Home therapy for acne
Remember: proper skin care at home is the most basic and important factor in successful acne treatment!
During your medical visit with us we will educate you about some adjunctive acne products that can be used in combination with your prescriptions for the most optimal level of improvement. We offer customized acne products for home use that may contain any of the following ingredients:
- Alcohol and acetone
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Salicylic acid
- Aluminum chloride
- Sulfur and Resorcinol
These types of products induce a continuous mild drying and peeling of the skin. This gentle treatment is a very acceptable option to start with and may provide fast and effective results for even swollen and infected lesions.
Learn how you take care of your skin at home
- Cleanser and Toner
Acne cannot be scrubbed away but it can be controlled by regular skin cleansing. Acne is caused by excess oil and an imbalance of normal skin bacteria. Proper skin cleansing includes washing your acne prone area twice a day with Dr. Shafa’s recommended cleanser and warm water followed by application of a toner- in addition to any other prescribed treatments.
- Avoid adding oil to your skin
Only use water based products on your skin. Avoid oily sun blocks or hair products (such as pomades and gels) which can irritate your acne and make it worse. Keep oily hair off your face and wash it daily.
- Avoid irritating your skin
Do not use alcohol-based astringents that can dry and irritate the skin. Avoid tanning spray, which irritates your acne and clogs skin pores. Be aware that sporting equipment that rubs against your skin can worsen your acne.
Mechanical trauma can make acne worse by increasing skin inflammation and introducing bacteria into the skin which can lead to permanent skin damage. Therefore, avoid picking at lesions. When comedone removal is needed, it should only be performed by an expert under sterile conditions.
- Use the correct type of cosmetic products
Use “non comedogenic” products which are non-greasy, oil-free, water based products that do not clog pores. Cream-based cleansers should be avoided.
- Diet and Nutrition
Follow a healthy, low-sugar and balanced diet and stay well hydrated. Evaluate the effects of dairy products on your acne and avoid or modify the amount and type of dairy product intake. You may find that your acne worsens with certain types of food such as nuts, chocolate, or oily fast foods. Avoid whatever triggers your acne. Studies show that dairy products and high-glycemic-index foods may increase the risk for acne.
- Avoid stress
Several studies suggest that anxiety and anger contribute to acne, especially in patients with severe acne.
Dr. Shafa recognizes that anxiety increases the worsening of active acne, skin discoloration and, acne scars simply because patients with anxiety are more prone to pick at their face.
Many patients find that participation in regular, relaxing exercise and sports alleviates anxiety and contributes to overall well being and health. If you find that you cannot keep your hands away from your skin, maybe because managing your anxiety is difficult, feel free to share these problems with Dr. Shafa. Her dual training in both medicine and dermatology enables her to provide expert advice and, if needed, medication to treat anxiety, depression, and related factors.
- Avoid exposure to direct sunlight and tanning
Contrary to popular belief, tanning does not clear acne – it simply masks acne and causes “post inflammatory hyperpigmentation” called PIH and permanent discoloration. Tanning via sun exposure also increases one’s risk of developing skin cancer and “photo-aging” i.e. premature aging of the skin. It is important to protect your skin from sun damage particularly while you have active acne or you are on acne treatment, since some acne treatments can increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Ultraviolet light from tanning booths and sunlamps has the same unwanted side effects as sun exposure, therefore it should be avoided as well.
If you are suffering from acne, feel free to call us to make an appointment to see Dr. Shafa. During your appointment, Dr. Shafa will evaluate your skin as well as overall health. After the type and cause of acne is diagnosed, Dr. Shafa will explain the variety of treatment options best suited to your needs and help select the best regimen for you and your skin. If you have questions prior to your visit, please do not hesitate to ask here.