Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

Practical Ways to Reduce Acne

Practical Ways to Reduce Acne

Acne varies in form and severity, from small outbreaks to severe cysts. Pimples are the result of pores clogged by sebum, or oil, and the more sebum produced, the more pimples that appear. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, however, acne is not something that just has to run its course—it can be treated, no matter what the form.

Don’t Pick or Pop

It can be hard to keep your hands away from a pimple, but what your mother always told you is true—popping it will just make it worse. Picking at or popping a pimple worsens inflammation and irritates the skin, making it even more prone to acne. Plus, the oil and any dirt on your hands is transferred to your skin when you touch your face.

Wash Your Face

Keeping your face clean and oil-free is one of the most important things you can do to reduce acne. Don’t over-wash though—once or twice a day is plenty. Use a mild cleanser, and don’t scrub, exfoliate or use facial masks, which can make acne worse, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. Always clean your skin after sweating, though—if you’ve been working out or simply been outdoors in the heat, gently wash off the sweat, which can aggravate acne.

Apply Treatments

Start with over-the-counter treatments containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Use just a little at first to make sure you’re not allergic, and don’t use any more than the package suggests. Since topical medications are designed to treat the skin and prevent the formation of acne, all areas that are prone to breakout—usually the forehead, cheeks, chin and nose—should be treated. Don’t give up if your acne doesn't go away immediately, since it can take four to eight weeks to see results, says the American Academy of Dermatology. If you don't see any results after that time, a dermatologist can prescribe a stronger treatment that may work better. Once the acne has cleared up, don’t just stop using the products, since people with acne tend to need to continue to apply their acne medication even when their skin is clear to keep acne at bay.

Avoid Oily Products

Don’t use products on your skin that contain oil, which can clog pores and increase breakouts. This includes makeup, moisturizer and sunscreen. Look for products that say they’re noncomedogenic or oil-free. Keep hair products away from the face as well—hairspray or gels that touch the face can clog pores. If your hair is oily, or has products in it, keep it off the face as well.

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