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Safeguard your skin

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Acne is not just a problem of puberty; it can even develop in adults. Dr. Saumya Shetty Hegde has some suggestions

Acne may have made life in high school miserable, but with puberty having long passed, you can’t blame breakouts only on hormones. Did you know, for instance, that there is a difference between a pustule and a papule?  Here are a few types of acne you need to watch out for, and some suggestions on how to safeguard your skin.

Although very common, acne can cause significant emotional distress and physical scarring if left untreated. There are two types of adult acne--persistent acne and late-onset acne. Adolescent acne beyond the age of 25 years is called persistent adult acne and acne developing for the first time after the age of 25 years is called late-onset adult acne. Both are more common in women.

There are different types of acne, including comedones, occasional papules, papules, few or predominant pustules, nodules and abscesses. There are also cysts, which can cause scarring.

Acne scars are graded into mild, moderate and severe, according to the qualitative grading system. Normally adolescent acne will be situated near the forehead and cheeks. The forehead is involved because of dandruff issues and the cheeks are comparatively a more oily area. Adult acne involves mainly the lower part of the face, chin and jawline; also the upper part of the face. There might be associated excessive hair on the chin and sidelocks and some may complain of irregular menses, hair fall and hair thinning. This is labelled as PCOD and a hormonal check-up is advised.

One should wash twice a day and after sweating. Use your fingertips to apply a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser. It is important to be gentle with your skin. Scrubbing can make acne worse. Rinse with lukewarm water. Shampoo regularly. Let your skin heal naturally.

Double-clean the skin in the morning and evening with a cleanser that is specially formulated for acne.

Moisturise the skin with a light gel-based moisturiser that is non-comedogenic so it prevents the formation of blackheads. Even oily skin needs moisturising as oils do not equate to hydration.

It is good if you use a retinoid product on the skin before going to bed as this helps unclog pores, reduce blackheads and whiteheads and calm inflammation. Exfoliate the skin once a week only if you have oily or acne-prone skin. This will remove dead skin cells and will show a brighter appearance. If used for a long time, it will reduce the development of blackheads. It’s important to not overdo this or else it will worsen the skin.

One should use a face mask only once a week as this helps to unclog the pores and calm down the skin. Do not pick, scratch or squeeze your acne spots. Also it is good to use spot-directed treatment directly on the acne area, which initially dries it up and helps to settle the inflammation.

Home remedies for acne

Apple cider vinegar mask

Mix apple cider vinegar  and water. If you have sensitive skin, use more water. After  cleaning  your  face gently  apply  the mixture on your face  with  a cotton  ball. Let it settle  for 20 seconds. You  can repeat  the process twice a day  or as needed. It is important to understand  that  applying  apple  cider  vinegar  can  cause  burns or  irritation.  Always use small amounts  and dilute with  water or coconut  oil.

Honey and cinnamon mask

This mask has  the ability to fight  bacteria  and reduce  inflammation. Mix two  tablespoons of honey  and one teaspoon  of cinnamon  together  to form  a paste.  After  cleansing  apply the mask to your  face and leave  it for 10 minutes. Rinse it off and pat your  face dry.

Spot treat with tea tree oil

Take a drop  of tea tree  oil  and mix  it with water. Dip  cotton into the mixture and apply  it  on the affected  area.  You  can repeat  this process twice a day.

Aloe vera pack

This pack is the best  for all.  Using a spoon, scrape  the gel from the aloe plant. Apply directly on your skin  as a moisturiser. Repeat once or twice a day, or as desired.

Dr Saumya Shetty Hegde is a Dermatologist at Roots Skin Clinic, Chembur.

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