Acne Blog 2: The Pre and Post Acne Treatment Prep: Understanding and Building Your Skin Care Arsenal.

My last blog focused on understanding the nature of OTC product sales, so that you the consumer, could better navigate the hocus-pocus of marketing hype.

However, it is also important to anticipate what you may experience with acne products, how to combat side effects, and prep your skin for product use.

Skin Type

Although this most commonly refers to skin color and likelihood to burn (Fitzpatrick Type), in this instance I am referring to each individuals normal skin habitus, i.e. The Five Skin Types: Normal, Dry, Oily, Combination, Sensitive (refer to chart above).

Due to the process of acne in itself, having oily or at least combination skin is more common in acne prone individuals. For those people, luckily, most acne products are drying (and may also cause irritation, peeling, and redness), so they can actually decrease oiliness. Oily skin may be hardier and tolerate initial daily use of products.

For those who have sensitive or dry skin (usually highlighted by their flushing or flaky appearance) finding an acne product that can be tolerated may be a slow go. These individuals should start out using new products 3 times a week and work up to daily use as tolerated. Also, certain products may be more sensitive-skin-friendly, as will be discussed below.

Washes and moisturizers used while on acne treatments, should be gentle. It is advisable to wash grime off face morning and night and maybe once extra during the day if active in sports. If using an acne wash, alternate with a mild cleanser for the other scheduled skin cleanings to reduce dryness/irritation, until skin is more tolerant. Avoid scrubs and beads that may be harsh for already irritated skin. Use of brands like Cerave, Cetaphil, Aveeno, and Neutrogena make great facial cleansers. Cetaphil offers an oil control wash while Aveeno makes Positively Radiant, which helps brighten with a soy ingredient.

For irritation/dryness caused by acne leave-on products, use of a non-comedogenic moisturizer can be used, preferably for sensitive skin, like Cerave, Cetaphil, Aveeno, or Neutrogena. These can even be used over acne products, once skin is dry. Moisturizer can be applied once or twice a day depending on need. Including an SPF of 30 or higher is recommended.

Cerave makes an AM and PM lotion which is quite beneficial in nature. The daytime version includes SPF and the night time version has the ingredient Niacinamide, which has been shown in studies to be anti-inflammatory and helpful in acne. Neutrogena boasts Hydroboost Hydrating Serum, which helps absorb water into the skin with the powers of Hyaluronic Acid.

Room humidifiers and keeping short, luke-warm showers, may also help increase moisture content in skin.

Acne Type

Although there is not one standard for acne typing, for simplistic purposes, acne can be divided into three categories. Overall, the classification is based on bump type. A. Comedones (black-heads: open pore filled with oil, skin, and debris giving it a grey/charcoal appearance B. White-heads: Closed pores, with a white type shiny dome. C. Papules: deep red closed bumps D. Nodules: even bigger, redder, inflamed/closed bumps, E. Cysts: the Jabba-the-Hut of acne bumps, filled with pressurized cottage cheese like collections and are painful F. Redness and Scarring.

  1. Mild: A speckling of black and white-heads, maybe 1-3 papules. Not red or inflamed.

  2. Moderate: a denser scattering of black and white-heads, more papules, maybe some nodules, can be slightly red.

  3. Severe: a garden variety of everything, Jabba-the-huts in full swing, scars, redness, big bumps, little bumps, often venturing onto the face, back, and chest.

For mild acne, one might find great success with OTC treatments. Moreover, depending on the skin type, a greater variety of things may be utilized for increase in acne severity. With moderate to severe acne, OTC products can be useful to initiate while waiting for a dermatology specialist appointment.

Yet for any acne regimen, expect…no pain…no gain. One must work through the unflattering side effects of acne products to see the results, as long as it’s tolerable. Expect dryness, peeling, minor redness, and some irritation in the beginning, However, by following the above suggestions, such may be deterred.

Next stop…..choosing the OTC product that’s right for your acne and skin type!

