Thursday, December 2, 2010

Acne coming back @ 26 years old

So, my acne was pretty much under control once I turned 25.  I had almost no acne except for the occasional breakout every month around that time.  However, this year October, I had some extra stress and my acne came back full force.  I had lots of small red pimples all over my forehead; they almost look like they are angry and screaming at me.  Why??  I was so frustrated that I almost wanted to end it all.  I am already 26 with acne for almost 8 years.  This is so unbelievable.  Why would I still have this problem when I am an adult?  I inherited my dad's bad oily acne-prone skin which makes me feel like I am a monster practically all the time.  I am sure all acne sufferers would relate to that.  I never felt beautiful in my life and I know it's because of acne.  My mom says so and so has acne but she is still happily married.  She doesn't know how I feel or how people with acne feel because she's never had acne in her life.  I am just so tired of hearing it will go away eventually.  OK, like when is it really going away??  Never.  Anyways instead of going on and on about how miserable I am.  Let me give you some update on the situation, I saw my doctor and he prescribed me bunch of medicine, Benzoyl Peroxide (5%) / Erythromycin Gel (1%), erythromycin tablets and retin-A.  The benzoyl peroxide / erythromycin gel is pretty effective however I am super allergic to it.  It made my face tomato red for several days plus I was itchy.  If your skin can tolerate the benzoyl peroxide, you should definitely get this mixture cream, works very well for my hundreds of forehead acne.  Erythromycin tablets was prescribed to me as well, but I couldn't take it because every time I took I felt really sick.  The retin-A just peels the skin and I didn't feel it had an effect at all.  So with that, I felt pretty hopeless.  My primary physician said that I should get my blood / urine tested so that I can get ready to take Accutane.  He gave me a referral to a dermatologist who can actually prescribe the medicine (as my primary physician cannot).  I will be seeing him on Dec, 14.  Don't know if he is willing to prescribe me that stuff as I imagine that he will say that my situation is not that bad. 
Oh, here is a little bit of background on my acne history.  I took Accutane before for just 1 month on 10mg per day.  It cleared up my skin beautifully.  It worked almost right away.  My skin was feeling normal and the acne never came back as severe as before.  Thinking back, I should have taken Accutane for at least 3 months 20mg per day for a longer lasting effect. 
OK, my fellow acne sufferers, I will update you on the situation once I see the dermatologist.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Effective acne treatments - prescription medicine reviews

When you seek the advice of a dermatologist and effective acne prescription treatments, he or she will usually prescribe you some external tropical treatment or oral tablets depending on your situation. There are many potentially effective acne treatments medicine that are used for acne. This article talks about some of the most popular ones, their effectiveness and possible side affects.

Accutane / Roaccutane -

Roaccutane is one of the most effective acne treatments in treating moderate to severe acne. It works through reducing oil production and somehow stop acne in its tracks. Some people will never have acne again after a course of Roaccutane. It is very effective but has lots of side affects. It makes your lips very dry at the very least, results in pain in your joints, damages your liver and has severe birth defects for pregnant women. Think twice before deciding to get Roaccutane and you will have to be on pills to use the drug.

Antibiotic (many different ones) -

There are some antibiotic drugs that dermatologist will prescribe for you when you have moderate to severe acne. It is somewhat effective at first because it works by killing bacteria thus reducing inflammation and pimples. However, bacteria will acquire resistance to these antibiotic overtime. Antibiotic will become less effective for your acne eventually. Personally, I don't believe in taking antibiotic for your acne problems. Its effectiveness decreases the more you take them. And I think it should be for something like an bacterial infection that has to be treated by antibiotic.

Panoxyl 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Gel -

Benzoyl peroxide gel is one of the most effective acne treatments out there with little side affects compared to all other kinds of prescription drugs. 10% Benzoyl peroxide needs a prescription while the lower percentages can be bought over the counter. Also, 10% Benzoyl peroxide will irritate your skin more than the lower percentages. In most cases, you will have to get your skin use to it by slowly working your way up. For me, Benzoyl peroxide 2.5% is good enough. But many people with moderate to severe acne choose to use 5% to 10% Benzoyl peroxide gel. Unlike antibiotics, bacteria never develop resistance to it and acne seems to go away in a very short time. However, the cons are dryness, irritation and redness. Some people are more sensitive than others. I definitely think it's one of the most effective acne treatments out there.

Birth control pills -

This is the only effective way at controlling hormonal acne that flares up once a month during your menstrual cycle. Although it can give you flawless skin with smaller pores and smoother surface, it can also have some unwanted side affects as well. Once you stop the medicine, some people experience a severe breakouts with lots of spots on the face all of sudden. Approach with caution if you decide to go down this route. Also, will not work if your acne is not hormonal based.

Spironolactone -

I am not personally familiar with this drug, but it seems like it works well for a lot of acne sufferers. Many reviews on is very positive for this prescription drug. Although there are lots of "weird" side affects associated with it. But when your acne is so bad that the pimples actually hurt on a daily basis definitely needs to explore all the options. If many other effective acne treatments failed you (including Roaccutane), this drug could be on your list to try next.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Oily, acne prone skin dos and don'ts

I had oily skin for many years and came up with this list of dos and don'ts with oily, acne prone skin. Oily acne prone skin is one of the hardest skin types to care for because of excessive oil production on the face and constant breakouts. A lot of people have the wrong idea of how to manage acne prone skin which will make the problem worse. Anyways, here is the list and I hope it will help out others with oily, acne prone skin.

Do wash your face twice a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed with a suitable face wash designed for oily or acne prone skin. Twice, no more no less.

Do use foundation with oil production control and acne treating ingredients.

Do use a deep cleaning mask once a week to properly clean out the pores and any dirt, oil left on your face.

