Acne Care Dos and Don’ts

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We always hear “It’s what’s inside that counts” and “Beauty is only superficial.” “

Yes, our character – what’s inside – is more meaningful, but if you’re struggling with skin issues like acne, blackheads, and cysts, it can keep you from feeling like your confident and outgoing self.

While anyone can have acne, its severity can vary from person to person and can be affected by factors such as genetics and hormonal changes.

And for some, it can affect more than their appearance. Mild to severe acne can contribute to mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and poor self-image. Studies show that the longer acne lasts, the more it can affect emotions.

If you have mild to severe acne, don’t let that get you down, said Trevor Thompson, MD, dermatologist at Banner Health Center in Peoria, Arizona. Take control of your acne.

Dr. Thompson came to our rescue with nine dos and don’ts to help say goodbye to acne and let your personality shine through.

1. USE a mild, non-abrasive cleanser

Wash your face with a mild cleanser, such as Cetaphil, and Hot water once or twice a day, especially after exercising or sweating.

“Basic skin care is a good place to start, but if you’re still having acne symptoms and your skin isn’t too dry, consider trying a mild acne cleanser that contains salicylic acid or a slightly stronger benzoyl peroxide (3-4%), “said Dr. Thompson.” For many people, higher concentrations of benzoyl peroxide can cause more skin irritation, so be careful.”

2. Do not overdo the washing of the face

It might seem intuitive that washing your face more can help get rid of those pesky pimples and blackheads, but you can just make it worse.

“Remember not to over wash as this can strip your skin’s natural oils and sometimes leave your skin feeling tight, red and dry,” Dr. Thompson said. “Instead, just wash yourself in the morning, at night, and after you sweat.”

3. MONITOR your sun exposure

You might also have believed at one time or another that going out in the sun can help dry out your acne.

While there is some evidence that vitamin D (which you can get from the sun and some foods) has antimicrobial properties and can help reduce inflammation, too much time in the sun is not good for acne or your skin. In fact, it can put you at an increased risk of sun damage or worse, skin cancer. If your exposure to the sun is limited, such as during the winter months, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D in your diet or through supplements.

Certain acne medications can also make you more sensitive to the sun. You will want to check if your acne medication includes warnings.

If you will be outside, wear a wide-brimmed hat and soft, breathable fabrics to cover your vulnerable skin, and ask your doctor which sunscreen is best for you.

4. DON’T be cruel to your skin

“A gentle approach to skin care is generally preferred for most harsher exfoliating products that can cause more skin irritation,” Dr. Thompson said.

He shared a few things you should try to avoid:

  • Products that irritate your skin, such as astringents, tonics, and exfoliators
  • Rub or rub vigorously
  • Touch or put your hands on your face
  • Squeezing, picking, and popping frequently (this can just lead to skin inflammation, discoloration, and risk of scarring)

5. WATCH what you eat and drink

While that chocolate bar and burger won’t cause your acne, a poor diet won’t help it. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day and eating a balanced diet rich in lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. Avoid consuming sugary or artificially sweetened drinks and limit sugars and carbohydrates in your diet.

“It’s interesting that increased consumption of milk, especially skimmed milk, can make acne worse, so limiting your intake of dairy products may also help,” Dr. Thompson said.

6. DO NOT cover or conceal acne with cosmetics.

“Be careful about using makeup to hide your blemishes,” Dr. Thompson advised. “Many people with problematic acne use cosmetics to try and cover up acne, but more makeup can block pores, resulting in more acne, creating a vicious cycle. Try to limit the amount you use. and wash it gently if possible.

If you prefer to wear makeup, consider mineral makeup, preferably powder, and remember to wash your makeup brushes and sponges regularly to prevent the build-up of oil and bacteria.

7. Clean your phone

Our smartphones are almost like another appendage of our body these days, especially for tweens and teens. While technology abuse is a whole different topic that we discussed, your phone can also harbor bacteria, including those that contribute to acne. Make sure to disinfect your phone regularly.

8. Don’t overexamine your skin

Warning: Objects (i.e. your acne and pores) may be larger than they appear. Be careful with mirrors, especially makeup mirrors that are too enlarged.

“No one’s skin looks ‘normal’ at this level of magnification,” said Dr. Thompson. “These types of mirrors often cause people to spend more time picking, squeezing and damaging their skin.”

9. SEE a dermatologist

Don’t let acne keep you from putting your best face forward. If you or a family member has any concerns, challenges, or issues with your skin, controlling acne or cystic lesions, make an appointment with a dermatologist.

“The severity of acne can be related to genetics, while others may just have more problems with acne,” Dr. Thompson said. “Whether you are a teenager or an adult with acne, a dermatologist can provide you with additional ideas, advice or prescription treatments and can help you build a strong skin care regimen. Dermatologists are here to help.

To find a Dermatologist Health Banner near you, visit

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The MIND BODY SOUL section is made possible by Thumb Butte Medical Center, the Quad Cities-only multi-specialty medical clinics with locations in Prescott, Prescott Valley, and Chino Valley, AZ.

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