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Acne is something that nearly all of us have experienced at one time or another, and there’s a big misconception about acne, namely that it only impacts teenagers and young adults. Sadly, adult acne is on the rise, and the reasons why it manifests itself varies from person to person. Genetics plays a huge role. For some, stress can cause breakouts. For others, poor diet is the culprit. Still for others, something as simple as not getting enough sleep can trigger a breakout that can take weeks to clear up. So what do you do?

The most important thing to do each day is to wash your face and other body parts impacted by acne with a proper skin cleanser. Use ones that exfoliate layers of dead skin and help prevent formation of dirt plugs which can lead to whiteheads or worse. Once you’ve made sure your skin is clean with the right cleanser, there are many over-the-counter acne medications that Grooming-2015_acne_copy1work for most skin types. Look for the following main ingredients: benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.

Benzoyl peroxide helps destroy bacteria on the skin that can get deep into your pores and cause acne and other skin infections. Salicylic acid helps unclog your dirty pores, but if you use a treatment with this as the active ingredient, be sure to use it every day, or you’re in danger of having your pores plugged up with dirt and other bacteria in as little as two days.

One thing to keep in mind is that anabolic steroids cause widespread acne in men. If you use these steroids to build muscle mass, consider getting off them immediately. The statistics are sobering: about a third of men who use these steroids end up getting persistent adult acne, and half of those cases end up progressing to cystic acne, which is very severe and will spread Grooming-2015_acne_copy2across your chest and your back. The steroids will fight most over-the-counter treatments, so using an acne cream alone will not prove effective. Only the complete cessation of anabolic steroids will clear up these cases of acne.

If your acne is strong enough that you need to see a dermatologist, he will recommend a number of additional treatments, such as antibiotics. Some can be taken orally and others have to be rubbed into the skin directly. Retinoids, derivatives of vitamin A, are particularly useful in unclogging dirty pores. Corticosteroids, an anti-inflammatory, is used as a last resort with cystic acne to clear up problem spots individually.

There are also skin care issues that men deal with that mimic acne. Folliculitis is a skin irritation that occurs in shaving and also with vigorous exercise. Dirt can get into hair follicles and infect the skin, causing red raised bumps that many may mistake as acne. There’s also rosacea, a skin condition which is accompanied by red bumps called “acne rosacea.” They are not acne in the traditional sense, and it isn’t clear what causes them, but many physicians believe common Grooming-2015_acne_copy3mites can invade hair follicles and exacerbate this already-embarrassing skin condition. Tea tree oil can treat folliculitis on sight, while a doctor’s prescription is needed to treat “acne rosacea” and other rosacea-related skin irritations.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, many breakouts are the result of things we can control. Be sure to eat a balanced diet and take “bad” foods and drinks, such as fast foods and alcohol, in moderation. Balance your workload so you deal with less stress each day. Perhaps most importantly, get enough sleep. Not only will most people’s skin clear up in a few days, it will leave you refreshed and ready to start the day (hopefully a day with less stress, allowing you to make many good, healthy choices!).

You can shop for over-the-counter acne medications at your local Walgreens. With locations across Florida, you can pick up a good topical cream today. Visit walgreens.com to see the medications on offer and if your local Walgreens has them in stock.

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Mike Halterman
Mike Halterman has been the editor of Hotspots Central since its launch in July 2016. He joined the Hotspots Media Group family as editor of Hotspots' South Florida magazine in June 2013. A former "40 Under 40" honoree in The Advocate magazine, Mike lives in the Tampa Bay area.