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Controlling Adult or Adolescent Acne

You stand the best chance of controlling your acne if you follow your treatment plan. Be patient. Acne often takes months, not days or weeks, to improve. Ask your health care provider when you can expect your skin to look better. If you don’t see results by your goal date, call your health care provider. He or she may want to give you some other type of treatment.

Using skin care products and cosmetics

Besides following your treatment plan, take care in choosing skin care products and cosmetics. The following tips may help:

  • Choose gentle, oil-free soaps and facial cleansers.

  • Avoid harsh acne scrubs, cleansers, or astringents. These types of products can irritate your skin.

  • Ask your health care provider before buying over-the-counter acne treatments. Although some of these can be effective, such as those with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, they are often ineffective because of side effects, such as skin getting too dry with treatments that are too strong.

  • Read labels on makeup and moisturizers. Choose those that are water-based and oil-free. Look for the term noncomedogenic. It means that the product won’t clog your pores.

Caring for your skin

The right skin care routine can help keep your skin healthy. To take good care of your skin, try these tips:

  • Gently wash your face or other affected skin twice a day with a mild cleanser. Using your fingertips, smooth the cleanser over your skin. Rinse your skin well. Pat it dry.

  • If your health care provider has approved any over-the-counter acne medication, use as directed. Use it after you wash your skin. Apply the medication to all areas where you get acne. Don’t just treat acne you can see now. New blemishes may be in progress but not in view yet. Treat all the skin.

  • Don’t squeeze or pick blemishes. Acne blemishes may heal on their own. But squeezing can cause scarring. Scars will remain after acne blemishes heal.

  • Sponges, brushes, or other abrasive tools can irritate the skin. Avoid using them.

  • If you use soft sponges or cloths to apply your makeup, keep them clean.

Getting good results

Learning more about acne is the first step toward controlling this condition. Know that acne under treatment frequently gets worse initially before it improves. But with proper treatment and skin care, you can manage your acne and feel better about your skin.


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