Are These Skin Care Mistakes Making Your Acne Worse?

If you suffer from acne, then you probably spend a lot of time thinking about skincare and trying to reduce the severity of your breakouts. Unfortunately, some of the common methods patients employ to treat or manage their acne may actually do more harm than good. Here's a look at five common skincare mistakes that may actually be making your acne worse.

Mistake #1: Scrubbing Your Face

It's common for acne sufferers to try to "scrub their pimples away" by using rough washcloths or abrasive cleansers. But in fact, all of this scrubbing often makes matters worse. Facial scrubs and rough washcloths can irritate your already inflamed skin, which may ultimately lead to worsening redness and more breakouts.

You'll have better luck fighting against acne if you remain gentle when cleansing your skin. The American Academy of Dermatologists recommends wetting your skin with lukewarm water and then using just your fingertips to apply cleaner to your face. Rinse your face with more lukewarm water, and then pat it dry with a soft towel.

Mistake #2: Avoiding Moisturizers

Since acne is often related to oily skin, it may seem like avoiding moisturizers would be a good idea. However, applying moisturizer after you wash your face is an important skin care step that you should not skip--even if you're prone to breakouts. Moisturizer helps loosen the sebum that builds up inside of pores, which makes pimples less likely to form. You just need to be careful to use the right moisturizer.

Look for a gentle moisturizer that is recommended specifically for acne sufferers. Most of these are water-based, oil-free products. The product you choose should be labeled "noncomedogenic," which means that it won't clog pores and cause breakouts.

Mistake #3: Popping Pimples

Unfortunately, even though many acne sufferers are aware that this is a bad habit, they still pop and squeeze their spots. Make this the day that you finally break the habit for good. Though popping a pimple may provide some relief and make the spot look better in the short-term, it only makes future breakouts more likely since it spreads acne-causing bacteria into nearby pores.

If you have trouble leaving pimples alone, think about it this way: when you pop a pimple, you're essentially trading it in for three or four other ones later on!

Mistake #4: Not Giving New Products a Chance to Work

You try a new acne treatment for a few days, but your skin does not look any better, so you give up and try yet another new treatment. Does this sound familiar? So many acne patients cycle through washes, spot-treatments and moisturizers far too quickly.

The problem is, it can take your skin 8 or even 12 weeks to show improvement after you start using a new treatment. So if you stop after just a few days or weeks, you really don't know yet if that treatment would have worked for you. Try every new treatment for at least two months before you judge whether or not it's effective.

Mistake #5: Using Too Many Products At Once

Acne treatments — especially those that contain active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid — are drying and a bit harsh on your skin. If you use too many treatments at the same time, your skin may become irritated, and you may actually suffer more breakouts as a result.

If you are using an acne wash, you don't also need to use a medicated moisturizer, makeup, astringent and spot treatment. Stick to one medicated product at a time, and use gentle, non-medicated versions of all other skin care products unless your dermatologist advises you otherwise.

By avoiding the tips above, you should have greater success getting your acne under control. If you're still experiencing breakouts, don't hesitate to reach out to a dermatologist like those at Associated Dermatologists for treatment advice.


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