The Acne Annoyance

An unfortunate myth has circled our society—the myth that acne disappears after we finish going through puberty. Much of the frustration of trying to find the right soaps and concealers comes from the idea that at our age, we’re not supposed to have acne anymore. The truth is that mild acne can continue for many years.

As with most ailments, acne can be controlled even if you can’t seem to eradicate it. Facial soaps work for most people, but some are undeniably more effective than others. It’s necessary to read the labels in order to find the best soaps and scrubs. The way I think about it, the front of the bottle is what the soap advertises itself as. The back of the bottle is what the soap actually is.

Most facial soaps have a label on the back that lists active ingredients and inactive ingredients. It’s important to read both. Inactive ingredients can include oils that will actually clog your pores more. Oils are sometimes included in soaps to counteract ingredients designed to dry your skin. The moisture-sucking ingredient I usually see is glycerin. It’s a pretty good ingredient for unclogging pores. But I try to be conscious of when I use soaps that use glycerin because it can leave your skin dry and flakey. Non oil-based lotions are the best solution I’ve found to dryness left by glycerin.

Good facial soaps will have actual acne medication in them. These ingredients will be listed as the “active” ingredient, and the label should note the percentage of medicine in each dose. There’s a wide variety of acne medications, but I’ve noticed the two most common on-the-shelf medicines are benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Most soaps will be about two percent benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. I’ve seen a few that have four percent. A prescription soap or cream will be closer to 10 percent active ingredient.

As with many medications, your skin will become more accustomed to acne medicine as you use it. That means it won’t work as well if you use the same soap for long periods of time. To avoid that, I’ve found it useful to switch my soap every time I run out. Rotating the active ingredients works best.

Causes of acne are largely unknown. Touching your face too much and using heavy make up are the most common ways to clog your pores. Grease from hair, food and lip-gloss can also conjure unsightly red bumps. Stress is also often noted as a cause for acne.

Acne can be very frustrating. The harder we try to cover blemishes, the more blemishes we’ll get. The only thing we can really do about it is to keep calm and carry on.

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