What to do instead: To prevent new blemishes, spread a thin layer of the acne medication evenly over your acne-prone skin. For example, if you tend to breakout on your forehead, nose, and chin, you would want to apply the acne treatment evenly on all of these areas of your face.
Use makeup, skin care products, and hair care products that can cause acne.Some makeup, along with many skin and hair care products, contain oil or other ingredients that can cause acne breakouts. If you continue to use them, you may continue to see blemishes.
What to do instead: Be gentle when washing your face and other skin with acne. You want to use a mild, non-comedogenic cleanser. Apply the cleanser lightly with your fingertips, using a circular motion. Gently rinse it off with warm water, using only your fingers. Then pat your skin dry with a clean towel.
What to do instead: Resist the temptation to pop or squeeze acne. You want to treat your acne with acne medication. If you have deep or painful acne, seeing a dermatologist is necessary to help clear your acne.
Many people can control their acne by following these skin care tips and using acne treatment that they can buy without a prescription. If you continue to see acne after giving these tips a chance to work, a dermatologist can help. Some people need prescription-strength acne treatment.
1. Give an acne treatment at least 4 weeks to work.Using a new acne product every few days may seem useful, but that approach can worsen acne. Acne treatment needs time to work. Using a different product every few days can also irritate your skin, causing new breakouts.
3. Follow directions.While using an acne treatment can seem pretty straightforward, how much you use and how often you use it can make a huge difference. Be sure to follow the directions.If a dermatologist created your treatment plan, follow your doctor's instructions and use everything your dermatologist included in the treatment plan.
7. Resist touching, picking, and popping your acne.Popping a pimple may seem like the fastest way to clear it, but popping it can actually make things worse. Every time you touch, pick, or pop, you can worsen acne.
Acne medications work by reducing oil production and swelling or by treating bacterial infection. With most prescription acne drugs, you may not see results for four to eight weeks. It can take many months or years for your acne to clear up completely.
The treatment regimen your doctor recommends depends on your age, the type and severity of your acne, and what you are willing to commit to. For example, you may need to wash and apply medications to the affected skin twice a day for several weeks. Topical medications and drugs you take by mouth (oral medication) are often used in combination. Treatment options for pregnant women are limited due to the risk of side effects.
Retinoids and retinoid-like drugs. Drugs that contain retinoic acids or tretinoin are often useful for moderate acne. These come as creams, gels and lotions. Examples include tretinoin (Avita, Retin-A, others), adapalene (Differin) and tazarotene (Tazorac, Avage, others). You apply this medication in the evening, beginning with three times a week, then daily as your skin becomes used to it. It prevents plugging of hair follicles. Do not apply tretinoin at the same time as benzoyl peroxide.
Azelaic acid and salicylic acid. Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid produced by a yeast. It has antibacterial properties. A 20% azelaic acid cream or gel seems to be as effective as many conventional acne treatments when used twice a day. Prescription azelaic acid (Azelex, Finacea) is an option during pregnancy and while breast-feeding. It can also be used to manage discoloration that occurs with some types of acne. Side effects include skin redness and minor skin irritation.
Antibiotics. For moderate to severe acne, you may need oral antibiotics to reduce bacteria. Usually the first choice for treating acne is a tetracycline (minocycline, doxycycline) or a macrolide (erythromycin, azithromycin). A macrolide might be an option for people who can't take tetracyclines, including pregnant women and children under 8 years old.
Combined oral contraceptives. Four combined oral contraceptives are approved by the FDA for acne therapy in women who also wish to use them for contraception. They are products that combine progestin and estrogen (Ortho Tri-Cyclen 21, Yaz, others). You may not see the benefit of this treatment for a few months, so using other acne medications with it for the first few weeks may help.
Isotretinoin. Isotretinoin (Amnesteem, Claravis, others) is a derivative of vitamin A. It may be prescribed for people whose moderate or severe acne hasn't responded to other treatments.
