Caring for Your Acne-Prone Skin

6 Simple Tips to Help Care for Your Acne-Prone Skin the Right Way

A good daily skin care routine is important for everyone, but especially so when we have acne.

Learn how to properly care for your skin and get the most out of your acne treatments.

Cleanse your skin the right way.

Young woman cleansing her face.
Photo: Michael H / DigitalVision / Getty Images

The backbone of your skin care routine has to be a good cleansing. Thorough cleansing keeps the skin free of excess oil, dirt, sweat, and makeup, and leaves a nice, clean base for your acne treatment products.

But good cleansing goes beyond just soap and water.  First, you have to start off with the right cleanser for your skin -- nothing too harsh or drying.  (Antibacterial soaps aren't a good choice for just this reason.)

For most people, a twice-daily cleansing is the goal.  Make sure you don't forget to wash your face before bed!

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Exfoliation is key.

Man scrubbing his back with a loofah.
Photo: PNC / Getty Images

In order to fight acne you need to hit it where it starts: in the pore.  Exfoliation is how you can do this.

Regular exfoliation helps to keep the pores free of excess skin cells and oil.  Exfoliation removes dead skin cell buildup, reduces the formation of comedones, and helps smooth and soften the skin.

Grainy face and body scrubs immediately come to mind, but they might not be the best exfoliating products for acne-prone skin.  Scrubs can irritate the skin if you're not using them gently.

You might not need a separate exfoliating product, though.  Many acne treatment products, both over-the-counter and prescription, have exfoliating properties already. 

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Toning is nice, but might not be necessary for your skin.

Toners and astringents are skin care product that many people incorporate into their daily skin care routine.  Used after cleansing, they can leave your skin feeling fresh.  

Astringent products are especially designed to remove extra oil from the skin.  Some also contain blemish-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid. 

But toners aren't a necessary skin care product. Deciding to use one, or not, depends on many factors.  If your skin is sensitive, dry, or irritated from your acne treatments, toners and astringents may do more harm than good.

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Moisturizing helps fight acne-treatment dryness.

Many people with oily skin steer clear of moisturizers. But moisturizing can be a good thing, even if you're acne-prone.

A good, oil-free moisturizer won't trigger breakouts, but will help ease dryness, flakiness, and peeling.  And, let's be real, acne treatments can completely dry out your skin!

The trick is choosing the right moisturizer for your blemish-prone skin.  One that is labeled noncomedogenic is your best bet.

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Protect your skin from the sun.

Last but certainly not least, your skin needs to be protected from the sun.  Sunscreen prevents more than just sunburn -- it reduces your chance of developing premature lines and wrinkles, dark spots, and skin cancer.

There are plenty of good sunscreens out there today that aren't heavy or greasy, and won't clog your pores and make acne worse.  Since many acne medications make your skin more sensitive to the sun, wearing sunscreen daily is extra important for good skin health.

And don't think sunscreen is just for summertime skin care.  Dermatologists recommend wearing sunscreen year-round for the best protection.  That means your wintertime skin care routine should include sunscreen too!

The skin is affected by heat and humidity of the summer, or cold, dry wintertime air. Making just a few adjustments in your skin care routine can help keep your skin looking and feeling good all year round.

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Create your own blemish-busting skin care routine.

Skin Care Basics
Oppenheim Bernhard Collection/Stone/Getty Images

Controlling acne relies on a two-pronged approach: proper treatment medications and a consistent daily skin care routine. Your skin care regimen doesn't have to take a lot of time, just a few minutes twice a day.

You can create your own blemish-busting skin care routine with just a few simple products: a cleanser, acne-fighting medication, moisturizer and sunscreen.  Maybe add in an exfoliating product and a toner, and you're good to go.

If you need help creating the right skin care regimen for you, ask your dermatologist for their input.

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