Acne, a skin condition that affects most people at some point in their lives, can be difficult to manage. In fact, acne is among the top three reasons for teenage visits to dermatologists. Oftentimes people go to dermatologists with questions about what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to treating acne. Drs. Terry Dubrow and Heather Seidel, two of New York City’s top dermatologists who are board-certified in cosmetic dermatology and cutaneous surgery, give their best advice on effective treatments for acne.
Wash twice a day and after sweating
Sweat can lead to acne in two ways. First, it can lead to clogged pores and secondit can add bacteria to the skin that cause breakouts. To keep your skin clear of bacteria and unclogged pores, doctors recommend washing twice a day with an acne-safe cleanser and after sweating. They also recommend trying a benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid product.
Scrubbing your skin can make acne worse
One of the top things people commonly do when they have acne is to use a washcloth or scrub their skin to try and get rid of it. While scrubbing your skin can make acne worse, you should avoid this practice. Remember that scrubbing your skin can also lead to irritation and redness, which may cause more breakouts in the future.
The dermatologists recommend washing your face with water instead of soap for better results. They also recommend doing so in the morning and before bedtime as it will help prevent oil build-up on your skin. Additionally, Drs. Terry and Heather recommend using mild products on your skin such as a cleanser or moisturizer that are noncomedogenic, which reduces the risk of clogging pores and breaks outs.
Rinse with lukewarm water
One of the best ways to properly clean your skin is with lukewarm water, as this removes dirt and oils. Seidel recommends rinsing your face with lukewarm water first, then using a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil.
Keep your hands off your face
It may seem like common sense, but keeping your hands off your face is one of the best ways to prevent acne. The bacteria on our hands can contribute to the development of acne. So be sure to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
Consume 2 to 3 litres of water every day
Dr. Terry Dubrow says that the first thing he recommends is to drink at least two to three litres of water every day in order to reduce oil production and clear up acne.
Avoid heavy, oily creams and cosmetics
One of the pieces of advice given by dermatologists is to avoid heavy, oily creams and cosmetics. These types of products can clog pores, exacerbate breakouts, and lead to post-acne scarring. What you should use instead is a light moisturizer that goes on thin and absorbs quickly so it doesn’t clog your pores.
Another helpful tip from both dermatologists is to avoid exfoliating scrubs or rough face washes. Too much scrubbing can do more harm than good when it comes to acne treatment as these products can irritate the skin and make acne worse.
Furthermore, Drs. Terry Dubrow and Heather Seidel recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 because sun exposure worsens acne symptoms in many people.
Avoid squeezing or popping the pimples
Because so many people are tempted to squeeze or pop their pimples, they may need to be educated on why this is not a good idea. Dr. Terry Dubrow says “There’s a little red blood vessel that can break and cause permanent scarring, pain and swelling.”
The best way to combat acne is through preventative measures like washing your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser, avoiding harsh cleansers and wearing sunscreen every day. Dr. Heather Seidel also advises the use of benzoyl peroxide (BP) in addition to topical antibiotics when treating acne at home. When using BP, it is important to apply it correctly because it will dry out the skin if used incorrectly. Dr. Terry explains that “if you don’t put it on properly, you can create a chemical burn.”
So keep in mind any treatment you are going to use for acne should be consistently applied without overdoing it and causing damage or scarring.
Avoid fast food, oily dishes and junk food
Obesity has been linked to acne, and the worst thing that you can do is eat fast food. Drs. Dubrow and Seidel recommend avoiding greasy foods and junk food, like burgers and fries, as well as fried foods that contain oil like french fries or fried chicken. This will help reduce your intake of certain substances that are related to acne breakouts.
In addition to diet, it’s important to exercise regularly, something that Drs. Dubrow and Seidel also recommend for healthy living. When you exercise regularly, you create a healthier lifestyle that promotes good skin care practices on its own. Make sure you keep an eye out for any signs of breakouts so you don’t come across skin issues in the future.