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Acne is a condition of the skin, rather than a skin type.  A combination of excess sebum (oil) and dead skin cells lead to clogged pores that can result in blackheads, pimples, pustules, or cysts.  Because acne is an inflammatory condition, the skin can also become reddened and sensitive.  Dead skin cells weighed down by excess sebum form sticky "plugs" that block pores and restrict the free flow of oil to the skin's surface.  Acne bacteria thrive in these conditions.  It is very important for acne-prone skin to practice regular, daily exfoliation.  Dead skin cells must be removed, but harsh and abrasive scrubs should be avoided.  There is no cure for acne, but it can be effectively controlled.  Benzoyl Peroxide (BP) products are still the gold standard for penetrating pores and killing acne bacteria.  However, a small percentage of the population is allergic to benzoyl peroxide and should avoid it as it may cause severe swelling and hives.  Many people are also sensitive to benzoyl peroxide, but not necessarily allergic to it.  Sensitive individuals may experience redness and itching which can often times be avoided by allowing the skin to build up a tolerance to BP.  This is done by applying a lower strength (2.5% and not more than 5%), and leaving it on the skin for a short period of time (5 minutes), then remove the BP with a gentle cleanser and apply moisturizer and sunscreen.  If you do not experience irritation, you can repeat this procedure the following day.  While benzoyl peroxide can be a great tool for clearing acne breakouts quickly, we do not recommend its long-term use.  For those who are allergic or sensitive to BP, salicylic acid is an excellent alternative.  Salicylic Acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that is also very effective at exfoliating the skin and allowing topical medications to reach the clogged pore and help to clear it.  Glycolic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) which can also be helpful for exfoliating and clearing the clogged pores in acneic skin.  More recently, studies are finding that Green Tea is showing results similar to Benzoyl Peroxide at clearing acne but without the irritation.  Topical green tea products can soothe the redness and irritation of acne blemishes while the antibacterial properties help heal the skin and discourage further breakouts.  An added benefit of Green Tea is that it is also a great anti-aging ingredient.  It hydrates the skin and provides high levels of antioxidants to protect the skin as well.

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