Do use products from Neutrogena which is gentle on the skin but tough on acne (I know it sounds like I am promoting their products, but Neutrogena does actually work. In fact, my skin is both acne prone and sensitive, Neutrogena is one of the best brands out there for my case at least.)

Do carefully choose your makeup and skin care products and make sure they are non-comedogenic (do not clog pores).

Do use a light moisturizer when you have combination skin.

Don't wash your face when you feel excessive oily, stick with the twice a day routine that I mentioned above. Over washing will cause excessive oily production which will make your acne prone skin even more likely to have acne.

Don't use oil blotting papers. Your face will compensate for "oil loss" by producing even more oil and faster.

Don't use cosmetics that are full coverage but not designed for oily or acne prone skin. This can cause really bad breakouts because your pores are clogged. Again, look for non-comedogenic.

Don't use a harsh soap bar for washing your face.

What to expect from Accutane, Roaccutane, Isotretinoin (deriviative of vitamin A, most effective prescription acne medicine)

If you suffered from severe acne that would almost disfigure your face, chances are that you have heard about the prescription medicine that is a derivative of vitamin A, Accutane or Roaccutane or Isotretinoin. I had suffered from moderate to severe acne all over my face at one point. And Accutane definitately "tamed" my acne for the most part. It didn't get rid of it completely, but made it much more managable.

You will have to suffer from moderate to severe acne before the dermatologist is willing to prescribe it for you. Most dermatologists here in the United States will only prescribe it to you when all other treatments and medicine failed So, it might take a while for you to get the medicine. If the doctor still refuses to prescribe this medicine to you, you should seek another doctor in your network that is willing to prescribe it to you.

Because the drug has some undesirable side affects, the dermatologist will verify with you about your medical history. If you are a woman, they would want to do a pap smear and check for pregnancy. No pregnant woman should take the medicine as Accutane causes severe birth defects. The doctor would also want to know about what other medicine you are currently taking. When everything checks out, they will most likely prescribe Accutane for six months.

Once you start taking the medicine, a lot of people experience side affects and clearing of the skin at the same time. You will notice that you face is a lot less oily and pores are visibly getting smaller. What I noticed with my course is that my blackheads all disappeared. This has never happened in my life before. Anyone suffering from oily skin usually cannot successfully get rid of their blackheads no matter what they use. But Accutane is extremely effective at controlling the amount of oil production on the face. Accutane dissolves in animal fat so you will have to eat some fatty foods for it to properly work. It worked almost instantly for me as I noticed less oil production and a decrease of the new pimples. By the time that I finished my course, people with really good skin commented on how nice my skin is.

Here are the side affects that you will experience over the course of accutane treatment. Everyone experiences very dry lips that cracks and bleeds. You will have to find a very good lip balm to keep your lips in okay condition (re-apply throughout the day). Some people experience joint pains due to the drug as well. While on the drug, the dermtologist would require you to do some blood work to test liver functions. It is important to stop drinking while on the drug because you don't want to add extra burden on the liver. There are very few people that suffers from severe side affects which include serious damage to the skin. You must carefully consider your situation and decide for yourself if accutane if worth a try.

I experienced almost instanteous results from taking accutane. My acne was so bad that it seems like nothing will ever work; so many pimples and redness made me desperate. Within a week of taking accutane, I noticed that there are no new pimples and my older ones are healing as well. By the end of my course, my skin was almost perfect and even my blackheads are gone. Ever since I finished the course of Accutane, I get very few pimples that disappear within a few days. Nowadays, I am older and my acne is pretty much a thing of the past with my acne skin care routine and products that I have been using. I am actually happy that I took the drug because I didn't have a lot of side affects other than very dry lips. My skin is near perfect and I am sure it would not be possible without Accutane.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Another Effective Acne Skin Care Routine

In my previous post, I talked about my own acne skin care routine which worked very well for my skin and kept constantly inflamed acne under control. But you will have to understand that my acne skin care routine does not work for everyone and every skin type. I am here to talk about another very effective acne skin care routine that worked very well for my co-worker and kept his skin acne free for many years. There is no one medicine that takes care of every problem; one will have to spend the time to try different products or combination to find one that will effectively keep their skin in good conditions.

Here are the products that he uses: Proactiv renewing cleanser, Proactiv revitalizing toner, Proactiv repairing treatment, Proactiv refining mask, and Proactiv green tea moisturizer. I believe he purchase all of these products in a package called Proactiv Plus Total Solution. This package is very effective with those with very oily skin. We all know that excessive oil production on the face causes lots of breakouts. He told me that this package from Proactiv controls the amount of oil on the face. Here is how he uses it: the renewing cleanser, revitalizing toner and repairing treatment is used twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. The refining mask is usually used once a week in the winter because he is not as oily in the winter. In the summer, the refining mask is used twice a week for deep cleaning. And the Proactiv green tea moisturizer is uesd once every three days or so.

Even with this acne skin care routine, he still gets one or two pimples every once in a while. But it is so much more manageable than before. Anyone that is affected by moderate to severe acne knows that big pimples are extremely red, painful and takes a week or longer for it to heal. Now he get small pimples once in a while that is much easier to take care of. I had told him that Neutrogena's benzoyl peroxide on the spot treatment and his acne disappears in a day or two. What a difference the Proactiv Plus Total Solution has made on his skin. This acne skin care routine works really well for those with extremely oily, oily or combination skin.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Anti-wrinkle skin care and acne prone skin

Anti-wrinkle skin care is a MUST for every woman at almost every age, even for those that have active acne. There is a myth that oily skin do not tend to get as much wrinkles as dry and normal skin. This is somewhat true but lots of people with oily skin can still get wrinkles when we age. What is the appropriate time to start anti-wrinkle skin care routine? My answer would be around 25 years old. Women that are 25 would already start to see light wrinkles on different parts of their face.