Now that you have the basics, it’s time to get to the nitty gritty of things. Choosing the Right OTC (Over-the-Counter) Acne Product for your Skin, is up next on the blog! My last blog focused on understanding the nature of OTC product sales, so that you the consumer, could better navigate the hocus-pocus of marketing hype.However, it is also important to anticipate what you may experience with acne products, how to combat side effects, and prep your skin for product use.Skin TypeAlthough this most commonly refers to skin color and likelihood to burn (Fitzpatrick Type), in this instance I am referring to each individuals normal skin habitus, i.e. The Five Skin Types: Normal, Dry, Oily, Combination, Sensitive (refer to chart above).

Due to the process of acne in itself, having oily or at least combination skin is more common in acne prone individuals. For those people, luckily, most acne products are drying (and may also cause irritation, peeling, and redness), so they can actually decrease oiliness. Oily skin may be hardier and tolerate initial daily use of products.For those who have sensitive or dry skin (usually highlighted by their flushing or flaky appearance) finding an acne product that can be tolerated may be a slow go. These individuals should start out using new products 3 times a week and work up to daily use as tolerated. Also, certain products may be more sensitive-skin-friendly, as will be discussed below.

Washes and moisturizers used while on acne treatments, should be gentle. It is advisable to wash grime off face morning and night and maybe once extra during the day if active in sports. If using an acne wash, alternate with a mild cleanser for the other scheduled skin cleanings to reduce dryness/irritation, until skin is more tolerant. Avoid scrubs and beads that may be harsh for already irritated skin. Use of brands like Cerave, Cetaphil, Aveeno, and Neutrogena make great facial cleansers. Cetaphil offers an oil control wash while Aveeno makes Positively Radiant, which helps brighten with a soy ingredient.For irritation/dryness caused by acne leave-on products, use of a non-comedogenic moisturizer can be used, preferably for sensitive skin, like Cerave, Cetaphil, Aveeno, or Neutrogena. These can even be used over acne products, once skin is dry.

Moisturizer can be applied once or twice a day depending on need. Including an SPF of 30 or higher is recommended.Cerave makes an AM and PM lotion which is quite beneficial in nature. The daytime version includes SPF and the night time version has the ingredient Niacinamide, which has been shown in studies to be anti-inflammatory and helpful in acne. Neutrogena boasts Hydroboost Hydrating Serum, which helps absorb water into the skin with the powers of Hyaluronic Acid.Room humidifiers and keeping short, luke-warm showers, may also help increase moisture content in skin.Acne TypeAlthough there is not one standard for acne typing, for simplistic purposes, acne can be divided into three categories.

Overall, the classification is based on bump type. A. Comedones (black-heads: open pore filled with oil, skin, and debris giving it a grey/charcoal appearance B. White-heads: Closed pores, with a white type shiny dome. C. Papules: deep red closed bumps D. Nodules: even bigger, redder, inflamed/closed bumps, E. Cysts: the Jabba-the-Hut of acne bumps, filled with pressurized cottage cheese like collections and are painful F. Redness and Scarring.Mild: A speckling of black and white-heads, maybe 1-3 papules. Not red or inflamed.Moderate: a denser scattering of black and white-heads, more papules, maybe some nodules, can be slightly red.Severe: a garden variety of everything, Jabba-the-huts in full swing, scars, redness, big bumps, little bumps, often venturing onto the face, back, and chest.

For mild acne, one might find great success with OTC treatments. Moreover, depending on the skin type, a greater variety of things may be utilized for increase in acne severity. With moderate to severe acne, OTC products can be useful to initiate while waiting for a dermatology specialist appointment.Yet for any acne regimen, expect…no pain…no gain. One must work through the unflattering side effects of acne products to see the results, as long as it’s tolerable. Expect dryness, peeling, minor redness, and some irritation in the beginning, However, by following the above suggestions, such may be deterred.Next stop…..choosing the OTC product that’s right for your acne and skin type!Now that you have the basics, it’s time to get to the nitty gritty of things. Choosing the Right OTC (Over-the-Counter) Acne Product for your Skin, is up next on the blog!

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