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Skin Acne and Cleansers

Skin Acne and Cleansers


Cleansing your skin properly is one of the most important things you can do to clear up existing breakouts and prevent new acne pimples or pustules from cropping up. With dozens of acne products and skin cleansers available, finding the one that works best for your skin may require a little trial and error.


Cleansers are available for every skin type, including sensitive, dry, oily and aging. Some cleansers contain small particles or beads to exfoliate the skin. Many cleansers contain menthol or peppermint oil to cool the skin and soothe the painful redness often associated with acne. Medicated cleansers often contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to help fight acne. For most people, a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser is the best type to use on acne-prone skin.

Time Frame

Washing your skin twice a day is a good way to keep acne-prone areas clean and hydrated. Most dermatologists recommend washing your face in the morning and before bed. Washing your face too often can actually increase oil production, which can lead to worse breakouts. If you perspire more than normal because of your working conditions or exercise, you may need to cleanse more frequently.


Cleansers wash away dirt, makeup, sweat and dead skin cells. Cleansing alone may not be enough to clear up moderate to severe acne or prevent it from forming. This is because acne forms below the skin's surface when pores become clogged because of excess oil from the sebaceous glands beneath the skin. Keeping your skin clean and free of excess surface oils can help improve mild or infrequent acne.

Medicated Cleansers

Cleansers that contain acne-fighting medications such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can help fight bacteria that cause acne and clear existing breakouts. These medications can cause your skin to dry out, so it is best to avoid other products containing the same medications to avoid intensifying the effect. If you experience painful swelling, excessive redness or blistering after using medicated cleansers, discontinue use and contact your doctor. Although most people tolerate these medications, rare allergic reactions are possible.


If you have particularly sensitive skin, look for water-based cleansers that do not have added chemicals or oils to enhance fragrance and color. Avoid cosmetics and other oil-based skin products as much as possible to get the most benefit out of your cleansing routine. If you must use cosmetics, only purchase products labeled as "water-based" or "noncomedogenic" to ensure they will not clog your pores. Talk to your doctor or dermatologist for a recommendation on what type of cleanser would work best for you and to discuss other treatment options for your acne.

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