Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How can I treat my acne?"
I'm 19 years old. I go to school part time and work at a local pizzeria part time. I have struggled with acne since I can remember. I have tried MULTIPLE types of face washes as well as creams and sprays that claim to help relieve acne, but to no avail. I am not taking any medications, and I am very weary of taking medication for my acne, but I am open to suggestions. I'm sure the stresses of life don't help my acne much, but I cannot entirely blame my acne on them because I have had acne since before I knew what stress was. I drink plenty of water in hopes that will help in some way with my acne covered face. I also exercise regularly just about 5 times a week for an hour each day, which I heard was a good combatant for toxin beneath the skin. I haven't seen a doctor about this yet because I don't really consider it a "condition" I've always thought acne was something you grew out of as if it was a phase; but i am beginning to think otherwise.
I am sorry that you have lived with this acne for so long. While acne does decrease with age, in some people this can be many years, and leaving it untreated can leave the face scared. The good news is that since you have not tried anything yet, your options are wide open. Acne actually doesn't come from any toxin in the skin. Acne appears when pores in the skin get clogged by keratin, a natural skin protein. These pores produce a natural human oil called sebum, which gets stuck in the pores, grows bacteria, becomes red resulting in a pimple. I suggest as a first step you schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. He or she can evaluated your acne and determine if it consists of simple comedones (pimples), or if there is a cystic or nodular component to it. From there, the doctor will be able to recommend treatment. You may start of with a simple benzoyl peroxide cream (first line), which can kill the offending bacteria and open up the pores. You may also benefit from an topical retinoid which more completely opens the pores. If none of these work, you may try an oral antibiotic. Finally, the oral retinoid isotretinoin is effective for almost everyone, but comes with some important side effects. The bottom line is that there are a lot of great options, and I hope you take advantage of them.