Around the eyes

People with acne on their face would not get a single pimple near the eyes. I don’t know why but it seems like that area is not prone to acne. This area has the most delicate skin on your face and you must take very good care of it. Anti-wrinkle cream should be used on this area daily. Most major cosmetic brands have anti-wrinkle cream products that are suitable for younger people. It is so important to visit a place like Macy’s where they have lots of different reputable brands in their cosmetics section. You should buy this product from a well known brand not something you find in a 99 cents store. I would recommend using anti wrinkle eye creams as early as when you turn twenty. I started using Shiseido Bio-Performance Super Eye Contour Cream when I turned twenty two. I can honestly say that it diminished the very fine lines under my eyes.

On your face

This gets tricky because most people with active acne tend to breakout anywhere on their face. If you use the wrong products with lots of oil in its ingredients, your problems will become worse. The best thing to do is to use a moisturizer instead of anti-wrinkle cream on your face. Most anti-wrinkle creams for the face are too rich for oily skin. But a moisturizer has similar effects as an anti-wrinkle cream. A lot of places have oil free moisturizers that are suitable to use for oily skin. If possible, you should try it on your skin before purchasing it. When the moisturizer feels light and barely noticeable on your skin, it is the right product for you.

Your neck

This is another area that tends to reveal your age. You should either use the same moisturizer that you use on your face or choose a richer product. Generally, this area does not tend to have lots of acne problems. It will be able to tolerate an anti wrinkle product.

How should I use the product?

Anti wrinkle eye cream can be used once or twice a day depending on personal preference. Moisturizers should be used only once during the day because you want your skin to breathe overnight and repair itself. For the neck, it is okay to use whatever product you choose twice a day for the best results.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pimples that scar

Scarring is one of the worse things in the world of acne because it can affect your skin and appearance much more than acne itself. Those with scars on the face are most likely caused by acne in their youth. A lot of scars are very visible and is sometimes hard to cover up with make up. It is important to understand by scarring occurs and how to prevent it from happening in the future. Even though there are cosmetic procedures for treating scars, it is still not that effective because it cannot get rid of all of them completely.

There are many different types of pimples, see a complete list here. Moderate to severe acne has a tendency to scar. Scarring varies for each person and the location on the face. It is very hard to whether a pimple will scar based on its appearance. But as we age, our skin tends to repair itself slower and less effectively. You might have lots of moderate to severe pimples in your youth and it might not leave any scar behind. But five years later, it is another story. Even moderate acne will have the possibility of leaving some types of scar.

Pimples on the forehead tend not to scar even when they are relatively severe. Most teenage acne occurs on that part of the face at an earlier age. Pimples on the nose have a moderate to high tendency of scarring especially when you pick at it. Pimples on your cheeks have the highest tendency of scarring even when you don’t disturb it. That’s why you see a lot of post-acne sufferers with many visible scars on the sides of their faces. Pimples on the chin usually do not leave scars but redness can be there for many months.

Pimples that are not inflamed, with no red around it will usually not scar on any part of the face unless you disturb it by squeezing. When you hands are not clean and touched the pimple, the acne itself can get infected and takes the skin longer to heal. Anything that takes a lot time to heal is more likely to scar than a minor little pimple.

Most people believe that picking an acne lesion when the white head pokes through can accelerate healing. While it is true when done right, it does have the risk of making the problems worse if you don’t know how to properly squeeze your pimples. Here is why, if you squeeze the pimple when it is not “ripe”, acne will get into deeper layer of skin which will increase the chances of scarring. Whiteheads are the only type of acne that you can pop when you have lots of experience.

Other types of acne especially severe acne (nodules & cyst) shouldn’t be disturbed. They are already really severe and picking it can cause a very noticeable scar on the face. You should see a dermatologist and ask for a cortisone injection to heal it fast.

The best way to avoid scarring is to treat your existing acne and prevent new ones from forming. For most people, acne is the worse in their late teens and sometimes early twenties. A few that are unfortunate can experience breakouts even in their thirties. There are so many ways to treat acne and lots of daily routine skin care methods to try out. What works for one person might not work for another. Acne prone skin is all about trial on error.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Things you must avoid when you have active pimples / acne prone skin

Pimples are hard to deal with and most people needed to deal with them at least once in their lifetime. There are things that you must avoid to properly cope with the situation. Some people do things that can cause more problems without knowing and pimples can get even worse. There are a few of the common things that you can mess up on for your daily skin care routine. Be sure to avoid things listed below to make your skin look better.

Wash face / use lots of oil absorbing papers

This is a mistake that people with oily skin makes quite often. Those with oily skin hate the fact that they have lots of oil on the face constantly. It has a shiny appearance and people think that they don’t properly wash their faces. Some people wash their face whenever they feel oily. This is very bad for oily skin because your skin will compensate by producing more sebum which makes your face even oilier. This is a vicious cycle because oilier skin causes more pimples. Same is true for oil absorbing papers. As a rule of thumb, only wash your face twice a day.


Smoking can negatively affect your skin. It makes you break out even more especially when you combine it with other bad habits such as drinking, drugs and etc. When you quit smoking, your skin will improve because you are not getting those toxins in your body.

Pick, squeeze, pop

Whatever you call it, picking at a pimple is one of the worst ways to deal with them. Many people argue that by popping a pimple, you will get rid of it faster. However, popping it wrongly will cause a scar or make the pimple even worse.

Using toner

Toner is a solution that a lot of people use after washing their face to make pores smaller. Many toners are designed without alcohol which makes them suitable for oily skin. However, toner can make your acne worse even if it is okay to use for oily skin. Oily skin tends to have large pores. And by shrinking the pores, sebum gets trapped inside the pores and more pimples will surface on your face.

