knowing a bit about the various options can help you make an informed decision. Antibiotics are used to kill the bacteria that cause acne. Antibiotics can be given orally or in a lotion that is applied to the skin. Severe cases may require the use of both forms.
Topical treatments include benzoyl peroxide and retinoic acid. These are usually prescribed in gel form and may cause dryness or reddening of the skin.
In severe cases of acne physical treatments may be recommended. These include the removal of blackheads and whiteheads and the drainage of cysts.
No matter which form of treatment you decide on it is important to follow directions given by the doctor. Don’t take more or less of a medication than prescribed. If your acne clears up, continue treatment until advised otherwise, otherwise it may come back.
Always be informed about your condition and get the information you require. Write down questions as you think of them so that you can ask your doctor at your next consultation. Common questions include:
· What kind of treatment is best for me?
· How soon will I start to see results?
· How long will the treatment last?
· Are there any side effects?
· How should I care for my skin?
· Can I use makeup?
· How can I prevent acne scars?
Treatment for severe acne may continue for some time. Each time you see your doctor take the opportunity to clear up any questions or concerns you have about acne or your treatment. Try to become as well-informed as possible so that you can participate fully in your acne treatment.