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.
To complete these steps you will need:
A gentle facial cleanser
Topical acne medication
Shaving cream with benzoyl peroxide
Prescription acne medicine
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.