Eating certain foods

This is controversial. Many experts believe that food has nothing to do with your skin. But a lot of people that I know avoid certain foods to avoid getting more acne. Here are the foods that can cause pimples: milk related products, seaweed and junk foods. This is really for each individual. You acne situation might not be affected by foods anyway.

Sun tanning, being in the sun too much without proper protection

UV rays can cause lots of damage for your skin and also make acne worse. Lots of people enjoy outdoor activities and neglect to protect their skin. If you want a golden tan, you can use a stray on self tanner to achieve very good results. When you are out in the sun, you should wear proper protective clothing or sunscreen to shield yourself from the UV rays.


Alcohol can make your acne worse. A lot of times, your skin is an indicator of your health. Alcohol consumption damages your health and your skin shows that by having worse acne.

Wrong makeup

Makeup that is not designed for oily skin can cause lots of problems. It will clog pores and make your face breakout. Things that are designed for oily skin can actually help acne prone skin. When you select makeup, make sure you buy ones that are non-comedogenic. See a complete list of all ingredients that can clog pores.

Hair near face

A lot of girls / guys use their hair to cover the problem areas. This is good so that people will not see your acne from far away. However, hair has oil that will clog pores and irritate skin. This is very good for acne because it will make the problem worse. You will breakout more and the surrounding area will be red. You should keep your hair tied up so that it is completely out of your face.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What is your skin type?

There are 4 different types of skin that people have. Why is it important to know your skin type? It is because some skin types are closely related to acne and knowing how to properly take care of your skin is one of the first steps to eliminate acne. Skin is the largest organ and people see it when they first meet you. It is also an indicator of age.

Dry skin:

Dry skin type is not problematic for acne because very little sebum production on the face is not enough to clog pores and won’t attract bacteria. Those with dry skin usually do not have acne problems; but it does have its share of problems. Because of very little sebum production, fine lines / wrinkles can easily develop even in your mid 20’s. It is important to compensate for this problem by using skin care products that add or lock in moisture for your skin.

Key identifying characteristic for dry skin:
- visible dry surface
- very small pores
- tends to be red in the cheeks
- absorb moisturizers quickly
- do not tend to get acne
- has more fine lines / wrinkles than other skin types if not taken care of properly.

Normal skin:

Those that have normal skin type are very lucky. This is the ideal skin type that has very little problems. Let me explain. Because sebum production is normal (not dry or oily), you do not tend to get acne or wrinkles.

Key identifying characteristic for normal skin:
- small pores
- do not tend to get acne
- do not tend to get a lot of wrinkles
- there is the “right” amount of sebum production in the skin

Combination skin:

Those with combination skin are oily at the t-tone areas / forehead and dry on the cheeks. This combination makes these people prone at breakouts where there is lots of oil. These area have bigger pores compared to the cheeks. Those with combination skin should care for the oily part using methods for oily skin. They should find a good moisturizer for the dry parts: cheeks. Mostly speaking, those with combination skin are very similar to oily skin. Pimples occur frequently.

Key identifying characteristic for combination skin:

- very oily t-zone compared to other parts of the face
- dry cheeks
- big pores
- lots of blackheads on the nose
- prone to acne flare ups
- do not tend to get wrinkles at a young age

Oily skin:

Those with oily skin hate their skin because it produces lots of oil constantly. Some people’s skin produces so much oil that in one hour after they wash it, the skin produces a visible layer of oil. It is very hard to deal with because of the appearance and constant breakout that it causes. Pimples occur frequently. Not all is bad about oily skin; those with oily skin do not tend to get wrinkles even later in life. Oily skin will become more manageable with age because the skin tends to produce less oil when you are older.

Key identifying characteristic for oily skin:
- face gets very oily in a short time after they wash it
- big pores
- lots of blackheads on the nose
- prone to acne flare ups
- do not get wrinkles at a young age

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

All about Teenage Acne

Basics of Teenage Acne

Once you hit puberty, your body will start to mature and the physical changes come at a price. Here is what I mean; most girls / boys will get pimples around this time. There are lots of hormones in your body and your skin tends to get oilier. With more sebum production, it will clog pores, attract bacteria, get inflamed and different types of acne develop under the skin.

Most teenage acne tends to be on the forehead, t-zone and nose. These places get very oily around puberty which is the perfect opportunity for acne to develop. Some people will get small whiteheads whereas others get big inflamed red pimple. The good thing about teenage acne is that it will mostly disappear before you hit twenty.

Teenage acne treatment methods

Most teenage acne tends to be not very severe (whiteheads, a few papules and pustules). Thus it is relatively easy to deal with. Most will respond to over-the-counter treatments such as acne face wash. The face wash will unclog pores, get rid of dirt / sebum trapped inside the skin and prevent acne from forming. There might be some acne that develops even with an effective face wash. In that case, some over-the-counter Benzoyl Peroxide cream is good for making pimples disappear faster.

Because of the nature of teenage acne, it is good for you to seek effective oil / sebum control. Fortunately, a lot of acne products on the market are created for teenage acne treatments. Neutrogena is a very good and cheap skin care brand to use for teenage acne.

There are bigger pimples that are inflamed and take a longer time to heal for teenage pimples. Depending on the severity and amount of acne that you are getting, it might need prescription medicine that only a dermatologist can get for you. Fortunately, teenage acne will not stick around for a long time.

What’s not teenage acne?

A lot of people confuse their acne with teenage acne. If you have acne on the cheeks, lower cheeks, chin and lower part of your face, it is adult acne not teenage acne. Because of the location on the face, adult acne tends to scar easier than teenage ones. When you are in your mid twenties, acne on your face is definitely adult acne. Adult acne has so many possible causes and is very hard to completely get rid of it if you don’t know what’s causing them. I will describe some possible causes and treatments for adult acne in future posts. Some woman gets 1 or more acne during the week prior to their period, these are hormonal acne that will not go away with teenage acne skin care products.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Suitable oily / combination skin care products and routines

People that have oily / combination skin type have a very hard time with the proper care of their skin.  Because of over active sebaceous glands that are producing excessive oil or sebum, your skin looks greasy and dirty soon after washing.  Another disadvantage associated with your skin type is that you are very prone to breakouts.  Bacteria love to feed on sebum; skin gets inflamed and you will develop big red pimples. 

