How to Prevent Acne Outbreaks
Although acne, a skin condition that includes pimples, blackheads and whiteheads, is a problem that most often affects young people, many people in their 40s and 50s still experience it. Overactive sebum (oil) glands, hormones, genetics, improper skin care and stress may all contribute to the problem, making outbreaks worse. Although you may not be able to completely eliminate acne, proper care can help to prevent acne outbreaks.
Taking Care of Your Skin
Clean your skin gently.Wash your skin in the morning and before you go to bed with a mild cleanser. Also wash your face after you exercise or sweat heavily. Wash from right under your jawline to your hairline and be sure to rinse all of the cleanser off your face.You can ask your doctor for advice on the best cleanser to use, but a gentle, oil-free cleanser is usually a good choice.
- If you have oily skin that is not sensitive, consider trying an acne cleanser such as those by Neutrogena, Clearasil, or Oxy. These usually contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide as active ingredients.
- Use your fingertips to apply the cleanser to your face. Washcloths and sponges can irritate your skin.
- Use alcohol free products as well. You do not want to dry out your skin.
- Using harsh cleansers or scrubbing pads can irritate your skin and will not make your skin cleaner.
- Only use an astringent if your skin is very oily. If using an astringent, only apply it to the oily parts of your skin.
Use non-comedogenic cosmetics.Use cosmetics or products marked "non-comedogenic," which means they won't clog your pores. Avoid skin care products that contain oils as well.Remove your makeup before you go to bed and wash your makeup brushes regularly.
Use sunscreen every day.Protect your skin from sunlight using a daily, oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer that includes sunscreen. Sun exposure can worsen acne for some people and some acne medications make you more susceptible to sunburn.Sun exposure and tanning beds can also damage your skin and increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
- Sunscreen should have an SPF of at least 30 and should block both UVA and UVB rays.
Shave carefully.Soften your facial hair with soap and water before you apply shaving cream. Try out both safety and electric razors to determine which one is more comfortable for you. Try to shave when only when necessary so you do not irritate your skin. Be as gentle as possible when you shave as well.
- If you use a safety razor, use a sharp, clean blade.
- Always shave in the direction that your hair grows.
- If you do have acne, do not try to shave it off. This will only make your acne worse.
Be careful of what touches your face.Many people touch their face throughout the day. Each time you touch your face, you are introducing germs and bacteria to your face. Avoid resting objects such as your telephone on your face.It is also important to shampoo your hair regularly and keep your hair off of your face. Sweat and oil can cause an acne breakout.
- Clean your sunglasses and eyeglasses regularly. These objects can carry bacteria and sweat as well.
See a dermatologist.If you the products you are using are not working, if your acne is leaving scars and dark spots, or if you are embarrassed or upset by your acne, see a dermatologist. Most cases of acne can be treated. A healthcare professional can help you get rid of your existing acne, treat any scarring, and prevent further breakouts.
- Besides prescribing acne medications, a dermatologist may also recommend light or laser treatments, chemical peels, or microdermabrasion treatments.
- Ask a friend or family member for recommendations, or visit the American Academy of Dermatology website to find a dermatologist in your area.
Use over-the-counter medicines.If you are pregnant or breast feeding, check with your doctor before using any medications. Look for acne products that contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or sulfur. These products work by either killing acne causing bacteria or removing dead skin cells and speeding up the growth of new skin cells.You can use these to help keep one pimple from turning into a dozen.
- Retinoids are mostly available by prescription only, but there is now a retinoid product available over-the-counter, called Differin gel (adapalene gel). Retinoid can cause irritation, so it is recommended you use it every two to three days, working up to daily use. It also increases sensitivity to sunlight, so apply only at night and make sure you wear sunscreen.
- You may have a little irritation or redness when you start using a new product. If the irritation is mild, then try using the product every few days at first and then work up to using the product every day. If you have significant redness, swelling, or irritation, then stop using the product. If your symptoms continue after you have stopped the medication, go see your doctor.
- Apply a moisturizer to your skin daily as well.
- Apply these products after you have washed your face and before you apply your moisturizer.
- Benzoyl peroxide is available in creams, gels, pads, and washes. It works by killing bacteria and may reduce oiliness of the skin.
