In our last blog post, we focused on understanding the causes and extent to which acne can affect us. Since the cause of this condition can vary from person to person, it’s important that your treatment is also personalised based on your unique skin and lifestyle. In this blog post, our dermatologists answer a few common questions you may have about treating and looking after acne.
**How does washing my face affect acne?
**Something as simple as washing your face with the right facewash will help, particularly in younger individuals with high physical activity. Oily skin needs to be washed more often, since the oil build up is quick.
Rough handling or using scrubs and exfoliation aren’t usually needed, and can sometimes worsen inflammation. With the right face wash for your particular skin, gently washing your face at least twice a day – and once again if you’ve been sweating or exercising – is usually enough.
**Should I moisturise if I have acne?
**Sometimes washing with acne facewashes can leave your skin dry. It is important to not overload the skin with oily moisturizers that clog the pores – this can often lead to even worse cases.
Opt for lighter hydrating products, which are ” non-comedogenic” or non-acne forming. Sunscreens also come in matte form, which prevent product pile up, but still provide adequate sun protection.
It’s always advisable to make sure you get the right advice regarding which products to use, from a qualified dermatologist.
**Does my diet and lifestyle affect my acne?**
Newer studies show a direct correlation between what we eat, how it is metabolized, and how our lifestyle choices will impact acne.
Since it has a hormonal aspect, it will always be affected by diet and metabolism. Adult acne is completely hormonal, and dependant to a great deal on lifestyle. Correction of PCOS (polycistic ovarian syndrome) is critical – it is often a major cause of acne in adults.
Diet control and exercise will also help. If your condition doesn’t settle down through this treatment, it is imperative to do a hormonal check for imbalance (if you’re a woman), especially if it is associated with irregular menses, facial hair, or obesity.
**What medical treatment should I undertake?**
Medical treatment options can be either topical (e.g. creams, lotions), or oral (tablets). Depending on the grade / severity of the acne, one or more treatment options can be combined:
- Mild acne with only clogging, blackheads, and whiteheads will need topical treatment like bacteriostatic and anti-comedogenic agents like Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and topical retinoids
- Moderate conditions can be treated with topical antibiotics like clindamycin, dapsone and Benzoyl peroxide
- Moderate to severe cases will often need additional oral antibiotics such as azithromycin, doxycycline and minocycline
- Severe cystic acne requires longer courses of antibiotics and / or oral retinoids. It may also need procedures like drainage of cysts, steroid injections in the cyst or surgery for revision of scars
Procedures like chemical peels, lasers, and lights can always be used in addition at any stage of acne, to improve the treatment.
**It’s important to note that you should never self-medicate – only take medical treatment for your skin or hair conditions that has been [prescribed by a dermatologist](http://bit.ly/remBLOG100OFF).**
To better understand your condition and receive a personalized treatment plan, you can consult with a certified dermatologist right away, wherever you are, from your smartphone.