Fortunately, with the proper beauty products and daily routine, you can improve the appearance of your skin.  The key to oily / combination skin care is good cleansing, gentle exfoliation, oil control and using suitable skin care products. 

A good cleanser is a must for oily / combination skin care.  Those that are using soap or harsh cleansers that are designed to strip away all facial oil can cause a lot of damage to the skin.  You will need a gentle foaming cleanser that is formulated for oily / combination skin type.  There are some on the market with the active ingredient salicylic acid which targets oily skin with active pimples.  Other cleanser such as Neutrogena’s Transparent Facial Bar for acne-prone skin has no active ingredient but is extremely effective at sebum or oil control.  There is no one cleanser that fits all people; you will have to try different cleansers to find the one that works the best on your skin. 

Here is the proper routine for washing your face: first wet your face with some lukewarm water.  Use your fingers to gently message the cleanser into the skin for a deep clean.  Rinse your face clean with lukewarm water several times to get rid of all traces of cleanser.  Use tissues to gently get rid of all water on face. 

A gentle moisturizer is also very beneficial for those with oily / combination skin types.  However, if you choose the wrong one, it can make those over active sebaceous glands produce even more sebum.  The moisturizer you choose need to be water based, light and non-comedigenic (something that specifically states that or similar to “won’t clog pores”).  In fact, anything you use on the face must state that it does not clog pores.  Apply only once a day.

 Additional exfoliation will be needed for a deeper clean in the summer time.  Oily / combination skin usually have a harder time in the heat where sebaceous glands produce more sebum.  When your sweat is mixed with sebum, you face can get itchy and dirt / oil accumulates more on your face.  A mask that is designed to deeply clean your pores is a good choice to get rid of anything in the pores that will cause breakouts. 

Contrary to popular beliefs that makeup is bad for oily skin, some make up base is specifically designed for oily / combination skin that is acne prone.  In addition to covering blemishes, these can be beneficial to some women in terms of oil control and acne skin.  There are some make up bases that can actually “cure” acne on the face.  My roommate in college uses a Japanese brand makeup that controlled the level of her acne to about one or two small pimples a month.  I think the brand is called Shiseido, which is a very popular make up brand in Asia and Asian communities overseas.    

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What are real causes for adult acne and adult cystic acne?

There are so many adults that are still suffering from acne; some even suffer from cystic acne that never seems to go away. Exactly what causes acne to flare up continuously even when you have long passed puberty? There are so many causes for acne and there is no one treatment that will work for everyone.

According to some studies, around fifty percent of adult women and twenty five percent of adult men suffer from acne. This is a significant percent of the population that are still burdened with this problem even well into their adulthood. Acne is not just a surface problem that affects the skin. It is very devastating to self esteem and confidence. In extreme cases, people will lose social interactions and opportunities at love all because they are embarrassed from acne. I experienced too many breakouts that made me extremely self conscious about my own skin. Those that do not understand the problem will say, “oh, it will go away eventually”, “it’s not really that bad, I am sure other people won’t notice”. These people do not understand our problem because they never suffered from it; the worse thing you can do is not get any treatment and hope it will go away by itself. Understanding the cause of adult acne or adult cystic acne is the first step toward successful treatment.

The biggest cause for any adult acne is heredity. If one of your parents suffers from acne when they are younger, you might inherit those bad genes for acne prone skin. From what I understand, heredity is the worst when it comes to acne. My dad inherited his oily, sensitive and acne prone skin from his dad. I received the same genes for oily, sensitive and acne prone skin. My breakouts are more severe than most people where it was treated and then returned slowly to a point that it was comparable to the previous levels. You can also use that to your advantage because what works on your parent that suffered from acne will most likely work for you.

Stress is another factor that can cause you nasty breakouts. Stress will stimulate facial oil glands and make your face oilier than usual. Excess oil on the face can clog pores, attract bacteria and result in more pimples than usual. Depending on the amount and severity of the breakout, you will have to get prescription medicine to get rid of existing pimples. They have several kinds of prescription medicine that will either lessen your acne problems or completely get rid of it. Reducing stress is essential to make sure acne doesn’t come back. If stress levels are high, acne prone skin is very hard to manage.

Most adult women suffer from a monthly breakout right before the menstrual cycle; this acne tends to be adult cystic pimples that are painful and have a tendency to scar. This is extremely difficult to treat with normal over-the-counter or prescription medicine. In this case, only birth control pills will do the trick. Most women notice that not only their acne disappears but the skin also gets so much better overall. However, you should be aware that when you suddenly stop the medicine, acne can come back with more force than ever. Birth control pills are medicine that helps with your hormone imbalances.

What cosmetics are you using on your face? Some people that are suffering from acne are suffering because of the products that they use on their faces. Many products are made so it is oil free, non-comedogenic. If you are using a product without these words, chances are it is either worsens your acne or it’s causing them.

Any treatment for adult acne or adult cystic acne is trial on error. There is no one thing or medicine that will cure all types of acne. In my case, it is a combination of different remedies that “cured” my acne. But remember, you will have to keep on trying to get the clear skin. The more you work on your skin, the better it will get. You should always keep an open mind about your skin because one day it will be completely free or your condition will be under control. I never thought that day will come, but now my skin is better than ever after more than 7 years of suffering from active acne, here is my daily acne skin care routine. Acne skin care systems on the market are worth a try. Although, it won’t work for everyone, there is always a chance that it is the right product for you.

