How to Reduce Acne Breakouts

by Margo Benjamin ; Updated July 18, 2017

Two teenagers talking - one pointing to acne.

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Acne breakouts can be both embarrassing and painful. Affecting between 17 and 45 million people, acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. Acne, commonly referred to as pimples, is caused by clogged pores as a result of oily buildup and bacteria. Having clear skin can give you an extra boost of confidence and higher self-esteem. By taking the right preventative measures and treatment, acne can be reduced, helping you to achieve clearer, more radiant skin.

Select cosmetics and skin care products that are oil-free. These products should be non-comedogenic or water-based, and some may say "won't clog pores". Continue using oil-free products even after your acne has cleared up to reduce the chances of future breakouts.

Apply an acne product to skin that has been freshly cleansed. After cleansing, wait 10 to 15 minutes before applying the product if the product causes is any stinging.

Use an over-the-counter product containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. These products work by reducing oil that is produced by the skin's oil gland. Gel solutions are best for oily skin types, while lotions and creams are better for dry skin types.

Gently cleanse skin twice a day using a mild cleanser and rinse with warm water. Do not use wash cloths or cleansing puffs, which may be too harsh. Cleansing should be done with your hands, as scrubbing the skin will irritate it leading to breakouts.

Apply acne products to the entire affected area, and not just the blemishes. Put a few dabs of product on the skin and gently spread it around. This will increase the effectiveness of the product.

Shampoo your hair more frequently if your hair is oily. Oil can travel up the hair shaft, clogging your pores, and leading to breakouts. You should continue to wash your hair frequently even after your acne has cleared up.

Keep your hands off of your face. Do not squeeze, pop or pick at pimples. This can cause your skin to not only become irritated and make your acne worse, but can also lead to scarring.

Tips

  • If your acne does not clear up, go see a dermatologist to find out more clearly what is going on with your skin.

    Keep acne wipes in your purse, locker or gym bag to cleanse your face of sweat after workouts or on hot days.

Photo Credits

  • CandyBoxImages/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Margo Benjamin has been writing since 1999. She currently writes for various websites. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Georgia State University and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in finance from Strayer University.