Acne sucks, especially when you’re a teenager. But it can be managed if you follow the right steps and work with your dermatologist. Here are 10 tips for clearing up your skin:
Don’t touch your face.
It’s tempting to touch your face when you have acne, but avoid this at all costs. When you’re dealing with acne, the last thing you need is more bacteria on your skin. Touching your face can spread bacteria, causing inflammation and worsening acne. It can also cause acne to spread because the oil that’s on your hands transfers onto your face when they come into contact with it.
Finally, touching your face can cause infection and scarring if done too frequently or in an aggressive manner (like scrubbing). If you must touch it (or someone else insists), be gentle and wash thoroughly afterward!
Wash your face once in the morning and once at night.
Washing your face with warm water will help to remove excess oil, dirt and debris from your skin. Using a gentle cleanser that is labeled non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic, or non-drying will also help prevent breakouts.
Always use a moisturizer.
If you’re prone to dryness or flakiness, moisturizer can help reduce these symptoms. For people with oily skin, moisturizing is even more important. “Moisturizers are especially beneficial for acne-prone individuals because they help to balance oil production and keep the skin soft and supple,” says Dr. Howard Sobel, a dermatologist in New York City and founder of DDF Skincare (which makes an excellent line of products for treating acne).
Moisturizers protect your skin against environmental damage—including pollution and harsh winds—and also work to repair past damage caused by sun exposure. If used properly after cleansing your face at night before bedtime, they can go a long way toward preventing wrinkles while simultaneously improving the appearance of existing wrinkles in addition to fighting acne breakouts.
Use a toner to keep the skin clean.
Toner can help to remove excess oil, dirt and other impurities that might be clogging your pores. It’s also a good idea to use toner after you cleanse your face with an emollient cleanser or water-based cleanser. Toners come in liquid form and are applied with cotton balls or pads.
You should apply a thin layer of the toner to your entire face and neck area to avoid over-drying the skin. Let it dry before applying any other products on top of it, such as moisturizer or sunscreen creams if you need them for daytime use (but not SPF-containing sunscreen creams for nighttime use).
The more frequently you wash off dead cells from the surface of your skin without irritating it further, the better chance there is that you’ll be able to keep acne at bay—or even cure yourself entirely!
Use makeup products that are labeled non-acnegenic or non-comedogenic.
Non-acnegenic and non-comedogenic makeup products are less likely to cause acne, but since every product is different and every skin type reacts differently, you should always check with a dermatologist before using any new product.
Seek out gentle skincare products.
There’s a lot of jargon to get through here, but those words mean exactly what they say: “non-comedogenic,” “non-acnegenic,” and “non-irritating.” If your products are labeled as such, they’ll be gentler on your skin and less likely to cause breakouts.
As an added bonus, it’s also worth checking the ingredients lists for anything that might be irritating or allergenic. Some ingredients—like menthol and eucalyptus oil—can cause irritation and even allergic reactions in some people with sensitive skin. If you see any of these ingredients on the label of a product you’re considering purchasing, take caution before buying it!
Try over-the-counter (OTC) products.
Over-the-counter (OTC) products are available at most drugstores, grocery stores, and online retailers. They’re affordable, easy to find and use, effective when used as directed, safe if used according to the label’s instructions (always follow label directions carefully), and come in a variety of forms that may be suitable for your needs. For example:
If you pop a pimple, remember to treat it afterward.
If you pop a pimple, remember to treat it afterward.
Use a spot treatment to prevent infection and reduce redness. The most common antibiotic is benzoyl peroxide, which helps kill bacteria, dry excess oil and unclog pores. It may also help keep acne from forming in the first place by killing pore-clogging bacteria before they have time to grow inside your skin. A lotion version of this ingredient can be found under the name BenzaClin or Benzaclin (though there are many others).
Use a drying agent if your skin gets too irritated by popping pimples. After getting rid of an affliction with the help of an extraction tool like the Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strip Acne Treatment Kit, follow with something like Stiefel’s Compound 20% Acne Treatment Lotion ($20) or Neutrogena’s Grow Up 10x Daily Acne Clearing Moisturizer ($14). The former contains salicylic acid (BHA), which unclogs pores and helps prevent breakouts; while the latter is packed with salicylic acid and sulfur to clear out blockages without leaving behind any residue on your face (or pillowcase).
Use an OTC treatment with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
If you have mild acne, an over-the-counter (OTC) treatment with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid may be all that you need. These ingredients help to reduce inflammation, kill bacteria and clear pores. They’re available in a variety of strengths so you can find one that works for your skin type and severity of acne. Both are safe for all skin types.
Get your acne under control before switching up your skincare routine.
The last thing you want to do is switch up your skincare routine while your skin is still dealing with breakouts. This can actually make matters worse, as all of the products will be fighting each other, and nothing will be able to do its job properly. Make sure that, first and foremost, you have gotten your acne under control before making any changes in how often you wash or what cleanser or moisturizer you use.
Acne is annoying but it can be managed if you follow the right steps.
Acne is a skin condition that affects millions of people. It’s caused by a combination of genetics and hormones, making it especially common in teens. Acne can pop up anywhere on your body but most commonly occurs on the face, back, chest and shoulders.
But don’t despair! There are lots of treatments available for acne, both OTC and prescription—and they may help you get rid of your acne faster than you think. In fact, with proper treatment and care for your skin this condition can often go away on its own in just a few months!
We know that acne can be frustrating, but we hope that these tips will help you get your skin under control. Remember to keep it simple, stick with products from trusted brands and know when to seek the advice of a dermatologist if you need more advanced treatment.