Acne can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable problem to have, no matter how old you are. Whether you’re going through your teenage or adult years, pimples can steal your self-confidence and lead to unwanted pain. Many people turn to over-the-counter products like acne spot treatments and face washes to help clear up their skin. Unfortunately, these types of products don’t always provide positive or long-lasting results.
If OTC acne solutions become less effective at keeping your breakouts at bay, you may need to try a different approach. From exploring prescription treatments to exfoliating regularly, here are the next steps to take when non-prescription acne products no longer help.
Explore Prescription Treatments
Not all acne treatments provide positive results for everyone. Some people may respond very well to OTC products while others don’t. If you’ve tried different drugstore acne treatments with no success, it’s probably time to explore prescription treatments. Luckily, you don’t need to go to a dermatologist to get a prescription treatment. Instead, you can request an online acne prescription in a matter of minutes.
An online healthcare provider may prescribe medications like tretinoin, clindamycin, or spironolactone for your acne. These medications contain prescription ingredients that are stronger than those used in OTC products. Your online healthcare provider will help you select the right type of prescription for your needs. Whether you only experience occasional breakouts or you have severe acne all over your body, you’ll receive a personalized treatment recommendation that’s likely to help.
Change Your Skincare Regimen
Skincare products are supposed to improve the health and appearance of the skin. While many achieve this aim, some do just the opposite. Certain skincare products can irritate the skin or clog your pores, which leads to more frequent breakouts. Oil-based formulas are huge culprits and can cause pimples for people who are already prone to acne. Ditch the oil-based cleansers and moisturizers and use products labeled “non-comedogenic” instead.
Another way your skincare regimen could be causing blemishes is if you exfoliate too frequently. Many experts recommend regular exfoliation to keep the skin fresh and soft. However, for someone who struggles with acne, exfoliating too frequently can backfire. It can irritate and inflame the skin, which can worsen any redness or pimples you already have. For the best results, use gentle chemical exfoliants no more than two times per week.
Modify Your Diet
If OTC products are no longer keeping your pimples at bay, it may be time to take a closer look at your diet. Certain foods can contribute to acne breakouts while other foods may help keep your skin clear and healthy. Think about how your skin responds after eating greasy pizza or too much ice cream.
Dairy products, processed snack foods, and sugary sweets and drinks can contribute to breakouts. These types of foods can raise insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). This is a type of hormone that can increase sebum — the type of oil on your skin — and make acne worse.
Just as some foods can increase your likelihood of breakouts, other foods can improve symptoms of acne. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, may reduce inflammation in the skin and body and thus reduce blemishes. Flaxseeds, fatty fish like salmon, and kale and other leafy greens are great additions to your diet.
Limited evidence also shows a link between antioxidant-rich foods and fewer acne breakouts. Colorful fruits and vegetables are naturally high in antioxidants. Your skin may benefit from adding more of these foods to your diet.
Increase Vitamin Intake
Some vitamins inhibit the growth of bacteria that can lead to breakouts. Other vitamins can soothe the skin by calming inflammation and irritation. If you aren’t currently taking a multivitamin, you should consider doing so. Vitamins B3, C, D, and E alongside zinc and selenium may reduce blemishes. Most multivitamins should contain some, if not all, of these nutrients.
While increasing vitamin intake through supplements is one way to help your skin, topicals also boast healthy benefits. Applying a topical vitamin A product may help nourish the skin and protect against inflammation and redness. Additionally, a topical vitamin A product can help the skin heal more efficiently after an acne breakout. Topical vitamin C can also help brighten and heal your skin.
Keeping your body and skin hydrated can go a long way toward clearing up blemish-prone skin. Water helps support your immune system so it can effectively fight off bacteria that can cause acne. Water is also essential for maintaining hormonal balance in the body. Since many people experience hormonal acne that occurs when their hormones get out of whack, drinking more water may help.
If you have a hard time staying hydrated, try infusing your water with berries. This will not only make your water tastier to drink, but it will also increase your intake of antioxidants. As mentioned earlier, antioxidants may help minimize breakouts by reducing inflammation in your body.
No matter what phase of life you’re in, acne breakouts can happen. They can also be difficult to keep at bay with OTC products alone. If you’re no longer satisfied with the effects of non-prescription acne treatments, try taking the alternative steps outlined above. It may take some time to figure out what works for you, so be patient and persistent. Your efforts will pay off when you finally experience clearer, healthier skin.