Mohs Surgery & Dermatology Center

Acne
Acne Skin Care

To prevent further outbreaks of acne and to simply maintain healthy skin, consider following a few simple guidelines below. 

To maintain healthy skin:

  • Follow your acne treatment plan as directed. Take your acne medication as prescribed and be patient with your results. Find out how much time it should take for your acne treatment to work (generally 6-8 weeks) and then stick with it. Stopping treatment early may prevent you from seeing good results or even cause a relapse of symptoms. Keep in mind that your skin may look worse before it begins to improve. After your acne clears, your doctor may recommend that you continue therapy with a topical retinoid to keep it under control.
  • Clean your skin gently. Use a gentle, non-abrasive skin cleanser that does not contain alcohol. Wash your face or other acne-prone area twice a day, and pat skin dry. Use lukewarm (not hot) water. Harsh cleansers and astringents can actually worsen acne. Perspiration, especially when wearing a hat or helmet, can make acne worse, so the skin should be gently cleansed soon after sweating.
  • Shampoo regularly. Those with oily hair should consider washing their hair daily.
  • Limit sun exposure. At best, tanning may hide acne. At worst, sun exposure can lead to skin damage, especially if you are using an acne treatment that makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight and UV rays (this includes tanning booths).
  • Choose cosmetics with care.  Choose non-greasy skin products, and look for words like "non-comedogenic, "oil-free" and &"water-based." Some facial products contain active acne-fighting ingredients, such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, to help keep mild acne at bay.

Things to avoid:

  • Picking, popping, and squeezing acne. Picking and popping pimples can irritate the skin and make acne worse. These also prolong healing time and increase the risk of scarring.
  • Touching the skin throughout the day. Avoid touching acne prone areas with your hands.
  • Astringents, masks, toners, and exfoliators that contain scrubbing particles. Unless one of these products contains an ingredient used to treat acne, such as salicylic acid, these products do not help clear acne. In fact, these products tend to irritate the skin and make acne worse. These products also may make it more difficult to tolerate prescription acne medications.
  • Greasy hair-care products. Hair-care products, such as pomades and oil-containing gels, can drip onto the skin and clog pores. This can result in worsening acne.
  • Skin care products that contain oil. Many skin care products from makeup to sunscreen contain oil. Oil can clog pores and lead to breakouts. Look for products that say oil-free or noncomedogenic.
  • Rubbing alcohol. Some people apply rubbing alcohol in order to dry out the oily skin. This will not help clear acne nor prevent breakouts. In fact, it can irritate the skin and result in acne breakouts.
  • Tanning. Some people claim that their acne clears with sun exposure. The truth is tanning can be very damaging to the skin. IIf you are using a prescription acne medication, you must protect your skin from the sun. These acne medications cause the top layer of your skin to become more sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun and prescription acne medications devices.

Last updated March 19, 2013.