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How To Get Rid of Acne: Starting Today

Updated on March 15, 2011

How to get rid of acne is an age-old question that's been asked over and over again, from one generation to the next. It seems even time cannot answer this question. And even with today's advanced technologies and in-depth studies, no one can give a single definitive solution that will address this common yet unresolved skin problem.

There are, however, a number of solutions that offer ways to get rid of acne ranging from ancient cures, to herbal remedies, to scientifically-formulated products, to skin rituals and regimen and what have you. But the problem with these cures is not that they don't they work, in fact a number of them do. But those that will work for some people will not have the same effect on others. And this is the reason why finding an effective acne treatment is so frustrating.

Because truth is, there's no universal cure for acne. Each case of acne breakout is different because the causes are varied and the factors influencing it, whether aggravating or alleviating it, are relative to the person's genes, hormones, lifestyle, etc.

How to Get Rid of Acne

I want to know how to get rid of acne so I won't have to hide my face
I want to know how to get rid of acne so I won't have to hide my face

I have suffered from Acne for 7 years...

And that's the reason why I created this hub.

I've been there in that viscous cycle of hopelessness. I know what it's like to wake up in the morning to see new zits crop up overnight, either replacing the ones that had dried or just finding their own sweet spot on my face. I scoured skin care forums and blogs and websites, and bought products after products based on the recommendations of both people I know and people who are complete stranger to me. I bought, tried and anchored my hope on these acne solutions because I desperately wanted to clear my face of these problems and these people told me what worked for them. And it might just work for me, too.

In the end, after finding a slew of products and procedures and routines that didn't get rid of my acne, I realized that I had to go through all these frustrations in order to understand my skin better. And in understanding my skin, I finally found the cure.

I'm not offering ways on how to get rid of acne fast - like now fast. Because frankly, that's impossible. What I've included in this hub are things that you can try starting today and might just end up to be the acne solution that you're looking for.

How to Get Rid of Acne Using Active Ingredients

If you examine anti-acne products, both those prescribed by a dermatologist and those advertised in the media, you will notice that there are some prominent ingredients that are commonly present in their formulations. These ingredients are what I refer to as active ingredients because they are the key substances that will supposedly fight and defeat whatever it is that's causing acne.

Disclaimer: I will only define and explain these active ingredients based on common knowledge and not on scientific or medical facts as I am not a medical nor a skin expert.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl Peroxide is a compound that has oxidizing and corrosive properties, and works like a peeling agent, clearing clogged pores and killing bacteria by releasing oxygen once it comes in contact with the skin. Unlike with antibiotics, bacteria do not develop immunity over benzoyl peroxide which means its effectiveness as an acne treatment will not degrade overtime.

However, benzoyl peroxide is also a bleaching agent much like any regular household bleach and another peroxide, Hydrogen peroxide. At higher dosage, it is use to bleach cheese, flour and even our teeth and hair. This is the reason why over-the-counter benzoyl peroxides are only available at 2.5%, 5% and 10% concentration. Anything higher than that can cause undesirable side effects.

But even at low concentrations, harsh side effects such as skin dryness, irritation and redness can be observed. The intensity of the effects depends on the person's level of tolerance with the compound. But skin can adjust to these side effects by starting application at the lowest concentration and gradually increasing it. However, there are still some people who are highly sensitive to benzoyl peroxide and will experience severe burning, swelling, and rashes on the areas where it is applied.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is an exfoliator and a keratolytic substance that can cause the top layer of the skin to shed. It gets deep into the follicles and sloughs away dead skin cells, declogs pores and eliminates bacteria. It is even said to help pores from being blocked again by preventing the production of excess skin cells and closing the pores.

The side effects of using salicylic acid are similar to that of using benzoyl peroxide: dryness, flaking and irritation of the skin. However, many noted that side effects are milder and some who are allergic to benzoyl peroxide are quite comfortable with salicylic acid. Over-the-counter products with salicylic acid are only available up to 5% concentration, with the 1-2% strength recommended for acne-related uses.

Erythromycin, Clyndamycin and other Antibiotics

Both erythromycin and clyndamycin are antibiotics that can be used alone (usually in gel, cream and ointment form) or with other active ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide. The application is normally topical and the purpose primarily is to kill bacteria that's causing inflammation on the blocked follicles. There are little known side effects when they are applied externally on the skin. Some antibiotics such as Doxycyline, Tetracyline and even Erythromycin are prescribed (by a dermatologist) to be taken orally for better and longer antibacterial effect.

However, the problem with antibiotics is that acne-causing bacteria can develop resistance over these drugs overtime. People have noticed that antibacterial medications are only potent when used for the first time and lose their effectiveness in the succeeding administration. That's why long continued treatment is not usually advised.


Retinoids are closely related to Vitamin A. They regulate the creation of new skin cells but also act as a peeling agent that helps prevent dead cells from blocking the follicles, which when infected by bacteria will cause acne. They are commonly used in anti-aging skin products because of their cell regenerating properties. Retin-A, with Tretinoin as the main active ingredient, is a widely popular anti-wrinkle cream that is often use to treat acne.

It's quite common to experience more flare ups, slight irritation and a tingling sensation on the skin when using topical retinoids or products containing such compounds for the first time. These are the side effects but skin will eventually get use to them. However, it is strictly advised to follow dermatologist's or package instructions when using retinoids as improper usage can cause more severe damage and even aggravate acne on the skin.

