Acne is a skin condition that mainly affects the face and neck, shoulders, chest and back. The skin is covered with pores and small openings through which the hair follicle grows. When these are exposed to a certain type of environment, activity or due to hormonal imbalances, they get clogged with oil and sebum, due to the high activity of the sebaceous glands, dead skin cells and other impurities. Blackheads are pores which are clogged with bacteria and excess oil, while pimples are infected or inflamed hair follicle openings, which appear as small, reddish bumps with a white center, or, sometimes, these may take the form of cysts, developing underneath the skin.

Certain factors greatly affect the state of acne, which include diet, medication and birth control pills, hormones, smoking and consuming alcoholic beverages, etc. In order to properly assess the cause of acne and in the event that it does not respond accordingly to self-care or over-the-counter treatment, it is best advised to contact your GP and seek proper medical care.

Remain vigilant about what comes in direct contact with your face

Several things to watch out for are :

– maintaining the hair and scalp clean and the hair away from the face

– avoid resting the chin or face against objects, devices, tables, etc.

– avoiding clothing that is made from synthetic fiber, opting for cotton clothing is ideal in the case of acne. Also, avoiding tight fitted clothing allows the skin to breathe and keeps bacteria from entering the pores of the skin in the event of sweating.

Cleansing and properly lathering the skin

This is essential to do and it is advised to make it a routine and habit, for both morning and evening (before bed). Women should always remove all traces of make-up, with a delicate face lotion or make-up remover and lather the skin with a gentle cleanser or mild soap, along with tepid water. It is for utmost importance to apply the make-up and moisturizer on clean skin and also remove the make-up before sleeping, as it will allow the pores to open, removing impurities and halting the possibility of having them clog with dirt or bacteria. For the back, shoulders and chest, you may use a skin exfoliant, mild scrub or loofah. Regularly changing clothes and showering can also treat acne present on the rest of the body.

Try using some over-the-counter products recommended in the treatment of acne

These are usually cleansing products, tonic lotions or creams, which may contain salicylic acid, sulfur, benzoyl peroxide or resorcinol. Always consult the directions and side effect list and gather all the information before using a product.

Pay attention to the products you are already using

Do they contain any irritants? Are they non-comedogenic or water based? Consult your bathroom cabinet and make-up bag in order to make sure you’re on the safe side.

Apple cider vinegar

A quick, useful and natural home remedy is apple cider vinegar. Like lemon, it is an astringent which helps fight against bacteria and manages to balance the pH of the skin due to the fact that it is alkaline. It can be applied using cotton balls, by gently patting them against the skin and leaving the face like so overnight. Repeated application is advised throughout the day and a moisturizer should be used in the event of very dry skin.

Tea tree oil

It has antibacterial properties and is able to successfully remove impurities from the surface of the skin. It should be applied diluted onto the problematic area, using a Q-tip or cotton ball. Frequent application also prevents future acne outbreaks.

Baking Soda

Popular because of its antiseptic properties and ability to gently exfoliate the skin, baking soda can be used as mask or as an addition to face wash.