1. Wash Daily. Wash your face twice a day, but avoid soaps. Soaps can eradicate your skin’s protective barrier. Many of them have a pH higher than your skin, which can negatively alter your skin chemistry. Chemicals in some soaps can be very harsh and irritate your face. Instead, it’s best to use a gentle facial wash to clean your skin.
2. Do Not Scrub. Scrubbing is bad for acne-prone skin as it can cause existing ruptures to get even more inflamed. Avoid gritty exfoliant facial washes as well as cleansing tools like scratchy loofahs or scrubbers. Instead, massage in your gentle facial cleanser with your fingertips using lukewarm water. When you’re finished, rinse, then pat — don’t rub — your skin dry.
3. Try a Cleanser Containing Salicylic Acid. Salicylic acid, which is derived from plants, is one of the most effective anti-acne chemicals on the market. It works by entering follicles where it encourages the shedding of dead — and potentially pore-clogging — skin cells. It also helps shrink blackheads and whiteheads.
4. Consider a Cleanser with Benzoyl Peroxide. Just like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide works by breaking up dead skin cells that can clog pores. It has the added benefit of killing the bacteria that help contribute to acne. Benzoyl peroxide is the active ingredient in acne-fighting preparations, but it can take a while to be effective, so give it a good four to six weeks to kick in.
5. Don’t Dry Out Your Skin. Many acne preparations have a significant drying effect on the skin. This might seem like a good thing, but overdrying can make things matter worse — oil production might go into overdrive. To avoid this, keep skin moisturized. It’s important to use products that are oil-free or marked “nonacnegenic” or “noncomedogenic,” meaning they won’t wedge roadblocks of gunk in your pores. If you’re treating a breakout with topical acne medication, be sure to apply the moisturizer after the medicine.
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