- Salicylic acid removes dead skin cells that can clog your pores.
- Sulfur kills bacteria and helps to unclog your pores. Sulfur should be applied to a single pimple, but not to your entire face.
Do not pick your acne.It is tempting to pop, pick, and squeeze your pimples. However, this increases your chances of acne scarring and causes your skin to heal more slowly.Picking can also spread bacteria around and cause further breakouts. It is best to let your skin heal naturally.
Preventing Acne with Your Lifestyle
Know the risk factors.Hormonal changes (e.g., puberty, menstrual cycle, androgens, and corticosteroids), family history, and exposure to greasy/oily substances are associated with acne. If both of your parents had acne, you are more likely to develop it. If you wear a helmet, hat, or work in a greasy area, you also may develop acne.
- If you have any risk factors for acne, it is important that you take good care of your skin and consult a dermatologist.
Eat nutritious foods.While a healthy diet does not prevent acne, it can help your body have all that it needs to maintain healthy skin. Eat a variety of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and use sugar, fried foods, caffeine and highly-processed foods in moderation. Vitamin A, C, and D are particularly important for maintaining healthy skin.Drink plenty of water as well to keep your skin hydrated.
- High-glycemic foods (e.g., white bread, chips, and white potatoes) may trigger acne in some people. Low-glycemic foods (e.g., vegetables, beans, peanuts, and multi-grain bread) may improve your acne.Choose low-glycemic foods when you can.
- Some people believe that greasy foods and chocolate cause acne. However, there is no evidence that they do.
- If you notice that your skin breaks out after you eat certain foods, stop eating them and talk to your dermatologist.
Exercise regularly.Exercise is good for your overall health and for your skin. Your blood flow increases when you exercise. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. Increased blood flow helps nourish your skin cells and keep your skin healthy.Do not forget wash your face after you exercise.
- Shower immediately after you exercise. Sweaty clothes can trap oil and bacteria and cause body acne.
Wash your sheets and towels regularly.Your sheets and towels contain germs and oils that can affect your skin. Your bed sheets should be washed at least every 2 weeks and more often if you sweat a lot. Hang your bath towels after each use and wash them after 3 to 5 uses.
- If your towel contains sweat, blood, or any other bodily fluid, it should be washed after every use.
- Allow your towels to completely dry between each use.
Avoid tight clothing.If you get acne on your back, chest, or any other area of your body, avoid wearing tight clothes that can cause irritation.Helmets, sweat headbands, and turtlenecks can also contribute to acne. Opt for loose-fitting clothing when you can.There may be occasions where you must wear tight-fitting clothing (e.g., sports bras, uniforms). Only wear them when necessary and wash them when you are finished.
QuestionWhat if your acne gets better but doesn't go away completely and, after a while, starts developing again?
Doctor of MedicineDoctor of MedicineExpert AnswerIf certain products were helping, then you should consider using them regularly. You may not need to use them every day, but maybe a few times per week. Think about what else could be triggering your acne, such as sunlight, food, sweating, etc. Talk to your doctor if you can't get your acne under control after trying the steps in this articleThanks!
QuestionIs washing my face with bar soap ok? Or should I use something else?
Doctor of MedicineDoctor of MedicineExpert AnswerUse a gentle cleanser specially made for faces. If you have oily skin or a lot of acne, then try a wash made for people with acne, such as Neutrogena, Clearasil, or Oxy. If your skin is more sensitive or dry, stick with a gentle facial cleanser by brands such as Cetaphil or Eucerin. Don't use regular body or bar soap on your face.Thanks!
QuestionCan using powder cause acne?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
QuestionWill bangs hide my acne?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThey will, but the hair constantly touching your face will only create more acne. Bangs are also a big commitment and you should get them because you like how they look, not just to cover up acne. If you decide to, make sure to wash your hair and face often and use non-scented hair products.Thanks!
- Talk to your family doctor or a dermatologist if your acne is severe and/or not getting better.
- It may take a while to find the products that work best for you.
- Stress does not cause acne, but it can make an existing outbreak worse. Try to keep your stress levels down if you are having a breakout.
Video: 10 Reasons Why You're Breaking Out! Acne Tips! | BiancaReneeToday
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