Acne Prevention and Treatment Tips
Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, but many women with the condition do the wrong things to prevent it and treat it. Dermatologists know that letting acne run its course is rarely the best advice:
- Without treatment, dark spots and permanent scars can appear on the skin as acne clears;
- Treating acne often boosts a person’s self-esteem;
- Many effective treatments are available;
- More women are getting acne; A growing number of women have acne in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond.
Touching Your Blemishes
Touching your pimples is one of the worst things to do with acne. Serious consequences that result from touching acne include the worsening of inflammation, spread of infection and a longer healing process. When you squeeze a pimple, the risk of scarring is multiplied. The only dermal manipulation recommended for skin blemishes and acne are deep cleansing techniques carried out by a facial skin esthetician or a dermatologist. Deep pore-cleansing facials are not designed for severe acne, but remove blackheads and impurities. They are for people with oily skin or mild acne. Only a licensed physician can address severe acne with cysts, the “buttons” of inflammation under acne blemishes.
Sleeping With Makeup
It’s OK to wear makeup when you have acne, but not removing your makeup before bedtime is a sin. Makeup left overnight hinders skin renewal and clogs your pores, which can cause inflammation.
Cleansing Your Skin Excessively
Cleansing the skin excessively is a mistake because it only aggravates the skin, without addressing the problem. The main cause of acne is an overproduction of sebum by sebaceous glands at the root of hair follicles. Skin that is irritated by too many cleansing products will start producing more sebum, not less, creating an environment conducive to acne. It is actually more effective and less harmful to use a single cleansing product, once or twice per day at most. Also use an acne cream or spot-drying treatment once daily.
Topical Treatments vs. Comprehensive Care
When suffering from acne, it is common to focus on affected areas by cleansing or using various daily treatments, while ignoring other factors and possible causes. Acne triggers include excess sebum, stress, high levels of progesterone, tobacco use and high blood sugar—as well as many others. A comprehensive treatment is recommended, regardless of age.
Harmful Skin Care Products
Certain ingredients in your moisturizer, toner and sunscreen can irritate your skin and cause break outs. Mineral oil, petrolatum, lanolin, perfume and artificial colors are the usual offenders, but even alcohol can overly dry your skin and cause your skin to produce more sebum. Read the labels of your skin and body care products and makeup to avoid non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog pores), oil-free, fragrance-free and alcohol-free.
Clean Your Makeup Brushes
Sometimes, it’s not the makeup behind your acne, it’s your bacteria-laden makeup brushes and sponges. To keep your skin clear, wash your applicators at least once a week with a gentle cleanser designed for that purpose.
Apply Your Spot Treatment Properly
It’s not enough that you know what spot treatment is best for acne. Knowing when to use it, how often to apply and how long to wear it is absolutely crucial. Benzoyl peroxide, an ingredient commonly found in acne treatments, has a 1–3-hour working time, and any cream that comes in contact with it before it has completed its work will likely inhibit the active ingredient from working properly. Wait at least an hour before applying moisturizer and/or sunscreen for best results.
Too Much Sun
Frequent sun tanning can trigger breakouts on those with acne-prone skin. Sun, heat and humidity can cause oil glands to become overactive, which can lead to acne breakouts. Also, apply sunscreen. Choose an oil-free, non-comedogenic product.
Change Your Pillowcase
If you’re not changing your pillowcase, you’re basically lying on accumulated dust and dead skin cells. Your bath towel could be harboring as much acne-causing bacteria.
Too Much Medication
Applying too much medication, or applying too often will cause excessive drying, redness, peeling, and irritation. Using your medications exactly as directed is the best way to clear acne, without harming your skin.