Acne sufferers have long understood the stigma that comes with breakouts. Even mild cases of acne can negatively affect your self-esteem and make you self-conscious about your appearance. With so many products and treatment protocols flooding the market, it can be challenging to figure out the best course of action for your specific skincare needs. Read on for more information about how you can most effectively treat your acne.

Acne Facts

In order to treat acne, it is important that you are able to separate the truth from the myths. These seven key truths will help to guide your treatment protocol.

1. It's Not Just You

Affecting 40 to 50 million Americans, acne is the most common skin condition in the country. While the condition usually begins during the teen years, it is not uncommon for adults to also struggle with breakouts. According to the Academy of Dermatology, about 20 percent of adults between the ages of 25 and 44 also experience acne in a variety of forms.

2. It's Caused By Oil, Not Bad Hygiene 

Although acne presents in varying degrees, there is one major way that it forms. The root of the problem is the oil glands in the skin overproducing sebum that then mix with dead skin cells. This combination blocks pores and hair follicles. The blockage leads to the development of bacteria that causes acne flareups.

3. Other Factors That Contribute to Acne

Even though it is bacteria that cause the breakouts, outside factors can exasperate the problem. These triggers include heredity, hormones, and environmental factors. Lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise also influence your chances of developing acne. Other issues that may compound the skin problems are dirty cell phones, pillowcases, and other items that may harbor bacteria and oil.

4. Washing Your Face Too Much is a Bad Thing

Many acne sufferers make the mistake of thinking that washing your face a lot will get rid of the acne. On the contrary, too much cleansing and exfoliation can actually make the problem worse. Too much of a good thing can irritate the skin and cause it to produce more oil. It is better to stick with a proven morning and nighttime cleansing and moisturizing routine supplemented with the appropriate acne medication.

5. Food Isn't Causing Your Breakouts

There is no need to stop eating chocolate, pizza, or french fries. Specific foods have never been proven to cause acne. You should instead focus on staying hydrated and taking in the right nutrients for optimal overall health.

6. Choose the Right Acne and Skincare Products

It is important to choose your beauty products carefully so that you do not aggravate any predispositions to acne. Makeup and other beauty treatments containing mineral oils will clog pores and cause breakouts. Instead, it is important to select products that are noncomedogenic or that are oil-free.

Over the Counter Options

Fortunately, because acne is so well-researched, there are a variety of techniques that you can incorporate into your daily skin care routine:

1. Wash Your Face

Washing your face regularly is the first line of defense in the fight against acne. Although you do not want to over-do it and strip the skin of essential moisture, it is important to watch your face each morning and again at night. Be sure to use a gentle facial cleanser that will not lead to further skin irritation.

2. Exfoliate

After you have washed thoroughly, it is recommended to exfoliate with a product containing salicylic acid. Also known as beta hydroxy acid (BHA), salicylic acid helps to slough away dead skin cells so that pores do not become clogged. The strength of the salicylic acid has the power to dig deep into the pore and reduce breakouts.

3. Avoid Overly Thick or Greasy Products

Although it is important to institute a regular moisturizing routine, you need to be careful to not use products that are overly greasy or thick. Products that contain oil will only make the problem worse. Instead, look for moisturizers formulated for oily skin.

4. Try an Oil Absorbing Mask

Another useful product to have on hand is an oil-reducing mask. These treatments work by absorbing excess oil to reduce the incidences of blackhead breakouts. The products also remove excess sebum that makes existing nose blackheads worse.

5.  Rinse off Makeup

We have all been tempted to just fall into bed at the end of a busy day without taking the time to wash off your makeup. It goes without saying that not washing off these products from your face can lead to a host of acne problems. Not only will the oily products remain on your face overnight, but they will also transfer to the pillowcase and cause further irritation.

6. Remove Sunscreen

Just as you need to thoroughly wash makeup products from your face, sunscreen also needs to be stripped off when you are no longer outside. The ingredients in sunscreen often contain excess oil that will lead to breakouts when it penetrates into your pores.

7. Don't Pick Your Skin

It is important to resist the urge to pick at your face. Although you might think that you are doing a good job at popping the pimples, what you are actually doing is introducing even more dirt and oil to your face through your fingertips. Picking at acne can also lead to further irritation and redness.

When to See a Dermatologist

Although most people have struggled with acne flareups at one point or another, not all cases necessitate a trip to the dermatologist. You should consult the help of a professional if you have exhausted all of the over the counter options. If none of these products have helped to mitigate the acne, you likely need to use products that are only available through prescription.

It is also a good idea to visit with a dermatologist if the acne is severe enough that it is negatively affecting your self-esteem and leaving you with a feeling of helplessness in treating the breakouts. Lastly, it is absolutely imperative to consult with a professional immediately if your acne issues are leaving you feeling suicidal.

What to Try If You Can’t See a Dermatologist

Not everyone has the financial means necessary to afford a dermatologist and some of the more costly solutions. Curology is a great choice for those looking for a customized skincare product that is engineered for specific needs. Each product uses prescription-only ingredients to treat both acne and skin aging. Every customized product contains three active ingredients to treat the individual and their needs.

Regardless of if you suffer from acne, wrinkles, dark spots, or clogged pores, Curology can devise a treatment for your exact skin care needs. Best of all, board-certified dermatologists prescribe each individual formulation. Curology users also enjoy 24-7 access to a trained dermatologist. This budget-friendly option is an ideal choice for those wanting affordable access to skin care products.