Skin Care Tips for Acne

What you can do to help yourself

Look after your skin

  • Wash your face gently using a mild cleanser, once in the morning and once in the evening, as well as after heavy exercise. Wash from under the jaw to the hairline, and rinse thoroughly.
  • Consider using a cleanser designed for people with acne. But avoid strong soaps or rough scrubs because these can make the problem worse. Don’t use astringents unless your skin is very oily, and then only on oily spots.
  • Men who have acne and shave should try both electric and safety razors to see which is more comfortable. Shave gently and only when necessary, to reduce the risk of nicking skin lesions.
  • Try not to pick or squeeze your spots as this usually aggravates them and may cause scarring.
  • Wash your hair regularly – every day if it is oily.
  • If you wear makeup, use oil-free, water-based make-up and choose products that are labelled as being ‘non-comedogenic’ (this means they should not cause blackheads or whiteheads) or non-acnegenic (should not cause acne). Remove your makeup at night with mild soap or a gentle cleanser and water.
  • Be careful in the sun. Many of the treatments for acne can make you more prone to sunburn. Limit the time you spend in the sun and use an effective sun block.

Get effective treatment

  • It is important to take action to control acne as soon as it appears. This helps to avoid permanent scarring and reduces its impact on you.
  • If your acne is mild, it is worth trying over the counter preparations in the first instance. Ask a pharmacist if you want advice on products.
  • If your acne is moderate or severe – or if you develop nodules or cysts – see your doctor.

Use your acne treatment correctly

  • Make sure that use your acne correctly so you get maximum benefit. Follow the instructions on the pack.
  • Be patient and keep using your acne treatment regularly, as some treatments take several weeks before you see much improvement.
  • Some topical treatments may dry or irritate the skin when you start using them. Using an oil-free moisturiser should help, but some people have to cut down on the frequency and/or duration with which they apply treatments.

Keep healthy

  • Eat a healthy diet. There is little evidence that any foods cause acne but it may be sensible for you to avoid foods that you think make your acne worse.
  • Take regular exercise. Some people with acne feel awkward about using communal changing rooms, or wearing a swimming costume because of their spots. But exercise will help to keep you healthy