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Acne: Causes, remedies, and how to clear it up fast

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By: Dr. Corey Hartman, Skin Wellness Dermatology

Whether you’re 13 or 30, dealing with acne can be extremely frustrating and even take a toll on your confidence and self-esteem. No wonder most people would do almost anything to get rid of it once and for all. 

While some try the “miracle cures” they find on social media, others give up chocolate out of desperation for clear skin. But believe it or not, there are actually better ways to clear up acne fast. 

Acne: From the causes to best ways to clear it up fast

If you suffer from acne, you probably want to know two things: why do you have it and how can you get rid of it as quickly as possible. Fortunately, I have some answers for you. 

First off, what really causes acne?

You’ve likely researched this before, and I always tell patients, if there are a million answers out there, that’s because nobody knows.

The truth is, there are a lot of different things that go into it – genetics, oil production, hygiene, skin congestion, hormones, bacteria, stress. All these things can play a role, and there’s typically not going to be one factor you can point to that says, “This is why you have acne.

What about chocolate and dairy – can certain foods worsen acne? 

When it comes to dairy, the only study that’s ever been shown to have any validity was regarding skim milk. The protein in skim milk can actually contribute to an elevation in hormones which impacts oil production and can lead to acne.

As for chocolate, patients tell me all the time that when they eat chocolate, they break out. Of course, I don’t argue with patients and their experience, but I also can’t prove it. Though some theories suggest foods with a higher glycemic index may be linked to acne, there’s no real scientific evidence to support it. 

Now, what are the proven ways to clear acne up FAST?

In order to clear up acne, there are two things everyone needs, and that’s a good cleanser and a retinoid. 

You’ll need a cleanser that’s going to get rid of as much debris, oil, and “environmental crud” as possible, so your pores aren’t clogged. Then, you want to use a retinoid, which is essential to any acne regimen. Retinoids are so beneficial for acne and even wrinkles, and if you can get over that first few weeks of peeling, you’ll experience all the benefits. 

Treatments such as chemical peels and HydraFacials can also be useful for controlling acne. 

After that, it’s really up to you to work with a dermatologist who can identify and target your main issues. But please, please remember, acne is a chronic medical condition that needs maintenance, and the most important thing with an acne regimen is consistency. People think that they can use something for a week or two, and then they’re done with acne forever, and that’s just not the case. Even once everything’s looking good, you need a maintenance regimen to maintain those results. 

Now, what about getting rid of these acne scars?

When people say acne scars, they don’t typically mean what I mean; I mean textural changes where the surface of the skin isn’t smooth. For true acne scars, microneedling is fantastic, plus we also have a variety of lasers that can help as well. 

When most people say acne scars, they’re talking about hyperpigmentation or redness. When this is the case, you can get that discoloration cleared just by using a good sunscreen and either a lightening or brightening cream. 

Working with someone who can help you clear up YOUR acne 

In this day and age, we all see so many acne treatments online, and it’s easy to get sucked into these so-called “miracle cures.” But here’s my take on it: If you’re using something and it works, then cool. If it’s not, then it’s time to visit your dermatologist and try some proven methods that we know will be successful. 

The bottom line is that everybody’s different, and you need an acne treatment that’s tailored to YOU. That’s why when you’re at your wit’s end, and none of the “miracle cures” are working, seeing an experienced dermatologist is going to be your best bet for getting rid of acne FAST.

Learn more about acne causes and remedies from Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, AL

At Skin Wellness Dermatology of Alabama, we offer cutting-edge skin care and dermatology services to our patients in the Greater Birmingham area, including Hoover and Homewood. At our offices in Birmingham & Chelsea, AL, our certified dermatologists are here to listen to your concerns and offer the individualized, high level of patient care you seek. We believe in making care accessible and affordable, and we will go out of our way to accommodate your visit. Give us a call today at 205-871-7332.