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There are many potential solutions for acne. We review the top acne solutions in a variety of categories for those looking for an acne treatment.
Acne is one of the few conditions that affects billions – not millions, but billions – of people all over the world.
As many as 80% of the country develops acne at some point during their teenage years, and many of those continue to get acne breakouts well into adulthood.
There are medications to control acne, including antibiotics which kill the bacteria that cause acne. But the antibiotics for acne are generally a last resort, since it's not necessarily safe to take antibiotics regularly.
In this article, we'll review some of the top acne solutions that are popular alternatives to antibiotics as treatments for acne, including home remedies, store brands, and other popular treatments.
Drugstore products are easily some of the most popular for reducing acne. Many are mildly effective, but very few show the results that typical acne sufferers need to keep their breakouts under control. Below are the 3 more popular acne treatments currently available at local drugstores.
The Neutrogena Acne Stress Control 3 in 1 Hydrating Acne treatment is a popular acne fighting cream with a long name.
Most users report it not being effective on severe acne, but were pleased with the results on moderate and mild acne. The cream uses salicylic acid, which is a well-known acne remedy, and it's primary feature is its oil free, sweet smelling, and generally soft formula that doesn't feel as though it stays on the skin after application.
The Acne Stress Control treatment by Neutrogena has some flaws, but as a cleanser, spot reducer, and mild acne treatment it is fairly effective and not that expensive for regular use.
The Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay is one of the most popular products on Amazon, and for good reason. While it's not one of the most comfortable or enjoyable solutions for acne, the Healing Clay does appear to have an excellent reputation among acne sufferers, including those that suffer from severe acne.
It's made up of calcium bentonite clay. The clay is mixed with apple cider vinegar and water, and applied to the face in hefty amounts. After 15 minutes or so (depending on the type of skin), the mask is removed.
The clay removes dirt from the face, dries out acne, shrinks pores and reduces the appearance of redness from scars.
It has a tendency to cause red skin after each use, and an additional moisturizer might be needed to prevent drying out the face. It's also not necessarily an acne solution for daily use simply because of the inconvenience of mixing and wearing it, but it does make an interesting and effective addition to most medicine cabinets and is made of entirely natural ingredients.
The Clean and Clear Persa Gel10 product is maximum strength benzoyl peroxide, which means that it comes with the same benefits and weaknesses of most benzoyl peroxide treatments.
Persa-Gel is a powerful acne solution, and the same type of benzoyl peroxide that doctors often prescribe and recommend, available over the counter.
It can be very effective at reducing bacteria, shrinking pores, and preventing acne breakouts. Like most benzoyl peroxide treatments, the formula is best for severe acne because the product can be very drying and leave the skin feeling red and burned afterward. Some users also report more serious side effects.
However, while the side effects exist, the product is effective. It's simply not the most preferred treatment, especially for those with sensitive skin or less severe acne.
Those that prefer to go a more natural route may wish to take supplements. Most supplements are filled with herbs, vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients that are believed or known to help control acne breakouts.
Beyond Actimine by Progressive Health, many supplements are made with herbal solutions based on little to no research. However, the most effective and popular natural ingredients in acne supplements includes:
Zinc is a natural mineral that very few people get in their diets, but has been proven effective in several clinical trials at relieving acne. Many people that take zinc report positive results.
Zinc is naturally found in foods, so as long as you take within the recommended dosage, the ingredient is generally side effect free.
Furthermore, zinc is considered an important dietary mineral beyond solutions, so regular ingestion of zinc is better for your overall health. Zinc is an important part of managing hormones and a very popular acne remedy.
Zinc is one of the few acne solutions that is supported by the evidence. A great deal of research has shown that zinc supplementation can have a pronounced effect on your acne breakouts.
Like Zinc, Vitamin E is generally a part of a healthy diet, but most people do not get ingest enough. It's found in many oils, some fruits, and in some vegetables, but all in very low qualities.
Vitamin E is not the most powerful acne solution, but like Zinc, it is free of side effects when taken in correct quantities and is an important part of maintaining healthy skin and hormonal function.
Thus Vitamin E can be seen as an effective complementary treatment to other solutions for acne.
Vitamin A is another popular natural supplement for acne, except this solution has shown greater success in the research than Vitamin E. Low doses of Vitamin A are not believed to be beneficial, but high doses do appear to have an effect on acne breakouts.
It should be noted that with Vitamin A – as well as with most vitamin based acne solutions – the results did not show up immediately. Rather, acne improved gradually over a period of 3 months. Thus it is highly recommended that any vitamin or supplement based acne solution be used as directed for a minimum of 3 months to see the desired results.
Another common way to treat acne is with a topical solution. Topical solutions are gels and creams that have shown benefits for relieving acne. Many prescription medications are topical, but natural topical solutions tend to be popular, and many have shown some very beneficial results for those dealing with acne.
Again, it's difficult to know which specific topical acne solutions are valuable because perform research to back up their claims. However, there are some natural topical ingredients that are believed to be highly effective. These include:
Aloe Vera is a common ingredient in a variety of topical skin ointments and creams. It nourishes the skin better than most medicines and is believed to drastically improve skin moisture.
