Skin breakouts occur at all ages. Causes are numerous and include stress, incorrect use of pore-clogging cosmetics, hormones, and birth control pills. The underlying factor has a lot to do with oil.
A treatable condition rather than a disease, acne can be readily reversed and even prevented. Frequently starting out as a blackhead – a collection of oil and dead cells trapped in a pore which blocks the duct and mixes with bacteria – the pore becomes the inflamed red pimple we call acne.
Acne treatments are aimed at reducing oil, freeing the cloggs, and lowering the bacterial count.
An exfoliating solution of salicylic, glycolic or alpha-hydroxy acid will clear the clog. A benzoyl peroxide solution will dissolve oil buildup within the pores and keep them clear while at the same time working to lower bacteria counts by virtue of its antibacterial effect.
A good choice is the Glytone Acne Treatment Kit for Blemish Prone Skin consisting of an exfoliating gel wash, a 2% salicylic acid cleansing toner, and a 10% benzoyl peroxide acne gel.
My friends with acne personally recommend the Obagi CLENZIderm MD Acne Therapeutic System consisting of a 2% salicylic acid Daily Care Foaming Cleanser, a 2% salicylic acid Pore Therapy Solution, and a 5% benzoyl peroxide Acne Serum Gel.
A retinoid (Vitamin A) such as Obagi’s Tretinoin 0.05% is often added to the acne regimen to further reduce oil production, speed cell turnover, and relieve inflammation.
An interesting newer concept of acne treatment and prevention involves one of the fasting growing aspects of skin care, the mineral makeups and sunscreens. Mattifying (literally blotting the oil off of ones face) is certainly a valid consideration and the minerals titanium and zinc do so readily. But it goes further: Recent studies suggest that titanium dioxide – which along with zinc oxide is a primary mineral sunscreen active – behaves as a catalyst or photocatalyst to provide antimicrobial activity, suggesting possible support for the benefit of powder sunscreens on acne-prone skin. As well, a study in the International Journal of Dermatology recently revealed that zinc oxide helps the skin control the growth of P. acnes, the bacteria that causes acne in a way that rivals salicylic acid.Finally, both titanium and zinc inspire peeling to form room for new cell growth in a similar fashion to the retinoids.
My personal favorites among the mineral products come from Colorescience and include their Suncanny and Sunforgettable lines of sunscreen.