You can reduce your acne by following these skin care tips from dermatologists.
- Wash twice a day and after sweating. Perspiration, especially when wearing a hat or helmet, can make acne worse, so wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating.
- Use your fingertips to apply a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser. Using a washcloth, mesh sponge, or anything else can irritate the skin.
- Be gentle with your skin. Use gentle products, such as those that are alcohol-free. Do not use products that irritate your skin, which may include astringents, toners and exfoliants. Dry, red skin makes acne appear worse.
- Scrubbing your skin can make acne worse. Avoid the temptation to scrub your skin.
- Rinse with lukewarm water.
- Shampoo regularly. If you have oily hair, shampoo daily.
- Let your skin heal naturally. If you pick, pop or squeeze your acne, your skin will take longer to clear and you increase the risk of getting acne scars.
- Keep your hands off your face. Touching your skin throughout the day can cause flare-ups.
- Stay out of the sun and tanning beds. Tanning damages you skin. In addition, some acne medications make the skin very sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) light, which you get from both the sun and indoor tanning devices.
- Using tanning beds increases your risk for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75%.
- Consult a dermatologist if:
- Your acne makes you shy or embarrassed.
- The products you’ve tried have not worked.
- Your acne is leaving scars or darkening your skin.
Today, virtually every case of acne can be successfully treated. Dermatologists can help treat existing acne, prevent new breakouts and reduce your chance of developing scars. If you have questions or concerns about caring for your skin, you should make an appointment to see a dermatologist.
For many people who have acne, the skin disease affects more than their appearance. Acne can take a toll on one’s emotional health. Researchers have found in study after study that people with acne can also develop:
- Low self-esteem
- Poor self-image
- Decreased quality of life
- A feeling of being all alone
If you’re wondering how acne could cause these problems, you only have to read Jill’s story.
Acne made Jill’s college days difficult
Jill had typical teenage acne, but what happened during her second year of college completely surprised her. Large, painful acne cysts and nodules began appearing on her face. She tried treating them with acne treatments that she could buy at the store. Nothing worked. Desperate for help, Jill went to her student health center.
Because Jill’s acne was severe, she was given a prescription for an antibiotic. This is often the first treatment given to a patient with severe acne. A dermatologist also injected medication into a few of her most painful cysts to help clear them. The treatment helped for a few days. Then her acne flared.
Her doctor prescribed antibiotic after antibiotic. Nothing worked. She felt devastated, and said that she just wished she could wear a veil.
By this time, Jill felt that she couldn’t face people. She quit her job, which she needed to help support herself.
She did stay in school, but it was difficult. “Somehow, I managed to continue my studies,” she said. But friendships and extracurricular activities suffered. The acne left her feeling too stressed and withdrawn. She felt alone.
Jill finally got relief from her acne when she saw a dermatologist who prescribed a medication used to treat severe acne. The isotretinoin got her acne under control, but by this time, she had permanent scars and discoloured skin.
After graduating, Jill moved back home. She didn’t start looking for a job. Instead, she asked her parents if they would pay for surgery to treat her acne scars.
After having cosmetic surgery, Jill said, “My skin is nowhere near as clear as before, but for the first time in over a year, I felt somewhat normal in appearance.” This feeling allowed her to get on with her life. Jill was able to get a job and start her career.
Mild or severe acne can cause emotional pain
Jill’s story isn’t unique. Every day, dermatologists see the devastating effects that acne can have on someone’s life.
Bullying can occur. Other kids may hurl names like “crater face” at their classmates with widespread acne. This bullying can cause self-esteem to plummet. It can cause teens to feel so upset that they want to be alone. They may make few friends.
In research studies, people with acne have said that their skin makes them feel unattractive, embarrassed, or self-conscious. These feelings can cause some teens to avoid trying out for sports, getting a part-time job, or participating in class.
Some people say that having acne makes them feel on edge.
Acne and adolescent girls
Studies show that teenage girls suffer significant distress from acne, which makes many feel unattractive.
Even mild acne can affect one’s emotional health. This is especially true for teenage girls. In studies, teen girls often say that acne makes them feel unattractive.
Given that acne can lead to such experiences and feelings, it’s not surprising that researchers have found that people with acne often develop depression or anxiety.
Early treatment can prevent emotional distress, acne scars
Studies show that the longer acne lasts, the more likely it is to affect one’s emotions. Without treatment, acne can also worsen. If acne becomes severe, as it did for Jill, scars can appear as the acne clears.
Early treatment can prevent these problems. It can clear the skin and prevent acne from worsening. Some people need to continue treating their skin to prevent breakouts. For most people that’s probably a lot easier than dealing with the emotional distress and permanent acne scars.