Common Mistakes You Might Be Making When Caring For Acne

Acne. It’s a problem that’s older than dirt! The truth is, there’s no easy fix for acne because it’s not a simple problem. In fact, it’s “multifactorial,” meaning it’s dependent on a number of factors or causes including:

  1. Genetics
  2. Hormones
  3. Diet
  4. