Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Acne Vulgaris – don’t let that second-word freak you out! Vulgaris means common, and let me tell you, this is a very common problem. So common that more than 50 million Americans suffer from this chronic condition. Not all acne is created equal either. More commonly, teens have acne which consists of blackheads (clogged pores), pustules (whiteheads) and papules (pink bumps). This type of acne we know is hormonal, but each acne lesion has a risk of scarring. Adult women also can suffer from acne long into their adult life, also because of hormones and primarily those acne lesions are deeper, painful, and come with a period flare around the chin and jawline. Now, you must give your new routine time to work. Typically you’ll need to be consistent with treatment for three months to see improvement, so take that baseline photo and track the changes!
I have outlined some OTC Diva picks for treatment, so why are you waiting to be seen by your Dermatologist, get treating! If you are compliant, you will be surprised.
Peels – Blue Mercury M-61 power peels can be done 1-2 times a week and really do work!
Suitable for: Oily skin, blackheads, and other pimples
Benzoyl Peroxide – Disclaimer – many cannot tolerate this product, but if you can, it’s a significant weapon in the war on acne! You can apply this all over to treat current pimples or prevent more pimples. However, you can also use this as a spot treatment. Products can be a cleanser, for those with more sensitive skin, or a leave-on product. Typically comes in 5-10% concentrations, I recommend the 5%.
Suitable for: blackheads, oily skin, other pimples
Glycolic Acid – This typically comes in a cleanser, and my favorite is Airelle. Glycolic acid works as an exfoliant, and this helps unclog pores and rejuvenate the skin. Bonus, this also helps treat brown spots!
Suitable for: blackheads, oily skin, and pigment leftover from acne lesions.
Sulfur – I know what you’re thinking, but let me tell you, it works! Sulfur is also available in a prescription form, but if you’re not allergic to it, try it for three months! This anti-inflammatory topical can be used as a mask for 10-15 minutes before washing it off. Sulfur tends to be more gentle than some other OTC products.
Suitable for: chin and jawline acne, pimples and inflammatory lesions
Food – No one likes when I mention this topic, but food can play a role. Commonly I have removed dairy from a patient’s diet, for at least a month, and their acne improved, so don’t count out eating more fresh fruit and veggies and less processed foods!
Now, everyone is different as far as their treatment needs, but if you want to try something before heading to see the Derm, try these. Oh and don’t forget, give it three months, and usually, a combination of treatments are needed to tame the acne beast!
Be Skin Savvy!????
Written by Sara Wilchowski, Staff Reporter