Most studies of acne drugs have involved people 12 years of age or older. Increasingly, younger children are getting acne as well. The FDA has expanded the number of topical products approved for use in children. And guidelines from the American Academy of Dermatology indicate that topical benzoyl peroxide, adapalene and tretinoin in preadolescent children are effective and don't cause increased risk of side effects.
If your child has acne, consider consulting a pediatric dermatologist. Ask about drugs to avoid in children, appropriate doses, drug interactions, side effects, and how treatment may affect a child's growth and development.
Try over-the-counter acne products to dry excess oil and promote peeling. Look for products containing benzoyl peroxide and adapalene as the active ingredients. You might also try products containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid or alpha hydroxy acids. It may take a few weeks of using a product before you see any improvement.
If you have acne that's not responding to self-care and over-the-counter treatments, make an appointment with your doctor. Early, effective treatment of acne reduces the risk of scarring and of lasting damage to your self-esteem. After an initial examination, your doctor may refer you to a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions (dermatologist).
Acne cysts can be difficult to treat. Because they can scar, you should seek help from a dermatologist instead of trying over-the-counter acne products. A dermatologist can teach you how to treat cystic acne.
Some people develop pigment changes (light or dark) spots at the site of the acne cyst after the skin clears up. These spots may be pink, purple, red, black or brown. They eventually fade away, but it may take more than a year.
Most people with cystic acne can prevent severe breakouts or quickly treat acne cysts to prevent scarring. Often, but not always, cystic acne clears up or diminishes with age, as hormones settle down.
Severe or untreated cystic acne can affect how you feel about your appearance, making you anxious or depressed. If cystic acne bothers you, talk with your healthcare provider about getting help with fostering a positive self-image.
Ready for your skin to look and feel its best, and to stop putting out pimples like so many tiny fires? Below, we've rounded up the best ways to get rid of acne from top dermatologists. Though all skin types are different, at least one of these tips is bound to help you reduce inflammation and clear up acne sooner versus later.
Take an extra five minutes before hopping on the treadmill to completely wash your face and remove your makeup to minimize the risk of breakouts. "Sweat is released through visible pores in the skin," says dermatologist Dr. Janelle Vega. "When makeup covers those pores, that barrier doesn't allow the sweat to make it to the surface of the skin, which can lead to clogged pores. The trapped debris and bacteria are a perfect breeding ground for acne bumps and zits."
"Leafy green vegetables and other brightly-colored fruit and vegetables which are rich in antioxidants and nutrients dampen inflammation and improve skin quality (studies have shown acne patients have higher oil production and lower antioxidant levels)," says Dr. Weiser. "Limit intake of dairy products, which can contain hormones and antibiotics that can worsen acne breakouts." Other skin-boosting superfoods include eggs, nuts, legumes, and quinoa.
Okay, so drinking your eight glasses isn't going to magically clear your skin, but Dr. Levin does point out that "drinking water improves your overall health." Plus, it won't contribute to your acne struggles like the sugar and caffeine found in sodas and coffee.
Try sipping spearmint tea. According to Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, dermatologist and founder of Epionce Skincare, having two cups a day could reduce acne by 25 percent! Dr. Levin explains this is because spearmint tea has been shown to be anti-inflammatory and to reduce testosterone levels in some limited studies. "While it's unclear how it works, and it's important to note that there are no standardized studies, it is encouraging data that spearmint may have potential as a natural adjunct treatment for hormonal acne," she says.
If you've tried all the over-the-counter options and you're still getting acne, talk to your dermatologist about prescription acne medicine. Dermatologists can help troubleshoot your skin conditions and create a treatment regimen to help prevent pimples and clear your skin. Some acne (especially cystic acne) needs that next-level approach.
Conventional acne treatments, like salicylic acid, niacinamide, or benzoyl peroxide, are proven to be the most effective acne solutions, but they can be expensive and have undesirable side effects, such as dryness, redness, and irritation.
Each pore is connected to a sebaceous gland, which produces an oily substance called sebum. Extra sebum can plug pores, causing increased growth of bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes. 781b155fdc