Few escape the frustrating and unmistakably obvious experience of acne. Although typically most prevalent during your teens and early twenties, intermittent acne breakouts commonly continue during middle and late adulthood. Flare-ups occur when excess oil and dead skin cells block your pores and cause whiteheads and blackheads. Bacterial contamination and inflammation of the clogged pores leads to painful, pus-filled pimples. Employing a few easy skincare measures often helps you get rid of mild to moderate acne and reduces the likelihood and severity of future outbreaks.
Things You'll Need
Clean Your Skin
Clean the skin of your face, neck, chest and upper back with a mild, nonabrasive, dye- and fragrance-free skin cleanser twice daily and after perspiring heavily. Avoid deodorant and other harsh soaps, which contain chemicals that may irritate your skin and worsen acne.
Wash your skin with your hands instead of a cloth or cleansing sponge, which may aggravate acne by abrading your skin.
Avoid washing your skin too frequently and scrubbing your skin harshly. Although cleansing your skin helps get rid of acne by removing excess oil and dead skin cells from your pores, frequent or harsh washing may aggravate acne by excessively drying and irritating your skin.
Wash your hair regularly to prevent oil, hairspray and other styling products from clogging your pores. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends daily shampooing if you have oily hair.
Promote Natural Clearing
Avoid picking or squeezing pimples, which irritates your skin and increases the likelihood of developing additional pimples. Squeezing pimples may also cause a deeper infection of your skin, potentially leading to acne scars. Your body will naturally heal mild to moderate acne pimples.
Consider using a topical tea tree oil preparation daily to help clear your skin and prevent further breakouts. In the medical text “Integrative Medicine,” Dr. Sharon Hull notes that tea tree oil contains natural antibacterial chemicals, which may help reduce the number of pimples on acne-affected skin.
Minimize skin friction in acne-prone areas. The friction caused by a hat, helmet, goggles, tight clothing or athletic gear may delay acne healing and promote the development of new pimples. If you need to wear friction-causing clothing or gear, remove it as soon as possible after your activity concludes.
Avoid astringent products that contain alcohol. These products commonly cause excessive drying of your skin, which leads to increased oil production and further breakouts.
Keep Your Pores Clear
Avoid using cosmetics or sunscreens that contain oil, which can clog your pores and aggravate acne. Use skin products labeled as oil-free or noncomedogenic.
Wash your face with a gentle cleanser after completing your shift if you work in an environment where your skin accumulates dust, dirt or grease.
Avoid touching acne-prone areas with your hands to prevent the inadvertent transfer of potentially irritating substances to your skin.
Although there is no evidence that specific foods cause or cure acne, eat a well-balanced diet with an abundance of vitamin-rich fruit and vegetables to promote healthy skin function.
References and ResourcesNational Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: Questions and Answers About Acne
"Acne and Its Therapy"; Guy F. Webster and Anthony V. Rawlings; 2007
Cutis: The Effect of a Daily Facial Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin on the Skin Barrier of Subjects with Acne; Z.D. Draelos; July 2006
Acne.org: How to Wash Your Face
AcneNet: Acne Treatment
"Integrative Medicine"; David Rakel, M.D., Ed.; 2007
American Academy of Dermatology: Acne