Question and answer

Once your acne improves, you may need to continue your acne medication or other treatment to prevent new breakouts. You might need to use a topical medication on acne-prone areas, continue taking oral contraceptives or attend ongoing light therapy sessions. Talk to your doctor about how you can keep your skin clear.

You can also use these acne-prevention tips:

  • Wash acne-prone areas only twice a day. Washing removes excess oil and dead skin cells. But too much washing can irritate the skin. Wash affected areas with a gentle cleanser and use oil-free, water-based skin care products.
  • Use an over-the-counter acne cream or gel to help dry excess oil. Look for products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid as the active ingredient.
  • Use nonoily makeup. Choose oil-free cosmetics that won't clog pores (noncomedogenics).
  • Remove makeup before going to bed. Going to sleep with cosmetics on your skin can clog your pores. Also, it's a good idea to throw out old makeup and regularly clean your cosmetic brushes and applicators with soapy water.
  • Wear loosefitting clothing. Tightfitting clothing traps heat and moisture and can irritate your skin. When possible, avoid tightfitting straps, backpacks, helmets, hats and sports equipment to prevent friction against your skin.
  • Shower after strenuous activities. Oil and sweat on your skin can lead to breakouts.
  • Avoid touching or picking at the problem areas. Doing so can trigger more acne.