Acne can be an embarrassment for anyone, at any time. Over 85% of people experience acne sometime during their lifetime. As with many other health issues, most people wait until the acne has erupted on their face before it is treated.
While this approach often works to treat acne, it does not stop acne from developing, nor does it prevent acne scars from forming. The best way to stop acne, and minimize acne scarring is to prevent acne before it ever gets a chance to start.
At the present time, there is still no cure for acne. However, there are various treatments and preventative measures that can be taken to stop acne before it starts.
Start by adopting a good basic cleansing routine. Even though acne is not caused by poor hygiene, it is important to use a wash cloth or another material that will help exfoliate. This is because excess skin cells can contribute to acne. Twice a day should be plenty, and be sure to stay away from oil based moisturizers.
After cleaning the face, use a 2% salicylic acid solution such as stridex or oxy pads. Salicylic acid works by removing more excess skin cells that can clog pores and cause acne to develop. If this is done every day, it will reduce the amount of acne breakouts.
If salicylic acid does not work, try a 5% benzoyl peroxide solution. Anything more than 5% will usually just cause excessive dryness. 5% is strong enough to prevent acne, but not so strong that it irritates the skin. An herbal alternative to benzoyl peroxide is tea tree oil, which has been clinically proven to be as effective as benzoyl peroxide. It is also much less irritating to the skin.
Last but not least, use an oil free sunscreen to protect the skin before going outdoors. This is very important, because sunlight can cause damage and irritation to the skin. Once the skin is damaged, it increases the likelihood of an acne breakout.
The most important part of this regimen is to repeat the steps ever day, whether or not acne is present. By exfoliating, using salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide every day, and protecting the skin with sunscreen, this will stop acne before it starts.
There are also alternative treatments that can be used to prevent acne. Prescription medications such as Accutane, or Retin-A will work to prevent acne. Retin-A in particular can be used with relatively few side effects, and will also work to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
The downside is that it will make the skin more sensitive to sunlight, so wearing sunscreen is a must. Avoiding sunlight as much as possible is even better.
Alpha Hydroxy peels can also be used to prevent acne. By applying glycolic acid to the face, it will gently peel off the upper layers of skin, and allow the skin to renew itself. This form of acne prevention should be administered by a dermatologist, since too much glycolic acid can do more harm than good.
Many acne treatments also work as acne preventatives. The problem is most people stop treating acne once it is gone. The best way to prevent acne and acne scarring is to use a daily regimen of exfoliating, medicating, and protecting at all times. This will keep the vast majority of acne from ever showing up.
Greg Podsakoff is a former acne sufferer, and editor of http://www.acne-treatments-guide.com, a website dedicated to providing factual information about acne and acne treatments that work.