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10 Steps to Skip to Improve Acne

Treating your acne but not seeing improvement? Here are ten steps to skip in your routine to make it better



If you're fighting acne, it can feel like you've tried everything but nothing is working. But did you know that your skin care routine could be the culprit? Here are 10 habits that can make acne worse, and tips on how to fix them.


1. Trying a new treatment every week or so


Your skin needs time to adjust to treatment, especially when it comes to different active ingredients. Changing your routine frequently can irritate your skin and worsen acne.


Instead….Give acne treatment time to work. Preferably, use a product for 6 to 8 weeks to allow your skin to adjust. If you see no improvement, feel free to try another product. For acne to completely clear up, it takes generally around 3 to 4 months


2. Apply acne medication on your blemishes

While instinct is to treat what we see, this approach falls short of preventing new breakouts. Active acne can reside on areas near the visible blemishes and often they come out after.


Instead…To prevent breakouts, I recommend applying a thin layer of acne medication evenly over the 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.

In doing so, you prevent acne and you treat visible blemishes.


3. Use makeup, skin care, and hair products with harmful ingredients


Did you know that your favorite scented products could potentially include ingredients that help 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


Instead…I recommend using only makeup, sunscreen, skin care, and hair-care products that are labeled “non-comedogenic” or “won’t clog pores.” These products don’t cause breakouts in most people. Labeling shoudl be present in front of the product or on the back near the ingredients.


4. Share makeup, makeup brushes, or makeup applicators


Even if you use only non-comedogenic products, sharing makeup can lead to blemishes. Acne isn’t contagious, but when you share makeup, makeup brushes, or applicators, the acne-causing bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells on other people’s skin can wind up in your makeup. When you use that makeup, you can transfer their bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells to your skin. These can clog your pores, leading to breakouts.


Instead…Make sure you’re the only person who uses your makeup, makeup brushes, and makeup applicators.



5. Sleep in your makeup


Even if you have non-comedogenic makeup, and are absolutely sure you won’t break out….chances are you will. It can be tempting, but try to remove all of your makeup before drifting off to sleep.


Instead…Remove your makeup before you go to bed. No exceptions. If you’re too tired to wash your face, use a makeup remover towelette. Just make sure it’s a non-comedogenic towelette.


6. Wash your face throughout the day


Over washing your face several times a day strips your skin from its healthy oils and can further irritate your skin, this can lead to more breakouts.


Instead… I recommend washing your face twice a day when you wake up and before you go to bed. You’ll also want to wash your face when you finish an activity that makes you sweat.


7. Dry out your skin

Skin with acne is oily, so it can be tempting to apply astringent and acne treatments until your face feels dry. Don’t. Dry skin is irritated skin. Anytime you irritate your skin, you risk getting more acne.


Instead…Use acne treatments as directed. If your skin feels dry, apply a moisturizer made for acne-prone skin. You’ll want to apply the moisturizer twice a day, after washing your face.


8. Scrub your skin

To get rid of acne, you may be tempted to scrub your skin clean. Don’t. Scrubbing can irritate your skin, causing acne to flare.


Instead…I recommend to 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.


9. Rub sweat from your skin during a workout


Using a towel to roughly rub away sweat can irritate your skin, which can cause breakouts.


Instead..When working out, use a clean towel to gently pat sweat from your skin


Last but not least



10. Pop or squeeze breakouts.

This is the most important step to avoid if you’re trying to clear your acne.

When you pop or squeeze acne, you’re likely to push some of what’s inside (e.g., pus, dead skin cells, or bacteria) deeper into your skin. When this happens, you increase inflammation. This can lead to more-noticeable acne and sometimes scarring and pain.


Instead….Resist the temptation to pop or squeeze acne. You want to treat your acne with acne medication. If you have an active breakout that you feel needs to be expressed, seek our local board-certified dermatologist to minimize these side effects.






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-Dr. Del Campo

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