What You Should Not Do to Acne-Prone Skin

4 things you should never do when caring for acne-prone skin

Good skin care is a critical part of your acne treatment routine. You know what to do to care for your skin, but do you know what you should not do? Don't sabotage your treatment routine by making these acne skin care mistakes.

Don't Pop Pimples

Skin Care Don'ts
Peter Dazeley Collection/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Sure, you may be able to extract some gunk from a pimple but a whole lot more is happening under the skin's surface.

When a pimple is squeezed, the follicle wall is put under intense pressure. If the wall bursts, infected material spills from the pore and into the dermis.

Even if you get some pus out of the pimple, more damage is being done to the skin.  That's why the pimple often ends up looking worse, redder and inflamed after you've popped it.   

Worse, you also run the risk of scarring. So don't pop, squeeze, or otherwise pick at your blemishes.

Don't Scrub Your Breakouts

It seems we're all tempted to scrub at our breakouts. But blemishes can't be scrubbed away. Scrubbing doesn't prevent pimples from forming either.

In fact, too much scrubbing can cause irritation, redness, and inflammation. In short, scrubbing can make your acne look and feel a whole lot worse.

Remember, your skin is a sensitive organ and should be treated gently. This means no ultra-gritty scrubs, abrasive cleansing pads, or fiercely rubbing at your skin with a washcloth.

Instead, wash your skin with mild soap or cleanser using just your fingers or a soft cloth. Those electric facial cleansing brushes are OK, provided the bristles are soft and they don't irritate your skin.

Don't Use Too Many Treatment Products at Once, or Apply Them Too Often

Even though it is tempting, slathering on topical medications on numerous times every day won't clear acne faster. But it will leave your skin super dry and irritated.

Use multiple acne treatments at once (for example, salicylic acid lotion, on top of benzoyl peroxide cream, on top of Retin A gel) and you'll also run the risk of over-drying and irritating your skin.  

Don't layer products on your skin. Instead, space applications throughout the day -- like using your salicylic acid cleanser in the morning, benzoyl peroxide lotion at night. If you notice any irritation, scale back use to every other day or drop the second product altogether.

If you are using prescription acne medications, never use an additional acne product without first getting your doctor's OK.  Certain acne medications shouldn't be used together.  For instance, benzoyl peroxide will inactivate Retin-A (tretinoin) when applied together.  And if you use it on top of Aczone (dapsone) it can turn your skin orange (albeit temporarily).

Don't Ignore Acne – It Can Be Treated!

Acne can be cleared, and there are treatment options that can help.

If acne is mild, you have just a few random pimples and blackheads, you can first try an over-the-counter treatment.  

But if you try OTC acne treatments for several weeks and you're not seeing results, make an appointment with your doctor. Your dermatologist has plenty of prescription medications just for clearing acne.

So don't wait to see if acne will go away on its own. You may be surprised at the treatment options available.  So, put in a call to your dermatologist.  The sooner you start treatment, the sooner you'll see improvement.

Was this page helpful?