Regardless of sex, melanin content, age, gender, weather, mood, time, or location of acne breakouts, the treatment protocol for acne is the same.
A combination of factors including propionibacterium acnes, sebum, and irregular shedding of dead skin cells contribute to the onset of acne lesions. Bacteria feed off sebum, which produce inflammatory by-products. Sebum and dead skin cells stick together and form clogs.
When it comes to selecting your cosmetic or skin care products, you should base your selection primarily on your SKIN TYPE. There are 16 different skin types! If you are unsure of your complete skin type, then take the questionnaire developed by world-renown clinical researcher, board-certified dermatologist, and author of the book, “The Skin Type Solution”, Dr. Leslie Baumann. Register first then take the quiz. Afterward, visit the specified forum that is tailored to your unique Baumann skin type for product recommendations and discussions about your skin concerns, in particular, acne.
In order to TREAT and CONTROL acne, you will need well-designed routine:
1) A well-formulated water-soluble cleanser to remove oil, dirt, dead skin cells, and makeup.
2) A well-formulated, pH-adjusted, beta-hydroxy acid exfoliant with salicylic acid in 1-2% concentration to reduce inflammation, kill bacteria, and exfoliate on top of skin and within the pore lining to unclog any plug. If you are allergic to salicylic acid (or aspirin), then your alternative can be an alpha-hydroxy acid such as glycolic acid or mandelic acid.
3) A well-formulated benzoyl peroxide medication in 2.5-10% concentration to kill acne bacteria. The lower the concentration the lower the risk of side effects including dryness, peeling, redness, stinging, etc.
4) A well-formulated, matte-finish, and lightweight sunscreen with SPF 15 or greater to protect your skin from UV-inflammation, which can exacerbate acne, as well as prevent skin cancer. It is imperative to reapply after swimming, excessive perspiration, or every 2 hours for optimal photoprotection, especially in the sun.
NOTE: a well-formulated product usually contains low fragrance or is free of fragrance and dyes.
Results can take up to a few weeks to 1-2 months with diligence, compliance, and patience. If this conservative routine is ineffective, then you should consult with a board-certified dermatologist for a topical prescription and/or in-office light/laser therapies. The last resort for acne is isotretinoin (formerly known as Accutane).