Home treatment for acne can be just as good as the expensive stuff on store shelves.
You don't always have a chance to go to the store when you have a sudden acne flareup, so it's always good to have a few home standbys you can count on in emergencies.
Personally, I prefer the use of ingredients in their natural form. By using the contents of your cabinets and fridge, you can do a surprisingly good job of eliminating your acne. You can have fun with it too!
Acne is caused by a bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes, that thrives on excess oil and dead skin on the face of an acne sufferer.
When you hit teen years and under certain other conditions, hormones cause your sebum (oil) glands to go into overdrive, and your skin cells also start cycling faster, dead skin sloughing off faster than your body can shed it. The dead skin is caught by the excess oil, and it slides over your face, where the pores traps it. Dead skin and oil accumulates and blocks the pore, causing the oil inside to back up and swell the follicle beneath. The acne bacteria, which lives on everyone's skin, moves in and starts feasting.
It's not the bacterium that causes the swelling and inflammation, though; that's your immune system fighting back.
1. Start by working with the backed up pores, opening them in order to ensure that the excess oil underneath is washed away later.
You can open them with heat, or by using a mint wash, or both (though this may burn a little). For heat, lay a damp washcloth as hot as you can stand across the area you need to cleanse for about ten minutes, or stay in a very hot steamy shower for fifteen minutes.
A mint wash can be prepared in several ways; using 1 tsp peppermint oil in ½ cup cool water, or crushing a few mint Altoids very fine and putting them in just enough distilled water to dissolve them, will do it. If you're in a pinch, you can even use a menthol-based mouthwash, provided it doesn't have alcohol in it. Apply these by dabbing over your face with a cottonball; never rub!
2. Now you want to clean off the dead skin and oil, while also killing the acne bacteria.
There are several things you can do to accomplish this. Don't use soap, or anything that will dry your skin out. Instead, use plain water, or use a non-soap face wash or cold cream. Yes, it doesn't seem to make sense to add more oil to your already oily skin; however, the oil in a cold cream will help dissolve your skin's excess oil and wash away cleanly, while not stimulating your skin to produce more oil, as a drying soap would. Once you're finished, rinse very well with warm water, then cool water to close the pores, no scrubbing at any time. Pat dry.
3. Kill any excess bacteria. Crush one or two aspirin tablets (not ibuprofen or any other painkiller, but only aspirin) and dissolve them in a half-cup of water. Apply to face with a cotton ball.
This daily regimen should clear most moderate to mild acne outbreaks quickly, and keep them clear. Provided your face doesn't dry from this, you can go through it twice a day, but no more. It is imperative that your face doesn't dry out!
A few closing tips when designing your own home treatment for acne:
If you have a bad pimple, put a dab of white toothpaste on it and leave it overnight. If this doesn't work, you can use a little triple antibiotic ointment or a zinc-based baby rash ointment.
Get a little sunshine every day, exposing your affected areas; the ultraviolet light won't hurt you if you just get a little, and it will help kill the bacteria.
Do not start taking megadoses of vitamin A because you think it will mimic Retin-a – it won't, and it could make you sick.
Do not squeeze, pop, or otherwise mess with pimples, other than cleaning and applying medications. Avoid touching your face too.
And if your acne does not improve with this regimen, talk to a doctor. There are treatments for most of what you are suffering through, and a good doctor can help you cure your acne forever.