The Do’s and Don’ts of Living with Acne

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  1. Swelling
    • Do: Reduce swelling by applying ice for a minute or two. Remove before it irritates the skin.
    • Don’t: Squeeze pimples. Even though it may look “ready” to burst, squeezing pimples causes your skin to heal slower and puts you at risk of developing an infection as well as scars. For those who wear makeup, covering an opened pimple is difficult to accomplish because you’re working with a ragged surface rather than a smooth one. Leave it alone and let it heal on its own.
  2. Creams
    • Do: Use sulfur based creams, such as those with sulfur and resorcinol or those with benzoyl peroxide. Results may not happen overnight. While creams can be great, check with your dermatologist first before mixing products or using more than recommended on the label.
    • Don’t: Use toothpaste. Although this should go without saying, toothpaste is for your teeth only! While it does contain ingredients that help dry out pimples, toothpaste can also trigger acne. You’re also at risk of developing an allergic reaction, thanks to the fluoride and whitening ingredients in many brands.
  3. Injections and pastes
    • Do: Consider corticosteroid injections for larger acne cysts, as this type of treatment may be a quick fix. With these injections, your dermatologist injects a diluted version of a corticosteroid into the pimple to reduce swelling and prevent scarring. Over the next few days, the cyst will shrink. During this time, leave the cyst alone – refrain from picking or treating it on your own.
    • Don’t: Apply crushed aspirin. While aspirin is related to salicylic acid, which is found in many acne products, the ones found in acne products are made specifically for your skin. This isn’t the case with aspirin. Using a paste you have made from crushed aspirin can irritate your skin, making your current condition much worse.
  4. Facials
    • Do: Consider tea tree oil, as this can work well at killing bacteria. It is safe to apply to the skin in a diluted form; however, use a small amount the first time you’re applying to see how well it works with your skin and if you will have an allergic reaction to it.
    • Don’t: Get a facial. While certain facials, light chemical peels, and other treatments from a spa can help improve acne, results aren’t immediate. The skin may look more irritated until then. Don’t try a new acne treatment if you have a special occasion coming up. Plan your facial a few weeks ahead of any special event you have to attend to your skin has time to calm down.
  5. Coverage
    • Do: Apply full coverage concealer. There are many brands that make full coverage concealer products, which are great at hiding pimples. Apply a thin coat, as you don’t want to suffocate your pores. Try blending two different shades to make a custom color for your skin tone. Blend the edges of the area to create a seamless line and re-apply the blend for touch-ups throughout the day.
    • Don’t: Mask breakouts with accessories. Hats and headbands are tempting to use when we have breakouts on our forehead; however, the heat and friction from the accessories could irritate the skin further.