Types of acne and your options for treatment – explained in details

There are so many different types of pimples that affect the face and body. Some are minor and will go away without any treatment, whereas other types of pimples are more severe that might require extensive treatments and care. I am listing very common types of acne and what you should do in each case to properly treat / care for them. This list is in the order of mild to severe forms of acne.

Whiteheads – it is very small pimple that is not inflamed at all. They are small bumps and not very visible to the eyes unless you look closely. It is not painful and heals very quickly without using any over-the-counter or prescription medicine. They don’t scar even when you pick at it. However, it is still not recommended that you pick any kind of acne. Our skins are different and what scars for one person will not for another. Over-the-counter face washes that unclog pores (active ingredient: salicylic acid) should be enough to treat this kind of acne.

Blackheads – these are acne that is not inflamed at all. They are mild acne that is mainly on the nose and part of the cheeks. It takes a long time for them to go away because it is a very stable structure under the surface of the skin. Your best options here are using a gentle exfoliating scrub or a strip that pulls out the blackheads. These pimples will not scar but are the hardest to permanently get rid of among all types of acne.

Papules – these are moderate acne that is inflamed. These are a small bump in the center that is surrounded by an area of redness. This type of acne needs treatment such as benzoyl peroxide gel. The most important thing to remember about this type of acne is absolutely do not pick these lesions. It will cause the bacteria to go into deeper layers of the acne which has very high risks of scarring. Popular acne system sold on the market today such as Proactive is sometimes effective at this type of acne. If no treatment is effective and amount of acne increases, you should seek a dermatologist’s advice.

Pustules – these are very similar to papules with the exception of having a white center. The acne is pus filled and the visible pus in the middle will get bigger. Most of these pimples will break open by itself and many people speed up healing by squeezing out the pus. If you do it wrong, it has the risk of scarring. Again, depending on the severity and amount of pimples, you might need to consult a dermatologist when it doesn’t respond to over-the-counter treatments. Theses are moderate to severe type of acne.

Nodule – this is one of most severe type of acne that you can get. It is red, huge and hard. It can be under the skin for months without anything happening. Most over-the-counter medicines will have no effect on this type of acne. Your best bet is to see a dermatologist for a cortisone injection that can help it go down. If you don’t do anything to it, it can take several months to up to a year for the nodule to heal. Fortunately, Accutane is an extremely effective drug for people suffering from severe acne. Most dermatologists will prescribe it to you when all the other treatment options failed. For more than half of the people, Accutane will completely get rid of your acne. Other people will see a dramatic reduction in the severity and amount of acne that they suffer from. At the very least, skin will be a lot more manageable with Accutane treatment.

Cyst – this is also one of the most types of acne that you can get. It is very similar to nodule because it is very painful as well. It differs from nodule because it is pus filled. And it has a lot of pus. This type of acne is large and very noticeable. Not even makeup can cover all of it. You should visit a dermatologist for this type of pimple. Effective treatments are similar to what people use for nodules.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Best natural home remedy for acne – proven to be effective on my skin

I had tried lots of alternative home remedies to “cure” acne in addition to traditional medicine from different dermatologists.  Anyone that suffered from acne has heard about these home remedies from many different sources (online, friends, magazines and etc).  Many of these home solutions for acne had actually made my skin worse.  Putting toothpaste on my acne is the worst; it made my skin super red but it didn’t do anything to heal the pimples.  The home remedy that I am describing below is somewhat labor intensive.  But it is all natural and it really works. 

I mentioned about this natural home remedy for acne in my previous blog entry “Daily acne skin care routine for oily, combination skin”.  I will describe this in details with pictures to help you make this at home.  It was given to me by a classmate in college.  At the time, I developed severe acne that had lots of whiteheads, papules, pustules and even 1 or 2 nodule.  It was a very hot summer and my skin was so oily.  Although I had acne before, it was the first time that it made me very depressed about my skin.  I noticed that she had severe acne on her cheeks but it was disappearing.  I thought it had to be something that she was using and asked her about it.  She was nice enough to give me the recipe for this all natural home remedy that really decrease the severity and amount of pimples in a short time.

It is not a home remedy that will work for every kind of acne.  Here is what is good for: oily or very oily skin, constant breakouts and sensitive or very sensitive acne prone skin.  It is less effective against monthly breakouts that most women suffer from.  However, it does lessen the severity of the acne and the amount of pimples.  Overall, it helps a lot with very oily skin where it will visibly reduce oil production on the face. 

Here are the ingredients that you will need; I also have this in picture to make things easier:
  1. A big deep cooking pot that will hold all the ingredients plus water.
  2. fresh sugar cane (1 foot or 12 inches for each serving)
  3. fresh lemon peel (1 whole lemon peel for each serving)
  4. Dried licorice slice, a Chinese herbal ingredient.  It can be bought at any herbal medicine shop and almost all of them have it in stock.  If you live in Southern California like me, you will be able to go to lots of Chinese herbal medicine shops.  These include Tak Shing Hong which has many shops located in the local Chinese community in Monterey Park, Rowland Heights and Los Angeles area.  You can also get them on online at Amazon. (12 pieces for each serving)
  5. raisin (dried raisins that are not flavored, not your sun maid California raisins)  Again you have to buy this from a Chinese supermarket (99 ranch market, 168 market, Hong Kong supermarket in San Gabriel to name a few in Southern California).  Any Chinese supermarket should have this ingredient in stock.  Look to your right for picture.  (12 raisins for each serving)

As you can see from the ingredients above, this home remedy for acne is quite labor intensive.  Well, I never said that getting rid of acne is easy.  This home remedy recipe for acne really works so it is definitely worth your effort and time.

