Sunday, October 10, 2010

Minor ailment: 10 Tips to Acne-free skin

Acne (or pimple) is a common problem especially in the hot and humid weather of Singapore. Acne arises due to four processes namely - clogged pores, increased sebum production, accelerated growth of acne-causing bacteria and the occurrence of inflammation. The following are some tips to counter acne problem.
  1. Cleansing to remove excess sebum from skin - Get a cleanser that suits your skin type. Foam ones are generally good for normal to oily skin type. Gel ones are more for oily skin. Cleansing milks are for sensitive or dry skin. If you have very sensitive skin, go for the milder soap-free cleansers. Those facial products with salicylic acid can help for acne-prone skin but may cause dryness and skin peeling, so do not overuse. Scrubs are helpful with treating noninflammatory acne such as blackheads but avoided in inflammatory acne.

    Some sebum is good for protecting our skin so do not wash your face excessively. Washing your face excessively can cause dryness and your oil gland may counteract by producing more sebum. The general recommendation is to cleanse twice a day. Use a soft washcloth to pat dry your skin.

    You can also use oil-absorbent sheets or cleansing pad to clear up the 'shine' when you are outdoor.

  2. Using moisturizer - If you have a combination skin with oily T-zone, use moisturizer only on the dry areas and avoid the T-zone. For people with oily skin, moisturizer may not be necessary. For people with dry skin, do apply moisturizer regularly to lock moisture in your skin so that it will not appear 'flaky'. Moisturizers can also serve a protective effect for those with sensitive skin. They can formulated with different textures, some may be oilier than others so try out a few and see which ones suit your skin better.

  3. Removing make-up thoroughly (use an emulsion make-up-removal for waterproof / resistant make-ups) and do it promptly once you get home. Don't leave it on overnight to clog your pores. Use water-base or oil-free cosmetics as far as possible.

  4. Wash your hands before touching your face so that you don't transfer more unwanted bacteria to your face, especially if you already have acne.

  5. Wash your face towels and pillow case diligently - same logic, you don't want to transfer more dirt / pathogens to your face.

  6. Do not pick at your acne. This can cause the inflammation response to get worse and result in scarring. Treat your acne not squeeze them. You won't want pits and black marks on your face. (If you don't want your marks to darken, apply sunblock lotion and avoid exposure to the sunlight. Can try some anti-scarring cream as well.)

  7. Minimize exacerbating factors - such as exposure to chemical irritants, dust or oils. Remove any items that can cause friction or irritate your skin eg. helmet, fringes etc.

  8. Using medications - Over-the-counter medications are those that contain either benzoyl peroxide (has anti-bacterial property), salicylic acid, sulfur or a combination. Usually used once or twice a day, these agents can help to clear up mild papular acne.

    If acne presents with cysts or there are more than 10 acne lesions present, you may need to see a doctor for prescription anti-acne medications.

  9. Eating a well-balanced diet with lot of fruits and veges. Drink 8 glasses of water a day.

  10. Coping with stress - stress can cause hormonal changes which in turn results in the excretion of excess sebum and acne breakout. Learn methods to relax and cope with stress.
Follow these tips, stick to a good skincare regimen and you are on your way to clearer skin! =)
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