Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States.
Not that this is much comfort to teenagers and young adults who battle blemishes with everything from diet changes to prescription medications.
Here's the good news: Acne can often be reduced with simple changes to your skin care routine.
What you DON'T want to do if you have acne is to scrub your skin or use harsh products. Doing either of these can actually make the acne worse. Instead, be gentle when touching your skin and always use alcohol-free products, advises dermatologist Amanda Friedrichs, M.D. of Sycamore, Illinois.
Dr. Friedrichs offers these seven tips to zap the zits:
1. Wash your face twice a day and after sweating.
Perspiration, especially when wearing a hat or helmet, can make acne worse, so wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating.
2. Use your fingertips to apply a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser.
Using a washcloth, mesh sponge or anything else can irritate the skin. Do not use skin care products that irritate the skin, which may include astringents, toners and exfoliants. Dry, red skin makes acne appear worse.
3. Rinse with lukewarm water.
While hot water will open your pores, which is good for cleaning, it will also make the blood vessels in your skin dilate and become red, which isn't conducive to getting rid of the acne.
4. Shampoo regularly.
If you have oily hair, shampoo daily.
5. Let your skin heal naturally.
If you pick, pop or squeeze your acne, your skin will take longer to clear and you increase your risk of getting acne scars.
6. Keep your hands off your face.
Touching your skin throughout the day can cause flare-ups.
7. Stay out of the sun and tanning beds.
Tanning damages your skin. In addition, some acne medications make the skin very sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) light, which you get from both the sun and indoor tanning devices. Even more serious, using tanning beds increases your risk for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75 percent, and the risk increases with each use.
--From the Editors at Netscape