Good skin care plays an important role in treating acne. Following these skin care guidelines—unless your dermatologist instructs otherwise—can help improve treatment results:

Do NOT pop, squeeze or pick at acne.

This can make acne worse by spreading inflammation. With medical treatment, removing lesions is rarely necessary; however, when comedo removal is needed, it should be performed by an experienced healthcare professional.

Gently wash your face twice a day with a mild cleanser and pat dry.Acne is not caused by poor hygiene, and vigorous washing and scrubbing will not clear your skin. In fact, all that scrubbing can irritate your skin and make acne worse. The way to clear acne is with appropriate acne products and good skin care.

Use “noncomedogenic” (does not clog pores) cosmetics and toiletries.When buying cosmetics and other products that you will use on your skin or hair, be sure to look for ones labeled “noncomedogenic.” Makeup, sunscreen and toiletries that are not likely to cause acne state that they are “noncomedogenic” on the product.

Avoid aggravating your acne.Oily hair, sporting equipment that rubs against your skin and airborne grease—all can irritate and make your acne worse. Ways you can avoid these situations include:

If you have oily hair, keep it off your face and wash it daily.

Avoid using hair care products that contain oil, such as pomades and gels. Wear cotton clothing or moleskin under sporting equipment to avoid skin-to-equipment contact.

Give acne products enough time to do their job.

Ask a dermatologist (or pharmacist) how much time is needed for each particular product to work. This way you’ll know when you can expect to see clearing and not stop using the product(s) before you see results. As a rule of thumb, it takes 6 to 8 weeks before you begin to see an improvement.

Use medications as directed.

Using more medication than directed will not improve results. In fact, it can make acne worse by aggravating the skin. Be sure to read all labels and use accordingly or as instructed by a dermatologist.

Avoid excess exposure to sunlight, and do not use tanning booths or sun lamps.

Contrary to popular belief, tanning does not clear acne; it simply masks acne. Tanning also increases one’s risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers. Additionally, some acne treatments can increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight and ultraviolet light from tanning booths and sun lamps. If you have acne, it is important to protect your skin by following sun-protection practices, such as wearing sunscreen and avoiding sunburns.

If after following these guidelines, you are not satisfied with the results from your acne treatment, be sure to see a dermatologist. Today, almost every case of acne can be cleared, especially with a dermatologist’s help.

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