If you’ve ever worried about acne, you’re definitely not alone – many teens are concerned with keeping their skin clear. But with entire aisles of skin care products to pick from, it can be difficult to figure out what works best for your skin, and how to manage breakouts.
Our bodies do a lot of great things for us that we don’t even think about – including keeping our skin moisturized by releasing oils from thousands of hair follicles. During your teen years, your body naturally produces more oils when your hormones change. Sometimes your hair follicles get blocked with oil and dead skin, forming acne – usually white heads and black heads. These blocked follicles can also trap bacteria under the skin, and make acne red and inflamed.
A lot of people think the foods they eat make their skin break out. The truth is, eating pizza or chocolate or drinking sodas has no effect on your acne (though staying well hydrated may help!).
Things that do make your acne worse include:
- Picking or squeezing breakouts – this can push dirt and bacteria deeper into the skin!
- Scrubbing skin too hard or too often
- Leaving makeup on overnight
- Not washing your face after sports
- Caps, helmets and clothes that are too tight against the skin
- Using skin products (lotions, hair products or makeup) that are greasy
- Try noncomedogenic products (these won’t irritate acne!)
A good skin care routine followed for 4-6 weeks or longer is the best treatment. Your skin care products don’t have to cost you a fortune either.
For mild to moderate acne (think the occasional breakout, or some white and black heads) look for products available over the counter that contain either:
Body wash with benzoyl peroxide are good for acne on the chest or back. Ointments or creams are useful for “spot” treatments for occasional breakouts
Typically this is an “active ingredient” in face wash, but is also available in creams and ointments.
Both products can be drying, especially if used daily! Use ointments or creams sparingly, and make sure to moisturize your face with a noncomedogenic lotion with SPF 15.
Prescription ointments and antibiotics are sometimes needed for persistent or severe acne. Antibiotic ointments and washes can help treat bacteria that is trapped in the skin, making acne red and inflamed, or that has formed a cyst (a bump under the skin).
If you’re concerned about acne, know you’re not alone! When your skin isn’t looking its best, it can be hard for you to feel your best. If over-the-counter products aren’t working, make an appointment – we’ll help you find a routine that works best for your skin.