Acne affects people of all ages and all races, and treating it is a slow process that requires diligence and patience. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Step 1: Wash morning & night Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and warm water when you wake up in the morning and at night just before bed.
Tip Don't use harsh scrubs on acne—it will only irritate and inflame the acne.
Step 2: Pat face dry Gently pat your face dry with a towel—don't rub, or you can extract too much moisture from your face.
Tip Be careful not to wash your face too much, which can irritate your skin. If you have oily skin, try blotting it with a clean tissue instead.
Step 3: Apply medication Apply a topical acne medication, either one prescribed by your dermatologist or an over-the-counter cream, lotion, or gel containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.
Tip Benzoyl peroxide reduces a certain kind of bacteria on the skin and salicylic acid helps unclog pores by correcting abnormal skin cell shedding, so one might work better for you than the other.
Step 4: Protect skin Protect your skin with a non-comedogenic sunscreen and avoid excess exposure to sunlight. This is always important, but it is especially critical when you're using topical or internal acne medication, which increases skin's photosensitivity.
Step 5: Use right cosmetics Use only non-comedogenic, water-based cosmetics that are oil-free. There are moisturizers and makeup formulated for acne-prone skin.
Step 6: Shave carefully If you shave, do so carefully and sparingly. Shaving can easily irritate sensitive skin, so only shave when it is necessary and only in one direction.
Tip Some shaving creams on the market contain benzoyl peroxide, so check the label.
Step 7: Don't pop Don't squeeze, pop, or pinch acne. It can cause further inflammation and even permanent scarring.
Step 8: Avoid actions Avoid actions that cause repetitive or prolonged contact with the affected area, like holding a phone against your face, wearing sports equipment, or resting your chin on your hand.
Step 9: Keep hair clean Keep your hair clean and out of your face. The natural oils in hair can contribute to acne, as can hair products that contain oil.
Step 10: See dermatologist If you take proper care of your skin but you still have outbreaks, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. There are different types of acne that may require different approaches in treatment.
Step 11: Follow instructions If you're under a dermatologist's care, follow his or her instructions carefully. If you're prescribed an oral medication, take it regularly.
Step 12: Be patient Be patient! Fighting acne is a slow process, and there is no quick fix or immediate cure. But sooner or later you'll win the battle—and your skin will thank you for it.
Did You Know? Acne is one of the most common skin afflictions in the U.S., and 95% of those affected first suffer from it in their teens.