• Acne Treatments: botanicals & medication (Part 1)



    acne treatment advice

    Are medicinal treatments more efficient than botanical ones?  For many mild and moderate conditions, plants can help improve symptoms without the need of strong medication, which usually has a long list of side effects. In skincare, the combination of the two is often a better solution that helps alleviate conditions from acne to eczema while minimizing side effects like dryness and irritation.  How should you care for your acne prone skin with botanicals and medicated products?

    Caring for your skin: washing is essential. 

    When it comes to everyday cleansing with a medicated cleanser, the foam cleansers are good for oily skin and the cream ones are good for dry skin. It’s especially important for dry skin types to avoid toners with alcohol because it can aggravate a dry, scaly complexion but it is also important to avoid alcohol based skincare products in general because of their irritation potential. Apply acne medication on clean skin. Use sunscreen every day and apply it after acne medication has absorbed.

    Cleansing should be done a with a clean, cotton cloth or a soft sponge and rinsed with lukewarm water; avoid extremely hot or cold water, it can be too harsh for sensitive skin. Don’t rub your skin with a towel; instead pat-dry. Make sure your hands are clean when applying cleansers and lotions. Avoid the sensitive areas around the eyes, nose and mouth.

    Which botanicals work?

    Regardless of your skin type, you can achieve a great complexion using products with botanical extracts together with your usual acne medication. There are a number of active ingredients and plant-based medicinal ingredients that will promote smooth, balanced skin.

    - Green tea is an antioxidant
    - Lavender may be used as a disinfectant
    - Queen of Meadow reduces oil and tightens pores
    - Licorice, Arnica, and Allantoin reduce redness and swelling
    - Aloe Vera, Menthol and Calendula cool and calm inflamed skin
    - Tea Tree oil is an antiseptic that heals lesions without irritation

    Medication is important
    To stop acne breakouts, these ingredients are most efficient when paired with a powerful, acne medicine. Common over-the-counter Acne Medication in Canada includes:

    Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid is a Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) that clears oils and prevents breakouts. Extracted from the bark of the willow tree, salicylic acid penetrates into pores, exfoliates dead skin cells, dissolves oil and prevents red, irritated skin. It is a preferred solution for sensitive skin types and is also used to treat other conditions like psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis and dandruff.

    Glycolic acid: Glycolic acid is an organic acid derived from sugar cane that exfoliates efficiently, clears skin and unclogs pores. However, it doesn’t unclog pores as well as salicylic acid therefore chemical peels often include both glycolic acid and salicylic acid to exfoliate dead skin cells and encourage new skin growth.

    Benzoyl peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) that helps to unclog pores and reduce oil and bacteria. Since it can be harsh on dry or sensitive skin, it’s recommended to start with the lowest percentage and do an initial skin patch test

    Sulfur: Sulfur stops blemishes in their tracks, accelerates healing on the existent ones and keeps skin blemish-free. It is a natural antibacterial ingredient that reduces inflammations. It can slightly dry the skin after repeated use.

    Choosing the most suitable medication depends on your skin type and response to the active ingredient.

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