A Field Guide to Acne Treatment

Be careful about your makeup.
Makeup pads can harbor bacteria (like the bacteria that cause acne), and should be changed regularly. Be sure that your makeup is labeled non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic. This means that the makeup won’t clog your pores. Most cheap makeup is not non-comedogenic. Some women find that even non-comedogenic makeup aggravates their acne.

Tips for Everyone:

Take a picture, or several.
Having your picture taken can be uncomfortable if you have acne, but it’s the best way to track your progress. Date your photographs, and write down what you’re currently doing to take care of your face. Be sure to take later photos under the same lighting conditions. Be wary of photographing under yellowish tungsten lights: you’ll need accurate color to tell whether redness is clearing up. If you’re seeing a dermatologist, photographs can be a valuable tool for him or her as well.

Think back.
There are many factors that influence your skin, and not all of them are related to what you’re using to treat acne. If you’ve got a breakout, think back, and consider any changes in your routine that might be responsible for it.

Don’t give up.
Zits can cause permanent scarring. If your acne bothers you, treat it! There’s no reason to wait until you “grow out of it.” Acne is common in adolescents, but many people find that their acne doesn’t clear up with age. There are many remedies available: home remedies, over-the-counter treatments, and prescription treatments. If you are unsure of where to start, talk to your local pharmacist or family doctor, or make an appointment with a dermatologist. If you have severe acne, don’t hesitate to get it professionally treated.

Be skeptical.
The Internet is the world’s biggest platform for snake-oil salesmen. A legitimate treatment will have been tested in published trials or studies. When in doubt, contact your pharmacist or doctor. Use common sense as a measuring stick for alternative treatments: if it sounds dangerous, implausible, or strange, stay away.

Be consistent.
There is no cure for acne, although a few prescription treatments have long-lasting benefits. Most treatments require regular use to continue to be effective. Zits can take a while to form. Treating acne requires some patience and persistence.