You put all the ingredients in a cooking pot of appropriate size.  It is easier to make a whole week’s worth of this home remedy and store it in the refrigerator for use later.  So that means 7 foot of fresh sugar cane, 7 whole lemon peels, 84 pieces of the dried licorice slice, and 84 pieces of raisins.  Chop the sugar cane into small pieces so that it fits into the cooking pot.  Add 21 cups of water into the cooking pot.  Turn on the stove and bring it to a boil first.  Once it boils, turn down the stove so that the mixture simmers for one hour.  21 cups of water is now approximately reduced to 7 cups which is one week’s medicine.  So basically, you want to boil down the water from 3 cups to 1 cup. 

Here is how you drink the medicine: drink it after lunch, this home remedy works best when drunk around noon time.  It also needs to be warm not hot when you drink it.  I just warm it up in the microwave and let it cool down a little bit before I drink it.  Here is what the acne medicine looks like. 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Home remedies for acne – things that will lessen acne occurrences

Acne has so many causes that it requires different treatments for different people.  That is why it is such a stubborn problem that is extremely difficult to cure.  Many people like me have suffered with it for many years with many unsuccessful treatments, over-the counter medicines and re-occurrences.  Don’t get me wrong, treatments are great things for acne.  But sometimes it is just not enough to get your acne completely under control.  Over the years, I came up with a list of home remedies / routines for acne that you can do that will lessen acne problems:

  1. Develop a routine for your acne skin care, modify it and stick with it to see results.  This can be different for each person but most people with acne prone skin tend to have oily or combination skin types, click here to see my daily skin care routine.  You can see what I am doing to get rid of my acne and keep my skin relatively clear.  Feel free to change the skin care routine to better fit your needs.
  2. Get enough sleep, at least 8 hours.  More importantly, sleep before 11:30pm.  Your skin will be nicer when you wake up because like our bodies, it needs plenty of rest to repair and restore itself.
  3. Drink plenty of water during the day.  It is not only good for health, but it is good for your skin too. 
  4. Drink one cup of water when you first wake up (no beverages, coffee or tea).  This should be the first thing that you put in your mouth.  It will flush out all the wastes that are stored in your body. 
  5. Your pillow case should be 100% cotton.  Those of us with constant acne flare ups can experience allergic reactions with other synthetic materials such as polyesters and etc that can make the problem worse.
  6. For those that live in a dry area with low air humidity should consider using a humidifier to add moisture.  There should be one in the office and one at home to provide you with more moisture.  When the weather is very dry, our skin will compensate by producing more oil.  Oily skin is one of the worst problems associated with acne skin care and must be avoided at all costs.  A humidifier will help you alleviate some of the oily skin problem.
  7. Manage your stress.  Constant stress will cause more breakouts. 
  8. Treat your skin gently when washing, toning, or moisturizing.  Acne prone skin is even more sensitive than regular skin.  Lightly tap your skin instead of rubbing is the best way to make your skin less inflamed.
  9. Do not touch your acne or skin all the time.  Chances are our hands are dirty from work, school and a lot of other things.  You don’t want to add inflammation to an already infected pimple. 
  10. Don’t drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes.  These toxins will make your skin even worse.  Your body will be burdened with more things to deal with once your take up alcohol and smoking.  Acne skin care will be even harder and more breakouts will certainly happen in the near future.
  11. Don’t wash your skin more than or less than 2 times a day.  Many people that are suffering from acne also suffers from oily or combination skin type.  It is so important that you don’t make your skin produce even more oil.  If you wash your skin when it starts to produce oil, your skin will think that it needs to produce more oil to compensate for the oil loss.
  12. Use only a few products at a time; this applies to the external medicines (over-the-counter) for acne.  You don’t want to pile on a ton of different chemicals on the pimple to help it heal.  This applies to the amount you are using as well.  Don’t pile on the medicine to the point that you actually see the color of the chemical.  Just apply a light layer on the affected area.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Acne skin care essential: how to avoid acne scars

Your acne skin care routine has to include ways to avoid acne scars. Acne is a very painful condition for people to deal with on a daily basis. It lowers self-esteem and ruins your social life. A lot of people that are suffering from acne are very sensitive about the condition of their skin and think they are ugly. Acne scars are more painful than the actual acne itself. It will be with you for the rest of your life. Even when you seek acne scar treatments, your skin will not return to your pre-acne state. It is better to avoid acne scars at all costs because your skin will return to normal after the acne heals itself. Here are some of the best ways for acne skin care that will help you reduce scarring.

Avoid pimple popping is the best acne skin care tip because the chances of it causing scar is huge. Acne scars are caused by deep injuries to the skin that will not be able to heal itself completely. It leaves behind either a raised scar or a sunken scar. In most case, acne scars tend to be sunken scars because underlying tissues were badly damaged due to severe acne or popping a pimple.

Many people are attempted at popping the pimple when they see the white part. However, it can cause your skin more harm when you do that. Our skin has its own ways at healing itself and any external injury or pressure applied can leave a scar. Many may say that popping a pimple helps you heal faster. It could be true in some cases especially when we were younger, 15-20. However, as you get older, you skin tends to heal slower than before. If the pimple pops by itself, chances are the site of injury will be very small thus easier to heal. As we get older, our skin doesn’t heal itself as fast or as well as before. It also depends on your specific case as well; but in general the best acne skin care is to avoid pimple popping.

Acne skin care should be focused on the actual acne and help it heal rather than popping. When a pimple is inflamed, it will be more likely to leave a scar as it heals. The bacteria in the pimple should be killed so that the pimples slowly heal instead of popping. Benzoyl peroxide acne cream is pretty effective at all kinds of inflamed acne. It works by killing the bacteria. For most people, acne will not pop. This is so important in preventing scars because the acne would not cause injury to the skin. Here is a table of all the advantages and disadvantage with using a benzoyl peroxide product. One that I highly recommend is the Neutrogena’s on-the-spot acne treatment cream.