How to Get Rid of Acne Using Natural Products

Natural acne treatments usually came from ancient cultural traditions of healing such as India's Ayurveda, Chinese herbal medicines, Egyptian beauty secrets, etc. It seems each race has its own primitive ways and means of treating their own ailments and had passed them on from generations to generations.

Another possible source of alternative acne solutions are people, qualified or not, who formulated their own theories and cures based on their research and experience. This is where the danger often comes in because results are based on a few individuals' personal experiences, which might not be enough to make a good conclusion out of.

But for people with acne who are desperate to find a way to get rid of their skin problems, a couple of testimonials are often enough to convince them to try to try, hoping that something will work in the end.

There must be a hundred of natural acne cure information that can be found on the Internet. Some appear to be sensible while there are others that are somewhat illogical and might even be harmful. What I've listed here are the more famous ones and whose effectiveness a lot of people swear by.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties that can kill bacteria and which effect on acne is said to be comparable to that of benzoyl peroxide. It can be bought in diluted solutions, usually with 5% concentration, which you can apply directly on your acne. Some facial products such as soap, cleanser, toner and moisturizer also contain tea tree oil to aid in the anti-acne treatment. Keep tea tree oil away from children and animals as it can be highly toxic when ingested.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is believed to be a miracle oil and/or the healthiest oil. In skin care, it is considered an excellent moisturizer because it contains a lot of fatty acids. But some studies concluded that extra-virgin coconut oil can in fact improve the skin's natural defense against bacteria. It does so by providing free fatty acids on the skin which will then be converted to antimicrobial fatty acids that can fight off acne-causing bacteria and other skin diseases.

Olive Oil, Castor Oil and the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)

According to some research, commercial facial products normally strip the skin of its natural oils causing oil glands to overproduce to compensate for the lost oils. The result is an oily face. But when you use oil to clean oil, you will keep the natural oils in the skin intact. Castor oil alone is good for the job because it is alleged to be effective in taking out dirt and other impurities from the pores. But it has a very thick consistency and must be diluted with another oil to thin it down. Olive oil, being less dense and a good skin moisturizer fits the part perfectly.Other oils such as jojoba oil and sunflower oil can be used as substitute.

Aloe Vera

I've read in an article that aloe leaves contain only 1% solid part and 99% water. But that 1% contains over 75 different nutrients including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, amino acids and salicylic acid, that will justify its impressive medicinal properties. You can use the leaves raw and apply it directly on your skin, or you can buy aloe vera products, such as juice and gel that contain aloe extracts. Aloe vera gel can be applied on the skin and scalp while the juice is meant to be taken internally.

With its antibacterial and antifungal properties, it can kill germs and bacteria present in the skin that can cause acne. With its antioxidant properties, it can improve the overall condition of the skin by eliminating free radicals that destroy cell molecules. With its soothing and hydrating properties, it can keep the skin soft, supple and moisturized. With its healing properties, it can aid in healing and fading acne scars.

Milk and Honey

Cleopatra is purported to have bathed in milk and honey as part of her beauty regimen. Hence, milk and honey became more than just a tasty treat.

Honey exhibits antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-allergic, antioxidants and healing properties. Being a humectant, a substance that can absorb water from the air and retain it, honey can supply the needed moisture without having to introduce more oils into the skin. It is often used raw and applied directly on the skin or mixed together with other natural ingredients when making homemade skin care concoctions. However, few people are aware that honey loses its medicinal potency once it's diluted with water and/or expose to heat and light.

The lactic acid on milk, on the other hand, can exfoliate and rejuvenate skin cells. It is also believed to whiten acne scars and dark spots on the face. Some people say that applying milk on big, inflamed pimples and soaking them for a few minutes will greatly reduce the redness and inflammation overnight - a handy quick fix for zits that appeared on the eve of an important event.

How to Get Rid of Acne By Living a Healthy Lifestyle

Once, while I was watching TV, a model was asked how she keeps her skin looking good and healthy. And her answers was, "I just drink lots of water, exercise and eat healthy." Yeah, right. If only it's that easy.

None of the studies conducted about acne establishes that a healthy lifestyle can stop acne from flaring up nor can implicate having a bad lifestyle as a direct cause of having acne breakouts. And that model I watched on TV should probably thank her genes rather than attribute her perfectly clear skin to a balanced lifestyle.

But the thing with a healthy lifestyle is that it works internally. We know that acne also starts inside our body. And inside our body, mysterious things can happen. A lot of people believe and continue to attest that if you put in something good consistently, something good will also manifest outside. And because the skin is the largest organ in our body, the effect will most likely be visible there.

People who aren't blessed with good genes and balanced hormones, intrinsic elements which seem to be the key for having beautiful blemish-free skin, should strive a little harder on things that can be controlled; external factors like grooming, food, habit and environment. Keeping up with a good lifestyle should go hand in hand with your chosen acne treatment in a way that dieting should be accompanied by exercise to shed unwanted fats off your body effectively.

It's like helping the solution solve the problem--how to get rid of acne--because you'll benefit more if you can achieve the goal faster. And you have better chances of preventing future acne problems if you maintain the healthy lifestyle.

Eat right, drink plenty, exercise often, sleep well. You already know how to do it. You just need to start doing it. Today.


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