How to Tend to Skin for Acne
The skin produces an oil called sebum, which is important for maintaining skin moisture, as the Nemours Foundation notes. However, sebum can clog pores, contributing to acne breakouts. Pores also clog with dead skin cells and bacteria, and the obstructed hair follicles can become inflamed. Tending to skin to prevent and control acne means treating these contributing factors by reducing sebum, helping your skin properly eliminate dead skin cells, being proactive about limiting bacteria and soothing inflammation. Mild to moderate acne is generally manageable at home, but more severe acne usually requires help from a dermatologist.
Clean acne-prone areas of skin two times a day and after getting sweaty to reduce bacteria. Wet your skin with lukewarm water, or water slightly cooler than body-temperature. Use a mild, non-abrasive, alcohol-free soap, as the American Academy of Dermatology's website AcneNet advises. Massage just enough soap to create a lather into your skin in circular motions for about 15 to 20 seconds. Use your fingers, rather than a washcloth, to prevent irritation. Rinse your skin thoroughly with lukewarm water, as cold water doesn't adequately remove residue, and hot water can damage or dry out your skin. Dab your skin dry with a clean towel.
Shampoo your hair daily to limit dirt and oil that can spread to your face. Avoid hair-styling products, which can also transfer oil and irritating ingredients from your hair onto your facial skin. Tie long hair back to keep it off your face.
Apply a topical over-the-counter product designed for acne control to the skin after cleansing. Opt for benzoyl peroxide-based products if they aren't too irritating to your skin, as they reduce bacteria and remove dead skin cells and excess oil, according to MayoClinic.com. Massage in small daubs over acne-prone areas, taking care not to get any in your mouth, eyes or nose. Try products made with salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acids as alternatives. Apply acne ointment as indicated in the product directions, or as instructed by your dermatologist.
Dampen your stubble with warm water before shaving to soften the hair around acne-prone skin. Shave without applying too much pressure, and never attempt to slice acne off with a razor, as this can make acne worse, according to AcneNet. Try both electric and standard razors to see which is less irritating to your skin.
Take off makeup completely before going to sleep, as it will clog pores overnight. Purchase makeup and skin care products that specify they won't worsen acne conditions. Look for oil-free, noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic labels.
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