Acne is almost a universal skincare problem. In the US alone, about 40 to 50 million people have acne at any one time, making it the most common skincare problem in the United States. Oftentimes, acne can occur during puberty, but anyone can have it at any age. There is a myriad of treatment options in the market. So, it’s kind of easy to fall into the rabbit hole of doing the common acne treatment mistakes that are spread from one friend to another.
When it comes to health concerns, even with what seems to be a tiny problem, it’s better to consult the advice of a dermatologist. In this article, we will explore some of the common acne treatment mistakes that are being passed on until now.
1. Squeezing Acne
The presence of acne on your face might just be so annoying that you just want to get rid of it by squeezing it off. However, as much as possible don’t do it because squeezing your acne can just lead to a scar or it can cause infection, or worsen your breakouts. Instead of squeezing acne, you can apply a warm compress on it to hasten the healing process. You can also do a spot treatment with products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, but just don’t use them too much since these ingredients can dry the skin.
2. Washing or Scrubbing Your Face Too Much
We know that it’s easy to believe that washing and scrubbing your face as often as possible can promote healing and help prevent acne since it’s cleansing after all. However, the truth is it can irritate the skin, and just worsen your skin condition. It’s also equally important to avoid acne scrubs that can cause inflammation, as well as cleansers that can remove the natural oils of your skin.
“When the skin is dry and inflamed, people find it harder to tolerate acne medications, and that’s ultimately counterproductive,” says Maral Skelsey, MD, director of dermatologic surgery at Georgetown University Medical Center.
A good rule of thumb is to wash the face not more than twice per day unless you are into sports or activities that make you sweat heavily. Moreover, swap your sudsy soaps and scrubs to a gentle cleanser in the morning and at night.
3. Avoiding Moisturizer
A lot of people are concerned about using moisturizer because of fear that it will just worsen their breakouts. On the contrary, putting on moisturizer is important since acne-prone skin can be dry, especially if you are using products that contain retinoids. The key to moisturizer, if you have acne-prone skin, is to buy a product that says “non-comedogenic,” which means it doesn’t clog your pores. Using a non-comedogenic moisturizer is important to help keep your skin healthy while you are treating your acne.
4. Ending the Treatment Too Soon
There are products that claim to remove acne overnight, but the thing is there is no quick fix for acne. Generally, it takes about 6 to 8 weeks before you can see significant improvement in your skin. And even if your face is already clear of that stubborn acne, experts suggest that you continue with your skincare regimen to prevent future breakouts. You can ask your dermatologist regarding the perfect time to stop using your acne products.
5. Skipping Sunscreen
If you have oily skin, you might not be comfortable with using sunscreens because of their grease-like effect on the skin. But there are actually sunscreens that are not sticky and more importantly that are non-comedogenic, so they can’t clog your pores and cause acne. Besides some acne medications are more likely to burn your skin. As such, it is really important to use sunscreen even if it’s cloudy or the sun isn’t out in the open. After all, sunscreens protect you from the sun’s UV rays (and not from its heat), which can pass through clouds.
You can look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or above, that are specially made for acne-prone skin. Apply it every day 30 minutes before sun exposure, and re-apply the same amount every two hours.
6. Too Much Time in the Sun
Let’s face it – soaking some morning sun is good for the skin. However, too much sunlight can lead to skin problems. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can worsen inflammation and redness on your face and can cause skin discoloration. “For many people, they will trigger acne, [especially] in patients who are taking photosensitizing antibiotics (doxycycline) or oral retinoids (Accutane),” says board-certified dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD.
It’s crucial to limit your sun exposure, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. And like what was said earlier, don’t forget to apply a non-comedogenic sunscreen and re-apply it every 2 hours.
7. Disregarding Dandruff
It may be easy to forget about dandruff since these flakes are not shouting for attention every time you look at yourself in the mirror. Nevertheless, you should not disregard the fact that dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis can trigger acne formation. Instead of waiting for it to go away, you can use fragrance-free dandruff shampoo that contains salicylic acid, zinc, or ketoconazole. Doing this won’t just help you get rid of these flakes, but it will also prevent future breakouts on your skin.
These seven tips might be very fundamental, and yes they really are. But, just like in treating any medical condition, you should first address the underlying cause before you can move further with the treatment regimen. And with acne, identifying these seven acne treatment mistakes and avoiding them in the future can be very helpful in improving the condition of your skin.