While people of all ages can experience acne breakouts, this skin condition is most common in teenagers. Acne, also called pimples, zits or blemishes, is caused by the skin’s overproduction of oil in response to the hormonal changes of adolescence. Left untreated, your teenage acne may cause scarring and emotional distress, making it important to begin treatment right away.
Wash your acne-prone areas two times each day using a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser that doesn’t contain alcohol. Washing too often can irritate your skin and lead to additional breakouts. Use your fingertips to massage the cleanser gently over your damp skin. Splash lukewarm water over your skin, removing all traces of your cleanser. Pat your skin dry with a soft, clean towel.
Keep your hair clean and away from your face, especially if you experience acne breakouts over your forehead, near your temples and around your hairline. Use a gentle shampoo to wash your hair daily. Avoid using hair cream, gel, mousse and spray on the areas surrounding your face.
Apply an over-the-counter acne lotion to the areas of your skin that tend to break out in pimples, including your chin, forehead, nose, chest, shoulders and upper back. Choose a product that contains benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or sulfur. Follow the instructions when applying the product, keeping it away from your eye area.
Use noncomedogenic or water-based skin care products on your acne-prone skin. Apply your noncomedogenic sunscreen every time you go outdoors. Choose makeup products that don’t contain oils. Remove your skin care products and makeup prior to going to bed.
Keep your hands away from your skin. Avoid picking, squeezing or scratching your pimples. Don’t rest your face on your hands or other objects, such as telephone receivers.
Schedule an appointment with your family doctor or dermatologist if you have stubborn or persistent acne. While proper skin care can treat and prevent mild breakouts, some cases require prescription medications, such as oral antibiotics and topical isotretinoin. Ask about combination treatments that use oral medications in conjunction with topical products. Your doctor may recommend a cosmetic procedure, such as dermabrasion or laser therapy, for severe cases of acne.