Tips for Treating Acne and Oily Skin

5 Tips to Banish Breakouts and Oily Skin

With oily skin and acne, you're probably not always in love with your skin. But oily skin isn't all bad. One bonus: Your skin will be less prone to wrinkling.

Still, oily skin and acne can be frustrating. With the right care, you can beat oily skin, treat your acne, and learn to embrace your skin type.

Cleanse your face at least twice a day.

5 treatments for oily skin
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The best way to keep oil from building up is to cleanse your face regularly. Always wash your face twice a day, both morning and night. No exceptions!

Another hint: choose a foaming cleanser over a cream-based one. Foaming cleansers generally do a much better job cleansing away oil and leave your skin feeling fresh and clean.

You should also cleanse your face (and body, if body breakouts are a problem) after you sweat, like after gym class or work out.  If soap and water aren't immediately available, keep a stash of premoistened cleansing cloths in your bag to give your skin a wipe-down. 

Beware of over-cleansing, though. Too much cleansing can irritate your skin.  And since acne isn't caused by an oily or dirty face, just washing more frequently isn't going to clear breakouts.


Use an astringent.

An astringent is another good way to control oil. Astringents are toners that are made especially for oily skin types.

Using a cotton ball or pad, apply your astringent over the entire face and neck area after cleansing.  They're also great to use between washings to clean away excess oil and get rid of oily shine that appears during the day.

Some astringents contain ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids or salicylic acid that can help clear breakouts, too. But you don't need a fancy brand. Even simple witch hazel works to remove excess oil, and it's super cheap (about a dollar for 16 ounces).

Think oil-free and water-based skin care products.

Obviously, you don't want to put more oil onto your skin. All skincare products you apply to your face should be oil-free and noncomedogenic.  This is especially true for leave-on products like moisturizers, sunscreen, and makeup.

For your acne medications, you'll probably prefer water-based products over heavier creams and ointments.  Acne treatment gels and solutions feel lighter on the skin.

Don't scrub at your skin.

Those of us with oily skin seem especially conditioned to scrubbing away, and it can be a hard habit to break. After all, won't scrubbing at the skin help deep-clean the pores, clear acne and reduce oiliness?

Surprisingly, no. Rubbing the skin with abrasive scrubs, pads, or washcloths won't make your skin less oily and won't improve acne. It will irritate the skin, though.

Oily or not, be kind to your skin and treat it gently.


Understand your pores.

Large pores and oily skin seem to go hand in hand. Often, enlarged pores are just as frustrating and upsetting as acne itself.

Instead of spending big bucks on salon products promising to shrink large pores, focus on using your acne treatments. Many of these medications, like topical retinoids, for example, make large pores appear smaller while clearing acne. So you're improving the look of your pores while treating acne.

Be patient, though. Just like all good things, improvement takes time. And don't hesitate to call your dermatologist if you need help.

Next steps:

How To Care for Your Acne-Prone Skin

Create Your Own Acne-Busting Skin Care Regimen

Choose the Right Acne Treatment for You


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