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I can't get rid of my pimples and blackheads

 
My mom pops them, but it hurts! I’ve tried over-the-counter medicines, but they don’t help. Is there a way for my face to clear up?

We’ll say it again…and again and again. Picking blemishes is bad, bad, bad! It can cause the infection to go deeper into the skin and even leave permanent scarring.

The first line of acne attack is to use a wash with salicylic acid, and follow up with benzoyl peroxide cream. If that doesn’t work, you should see a dermatologist, who can prescribe a retinoid cream. These potions decrease oil, while peeling away dead skin cells that cause blackheads (that’s not dirt!).

If topical creams don’t work, the dermo will probably give you oral antibiotics or an oral retinoid called Accutane. Whew!

There are lots of choices for clearing up skin. The latest thing? Laser and light treatments that zap pores, keeping them from ever producing pimple-causing oils again—and without side effects. The catch? Most laser treatments cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

POSTED ON 2/1/2010 5:19:00 PM

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