If you live with persistent acne, you know just how frustrating it can be. And trying to treat those stubborn blemishes? That can be even more exasperating when you’ve tried every OTC acne treatment under the sun and none of them work. While commercially available products make sweeping blemish-banishing claims, they often fall short on their promises to clear up acne-prone skin.
That’s because every person’s skin is highly unique, and over-the-counter acne products simply don’t take that fact into account. What’s effective for one person’s acne-prone complexion may not work for another’s. This is why a one-size-fits-all treatment approach rarely works.
Here’s the good news: It’s possible to treat your acne for good. So if your current approach isn’t working, it’s time to switch things up. What do you need to do? Read on to find out.
Use a Fully Customized Treatment Approach
If your acne refuses to clear up with OTC products, find a dermatologist who can help you find a solution. Some types of acne don’t respond well (or at all) to commercially available acne treatments. If you have one of those types, you’re just spinning your wheels if you don’t get professional help.
A medical professional will evaluate your skin type, tone, lifestyle, and genetic history to find a solution for you. You can even skip the office visit and use an online acne treatment provider. You can answer a few questions and provide photos of your skin to get a customized plan that works for you. The products and regimen you’re prescribed will be formulated to work with your unique skin.
Just like a custom suit will always fit better than an off-the-rack ensemble, a personalized regimen will always work better than a one-size-fits-all approach.
Understand What Prompts Your Acne Flare-Ups
If your acne tends to flare up suddenly, do you know what causes that? Have you paid close attention to the things that tend to make your acne worse? Do you know why your acne calms down quickly in some cases, and in others, it tends to linger? If you’re currently unsure why your acne acts the way it does, it’s time to start sleuthing. Lifestyle factors and/or hormones are likely at play when it comes to your skin situation.
For example, if you’re a woman who experiences more flare-ups than the men in your life, hormones are a likely culprit. The same idea applies if you’re a teen who suffers from frequent breakouts. Certain foods — those high in fat, sugar, and dairy-based ingredients — can also exacerbate acne or raise the risk of breakouts.
Other factors that influence the way your acne acts include:
- Using oil-based makeup products
- Failing to thoroughly cleanse your skin daily
- Taking certain medications
- Your genetics — whether your parents had (or have) persistent acne
- Excessive stress
- Skin irritants, such as excessively tight clothing
By paying close attention to your diet, hygiene practices, and other lifestyle factors, you can determine why your acne flares up. And once you understand your acne better, you can stop doing the things that make it worse.
Avoid Overusing Acne Products
Many think that the more products they throw at their acne, the better chance they’ll have of clearing it up. Sound familiar? If so, nothing could be further from the truth.
Using too many products too often can easily worsen your acne. Because most blemish-fighting products are either exfoliating or drying, they can rapidly aggravate your skin when they’re combined. Applying both will likely prompt your skin to produce more oil, not less. And what does all that additional oil production cause? You guessed it: more acne.
Don’t combine OTC acne products with prescription treatments unless your doctor specifically advises that you do so. If you’re using salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide on your pimples, never use retinoids simultaneously. If you’re unsure which products are appropriate for your skin or which are safe to combine, ask a medical professional. When it comes to treating stubborn acne, the best thing you can do for your skin is get professional medical advice.
Stick to a Regimen Long Enough to See Results
Soothing and healing inflamed, acne-prone skin takes time. So if you’re accustomed to switching up your regimen frequently because you’re not seeing quick results, try taking things a little slower.
When you begin an acne regimen, stick with it for a few months before you try anything new. If your acne starts clearing up, keep doing what you’re doing. And even when your blemishes are completely gone, continue with your regimen. If you stop using your products — even when your skin is clear — your acne will likely pay you another visit.
Living with acne is annoying, but treating it doesn’t have to be. Use a professionally customized treatment plan. Control the lifestyle habits that prompt flare-ups, and stick with a regimen long enough to see results. Doing all of this can make a world of difference in your skin health.
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