Whether you've got acne-prone skin or the occasional pimple, a spot-clearing remedy is a must for your medicine cabinet. There are loads of acne-fighting washes, gels, creams and ointments, plus at-home light therapy (the newest acne fighter), to choose from. But finding the right remedy is tricky. To steer you to your perfect acne antidote and help you prevent future flare-ups, we've compiled this go-to guide; read on for the lowdown to making your complexion completely pimple-free. Here are the Basics:
TREATMENT: The first step towards zeroing in on which acne product will do your dirty work is to figure out what you're trying to accomplish. In other words, do you have an existing pimple that needs a spot treatment? Or are you trying to prevent breakouts? Most acne products fall into two categories: therapy and preventative. Some products can do both, which is usually noted on the label.
FORMULA: Look for a formula based on your skin type and personal preference. Acne products are available in creams, ointments, gels, scrubs, peels, exfoliating pads, cleansers or lotions, and usually contain a percentage of an active exfoliating or anti-bacterial ingredient, such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or tea tree oil. Most therapeutic treatments are spot formulas, usually in a cream, gel or ointment. For preventative, smaller percentages of active ingredients are usually found in general skincare formulas (such as a cleanser or lotion).
RESULTS: For the best results, scan the label for the active ingredient. High concentrations of an active can bring on faster healing (like clearing a pimple in a few days). Lower concentrations are best if you tend to have reactive, sensitive skin, since they work at a slower, less intense pace. A new therapy incorporating low levels of LED light (the same one they use in a dermatologist's office) can be done via a small flashlight device at home, to prevent frequent breakouts and clear up existing ones.
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