For acne, studies have shown that Aloe Vera may be effective in conjunction with other acne solutions. What Aloe Vera does appear to do, however, is promote wound healing. A forgotten aspect of controlling the appearance of acne is reducing the visibility of acne scars and cuts, as these can appear to look like acne but are otherwise no longer a true acne pustule.
Aloe Vera appears to reduce acne scarring, redness, etc., a full 3 days faster. While this may not be actively removing acne, it will have a visible effect on skin health.
Grape seed extract is a popular topical acne treatment ingredient, and one that is a bit controversial. While there is no research showing grape seed to be effective, it is highly rated in acne forums and review sites, and it has properties that may explain why it has value.
For example, grape seed extract is rich in linoleic acid. Some studies have shown that one of the potential causes of acne is a lack of linoleic acid within the skin.
Furthermore, some studies have linked grape seed extract to wound healing. Thus it may work similar to Aloe Vera, where grape seed extract reduces the appearance of acne because it helps scars heal.
Regardless of its mechanism, it appears to be free of side effects, so many people try grape seed for a short time to see if it works for their skin.
Tea tree oil is a type of "essential oil" that many use as a natural acne solution.
It is generally mixed in with other home remedies, but may be a part of topical solutions with creams and other ingredients, such as water.
As usual with herbal remedies, there is little research evidence that tea tree oil has any effect on acne. However, there is little evidence that it does not, and anecdotally tea tree oil is one of the more popular natural skin health remedies.
Tea tree oil is believed to have antibiotic and antimicrobial properties that, if true, would support the idea that tea tree oil could help reduce acne. Many have likened it to benzoyl peroxide, but note that it does not work as quickly. Allergic reaction is also possible.
You should never swallow tea tree oil or put it directly on your face, but mixed with other ingredients or water, it may be an effective natural acne solution.
In addition to the traditional treatments described above, there are a variety of acne solutions that can be made at home with the right ingredients. As mentioned, often tea tree oil (and to a lesser extent, grape seed extract) are a part of home remedies, mixed with water or some other gel to improve skin health. Other potential solutions for acne include:
Epsom salt mixtures are very popular for acne, and are considered safe and natural for regular use.
It's not clear what (if anything) makes Epsom salt effective, but the belief is that the salt kills bacteria, dries oil from the skin, reduces inflammation and removes dead skin cells (due to its abrasiveness).
Epsom salt is another example of an acne solution that many believe to be effective, but few have ever researched. The best way to use Epsom salt is to dilute it with water and either bath it in or gentle tap your face. Some redness and skin reactions may occur. Epsom salt may work best when followed up with an oil free moisturizer to prevent skin drying and irritation.
Another popular home remedy is known as the Aspirin Mask.
The Aspirin mask is created by taking a standard dose of uncoated aspirin and gently dissolving it in a few drops of water in the hand. Once it turns into a paste, apply it to acne.
Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory agent. That means that it is unlikely to cure pimples (although some people report fewer blackheads), but rather simply make the acne less visible by reducing the size of the acne bump.
It's unclear whether or not this truly works or how long the masks last, but it's a very popular home remedy and easy to make cheaply. However, it should be noted that the aspirin has the same side effects and warnings when placed on your face as it does when swallowed, so it is in your best interests to talk to your doctor about trying an aspirin mask before using it.
Another popular non-medicinal remedy is lemon juice. The idea is simple: take a lemon, squeeze out the juice (or buy lemon juice at the store), and dab it on a clean face with a cotton ball. Leave it on for 30 minutes and wash it off. If it burns you dilute it with water, although this is believed to be less effective.
It's believed that lemon juice reduces the size of pores, cleans out dirt, and most of all help with acne scarring and wound healing. Most people that use lemon juice claim that lemon juice doesn't prevent their acne. What it does do is reduce the size of the acne and allow the acne to heal faster, so breakouts don't last quite as long.
You must have a clean face for this to work, and presumably it would work better if partnered with some type of solution for acne that reduces the number of pimples.
In Turkey, lemon juice is often combined with honey to prevent skin drying. Dry skin and unwanted skin reactions are a problem with lemon juice.
Turmeric is used in a number of homemade acne solutions.
Turmeric is believed to reduce inflammation, so like lemon juice it won't necessarily prevent breakouts. Rather, it will make acne much less visible and red.
There are dozens of potential turmeric home remedies, and some companies have turmeric creams. But one of the most common turmeric topical recipes is to take a quarter teaspoon of turmeric and mix it with two tablespoons of milk cream. Allow the turmeric to sit on your skin for roughly 10 to 15 minutes, and then wash it off.
Beyond the acne solutions listed above, there are countless more acne treatment options you can try.
Ideally, it's important to try natural remedies first before moving on to harsher treatments. Even though natural remedies are not always effective for everyone, there are several that work in the short and long term, giving you a greater opportunity to control your acne breakouts.
Make sure you give them at least 3 months provided there are no side effects, allergic reactions, or skin irritations. Acne rarely clears up right away, and even prescription medications take time to be effective.
Over time, you should be able to control your acne breakouts, reducing scarring, and prevent acne visibility with at least one type of acne solution.
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