The Cleveland Clinic

Skin Care for Acne-Prone Skin

Acne may have started in your teen years, that time when age and hormones meet to cause those awful breakouts. Or, you may have begun experiencing acne breakouts in your adult years.

Either way, many people find acne bothersome or embarrassing. To reduce acne and its damage to your skin, follow these tips.

  • Choose a cleanser specially formulated for acne. These products often contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which help to clear acne sores.
  • Clean your face gently, as trauma to the acne breakouts may worsen the acne or cause scarring. When washing your face, use your hands, as any terrycloth or other scrubbing material may cause acne sores to rupture.
  • When you sleep at night, make sure you are sleeping on a clean pillowcase and that you are the only person using your pillowcase. Pillowcases absorb traces of oil during the night, and can aggravate breakouts if not changed regularly.
  • If you have longer hair, make sure to pull it back when you sleep at night. The oil in your hair can aggravate your skin as well.
  • If you need to use a moisturizer, use only light, non-comedogenic moisturizers, which do not aggravate acne. There are oil-free moisturizers on the market that contain anti-bacterial agents for acne-prone skin. This type of product may be your best option.
  • If you are a woman, use an oil-free foundation. Heavy makeup or other cosmetic products that block pores may cause a flare-up of acne.

Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Department of Dermatology.

Edited by Michael W. Smith, MD, April 2003, WebMD.


Portions of this page © The Cleveland Clinic 2000-2003.


Last Editorial Review: 1/31/2005 6:16:13 AM




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