Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the US and affects around 50 million people. And it’s not only teenagers that have acne, it affects millions of adults, too.
It can be debilitating to live with as it can harm your self-confidence and self-esteem. And if you have painful acne, too, that can hinder your ability to perform day-to-day tasks and could lead to depression.
When you have acne for a long time, you may have tried lots of treatments and you might be losing hope that you will ever get rid of it. But there are always more treatments to try and things you can do to help.
And if you keep persevering, one day you will be able to enjoy glowing, pain-free, and acne-free skin. This guide will show you how to treat acne and prevent it from coming back in the future.
Understand The Underlying Cause Of The Acne
One of the best ways to treat and prevent painful acne and other types of acne is to understand what causes it. These are the most common reasons why it affects you:
- Changes in hormones e.g. menstrual cycle, menopause, or pregnancy
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Side effects of other medication
- Skin products
- Wearing tight clothing
- Overactive sebum production
- Lifestyle e.g. pollution, stress, etc.
- Allergies or adverse reactions to food or skincare products
If you menstruate, track the severity of your acne during your cycle. If it is better or worse during certain times of the month, that could be the cause of your acne.
Sweat is a common cause of body acne. If you go to the gym or hike a lot in warm weather, your back will be more susceptible to getting acne due to wearing a backpack.
You can also understand the cause of your face acne through a technique called face mapping. These are some possibilities of face acne if you are prone to getting it on certain parts of your face:
- Hairline = reactions to hair care products
- Forehead and nose = excess oil production
- Eyebrows = Ingrown hairs, diet, and water intake
- Ears = Stress and hormone imbalance
- Cheeks = Dirty pillowcases and make-up
- Chin, jawline, and neck = Diet and hormones
The cause of your acne could have one or many different causes. If you are unsure, consult your doctor or dermatologist.
Diagnose The Specific Type Of Painful Acne
Though cystic acne is the most common type of painful acne, tons of other types could be painful depending on the severity. Here are the most common types of acne:
You can also get acne under the skin as well as on top of your skin. And you might have a mix of acne types with varying sizes and depths. Look at your acne in a magnifying mirror and list the types of acne you have so you have a better chance of treating it.
Revamp Your Diet And Lifestyle
If you don’t think your hormones cause your acne (or you think it might not be the only cause) you can make lifestyle changes to improve your acne.
The best thing you can do is to not touch your face or any part of your body that has acne if you can help it. Your fingers carry a lot of dirt and oil. And by touching your skin, you are encouraging more oil in your pores which could turn into acne.
Picking at your acne can also increase the chances of scarring and spreading the infection. Give your skin the best chance to heal by leaving it alone!
Stay out of the sun as much as possible, too, as UVB and UVA rays can damage your skin further. If you want to beat painful acne, you want it to be as healthy as possible.
Get at least seven hours of sleep a night, but nine hours are ideal. Your skin heals best while you are asleep so increasing the amount you sleep will boost its healing capabilities.
Drinking more water can help heal bacterial acne. Water removes toxins and harmful bacteria in your body which includes your skin. This will leave you with a more hydrated and glowing appearance.
Use Prescription-Strength Treatments
Overhauling your lifestyle will help. But, home remedies will rarely make much difference to painful acne by themselves. You will likely need to try targeted acne treatments. The best one will depend on the type and severity of your acne.
Here are some of the most popular hardcore, medicated treatments:
- Antibiotics (for bacterial acne)
- Birth control pills (for people who menstruate with hormonal acne)
- Isotretinoin (strong acne treatment)
Some of these medications have intense side effects. So, you should always consult a medical professional before taking these treatments. View here for some less intense but effective over-the-counter options.
Overhaul Your Skincare Routine
Your skincare routine isn’t only about what you put on your face but how and in which order. This is the order that you should apply your skincare products in:
- Eye cream
- SPF (during the day)
This will allow each product to do its job. Wash your skin twice a day and always after you sweat. Don’t use a harsh scrubbing brush or cloth on your face and never use an exfoliating wash.
Those washes with microbeads might remove the surface-level dirt but they won’t touch the deeper problem. For those, you should use exfoliating acids which are gels or liquids that stay on your skin.
These acids are glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, and retinol. They will seep deeper into your pores and remove the oil and dirt that causes your acne which will help you treat and prevent it long-term.
Say Goodbye To Painful Acne For Good
It’s one thing having acne but another altogether when you have painful acne as it can damage your physical and mental health. But you do not have to live with it and there is a treatment out there that will work for you.
And now you have a few more options to try, you can get started on your journey to clear skin.
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