Search online for how to clear up your acne and the advice you’ll find again and again is: Take good care of your skin. But what does that really mean?
A lot of the skincare habits that we pick up from our older siblings, friends, and bloggers can actually do more harm than good. So, let’s separate myth from fact once and for all. This is a rundown of some habits that could be worsening your acne, and the tweaks you could make to them to see better results.
You’re only treating your blemishes.
Which means you’re not preventing new breakouts. Instead of blotting the acne medication, spread a thin, even layer everywhere you’re prone to breakouts: forehead, nose, chin. And give the medication time to work. It’ll take six to eight weeks to see some improvement. If you don’t see any improvement by then, you can try another product. But trying a new treatment every other week for your skincare habit can irritate your skin, which can lead to new breakouts.
You’re washing your face all the time.
It’s tempting to think that more = better when it comes to cleanliness and trying to stave off new breakouts, but washing your face more than a couple times a day can further irritate your skin, which—all together now—can cause new breakouts. Do it when you wake up, before you go to sleep, and right after any activity that makes you sweat. And when you do it—again, less is more—dial down the intensity. Concerning skincare habits, use a mild, non-comedogenic cleanser, and apply it with your fingertips in a circular motion. Then gently rinse it off with warm water, and pat your face dry with a clean towel.
You’re drying out your skin.
Skin with acne is oily. So the lure use an astringent or an acne treatment until your face feels dry can be strong. But dry skin is irritated skin, and, by now, you know where this headed. Instead, use acne treatments as indicated, ditch the astringents, and apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer after washing your face.
Your makeup is making things worse.
Some makeup and many skin- and haircare products contain oil or other ingredients that can cause breakouts. Try to replace as many of them as you can with non-comedogenic products. The label isn’t a guarantee that the product won’t cause breakouts, but it is generally the better option for those of us with acne-prone skin. Also, avoid sharing makeup and any applicators. Acne isn’t contagious, but the acne-causing bacteria, oil, and other people’s dead skin cells can be transferred to your skin and clog your pores when you share that stuff. And don’t sleep in your makeup, even if it’s non-comedogenic. At the very least, use a makeup-remover towelette.
You’re popping your pimples.
I know it seems like you’re speeding up the process, but when you pop pimples, there’s a good chance that you’re pushing the dead skin cells or bacteria inside deeper into your skin in the process. When that happens, the inflammation will intensify. And then, best-case scenario, your acne will become more noticeable. Worst-case: Your acne could permanently scar. Instead, continue treating it with acne medication. If it’s especially deep and/or painful, see a dermatologist about it.
Most acne can be cleared up with over-the-counter medications, patience, and a sound skincare routine. If yours still isn’t improving, don’t get frustrated. A dermatologist and good skincare habits can help.