Those that do not want to use benzoyl peroxide product for their acne skin care routine can choose the Zeno brand bacteria killing hand held device. It works the same way as benzoyl peroxide but it uses heat to kill bacteria instead of a chemical. Like all other acne treatments, it works for some people not everyone. When it is effective, acne will not pop, it will go down by itself in short amount of time. This will leave you with no scars, no red spots, and just clear smooth skin.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Daily acne skin care routine for oily, combination skin

I have oily, sensitive skin ever since puberty. In my opinion, this is the hardest skin type to care for because it is highly sensitive and prone to acne at the same time. It all started with very mild teenage acne that is small and non-inflammatory. However, it developed into moderate to severe acne over the years. There are times in my life where I had many pimples covering the majority of my face. Over the years, I did a lot of research and tried several dozen skin care products. Here is my daily acne skin care routine that I use right now which works well for me.

Wash my face twice a day, once in the morning right after I wake up and once at night before going to bed. The cleanser listed below is used both times for washing my face. The blackhead eliminating scrub is great at getting rid of blackheads on the nose; this is used only occasionally. The eye contour cream is used around the eye area in the morning. Neutrogena’s on-the-spot acne treatment is used once in the morning and once at night on active pimples only. I also drink a cup of the home made medicine for oily skin / acne control and take 1 pill of the Kirkland brand daily mulit-vitamins & minerals.

Here are some more details about each product:

1. Neutrogena Cleansing Bar for Acne-Prone Skin
Active ingredient: none
More information: This is good for people with oily / combination and sensitive skin. It has no active ingredient because salicylic acid seems to irritate my skin. Many other acne cleansers contain salicylic acid for acne control causes lots of redness on my cheeks.

2. Neutrogena Blackhead Eliminating Daily Scrub
Active ingredient: 2% salicylic acid and small beads
More information: Don’t use this everyday if you are sensitive to salicylic acid treatments like me. It is very effective at getting rid of blackheads. I usually only use it on the nose occasionally.

3. Shiseido Bio-Performance Super Eye Contour Cream
Active ingredient: none
More information: Even for people with active acne or have acne prone skin, anti-aging products should be used too. The eye contour cream is anti-aging eye cream for younger people.

4. Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment
Active ingredient: 2.5% benzoyl peroxide
More information: This is one of my most favorite products of all time. It is so effective at healing acne and preventing acne scars. Benzoyl peroxide will kill bacteria which is part of inflammatory acne. Instead of the acne popping, it will gradually go down. This will decrease the trauma on the skin which usually leaves you with no visible scars. This product is highly recommended on my list because it is super effective. However, it will cause the skin to dry out so make sure you only use it on the active acne itself.

5. Natural home remedy for acne, will explain this in a future post in more details

6. Kirkland brand daily multi-vitamins & minerals
More information: contains lots of essential vitamins and minerals. I think it might help with some biochemical process in our body by getting rid of toxic things. It is also highly recommended because it seems to make me less prone to acne with everyday use. You can get it at your local Costco.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

How to prevent acne by avoiding dairy products

Many people argue that foods DO NOT cause acne. They are mostly right, except for one thing: milk and all diary products. Lots of people that are prone to acne that still do not know about the connection between diary products and breakouts. Talking from personal experience, I know that you can definitely prevent acne by avoiding dairy products.

So, what foods should you avoid in order to prevent acne? The answer is all diary products. Anything from the cow and derived from the cow will make your face breakout even worse. These include: milk, cheese, yogurt, cream, ice cream, pizza, many Mexican dishes and ANYTHING that contains milk and all milk derived products.

When will acne appear after consuming dairy products? Acne will appear 3 to 4 days later after consuming it. I used to buy a box of Yoplait brand yogurt from Costco and eat it everyday. It is so tasty and has three flavors in the box. After 3 to 4 days of continually consuming it, my face starts to get even oilier than usual. This would usually result in a few big painful pimples on my face. These are really severe acne that would take at least a week to heal. My mom is the first person that made the connection between the two and told me to stop eating yogurt. I didn’t believe her at the time but stopped anyway because what if she’s right and my face was in bad condition. After a month of so, my face would slowly heal and clear up. It happened a few times like that and I am now finally convinced that you can prevent acne by avoiding dairy products.

So why would milk and dairy products cause acne? I researched online and found that milk and diary products contain hormone that would make our oil glands produce more oil than needed. For a person with oily skin, this will make your problems worse. In most cases, more oil equals more acne. Not everyone gets acne when consuming diary products. For those that are acne prone, dairy products can easily cause breakouts for you.

Are milk / dairy products very hard to substitute? It is actually not. Soy milk is very good substitute for actual milk, it even tastes similar. However, dairy products are very important part of our diet in the western culture that lots of people consume it everyday without even thinking. In the beginning, it is definitely very difficult to completely avoid. For the sake of your appearance, I think you should always consciously remind yourself not to touch it.

Milk / dairy products are not necessary for adult humans. This might sound surprising to you, but adults from many other cultures do not drink milk and consume dairy products on a daily basis. In East Asia and Africa, many people are lactose intolerant when they grow up. Our bodies are very sufficient at its biochemical functions and that it would not waste energy to make enzymes that are no longer needed. In this case, lactase is the enzyme for breaking down lactose sugars that are naturally in milk. In East Asian countries, over 90% of the people are lactose intolerant to some extant. This is just to make a point that when you avoid dairy products to prevent acne, it won’t harm your health.

For teenagers and young adults in their 20’s that are prone to acne, you should avoid milk and dairy products to effectively prevent acne. This is the most dangerous time and your skin produces lots of oil on its own. Those that are older can consume some dairy products to test their skin’s reaction against it. Oily skin is not forever and will eventually produce less oil with age. At this point, some dairy products might be okay for you. It really depends on the person and there is no one suggestion that fits all. You really have to find out for yourself.