13 Tips For At-Home Acne Prevention

  1. Cleanse twice daily if possible with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or a gentle cleanser.
  2. Wash off makeup! Use of pore plugging ingredients such as oils, petrolatum, and lanolin found in cosmetics can cause acne cosmetica. If you use makeup, sunscreen or other facial products, the most important thing you can do to prevent an acne flare is to wash your face before bed.
  3. Exfoliate (gently!) to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores (e.g. Clarisonic or Clinique brushes, or similar devices).
  4. Use OTC or prescription retinoid at bedtime. With regular use, retinoids, which are vitamin A derivatives, help unclog pores.
  5. Keep hair off your face and other acne prone areas like your back and chest. Hair oils can aggravate acne.
  6. Stay cool! Excessive heat (e.g. hair dryers) can worsen acne.
  7. Get some quality R&R and 8-hrs of sleep. Stress and sleep deprivation worsen acne by increasing steroid hormones.
  8. Eat well, exercise, and stay hydrated. Insulin resistance is associated with acne.
  9. Change your pillowcase at least weekly.
  10. Sleep on your back. Occlusion makes acne worse
  11. Do not pop your pimples. This can worsen inflammation and lead to scarring.
  12. Use sunscreen to prevent dark acne scars from getting darker.
  13. Don’t be too aggressive with acne products. You can actually make acne worse!

If nothing seems to work, open a dialogue with your dermatologist early on to control acne inflammation. Left untreated, inflammatory acne can result in undesired discoloration and permanent scarring, for which there are few effective remedies such as laser resurfacing, fillers, and steroid injections. Your treatment plan should fit with your lifestyle and be manageable at home.

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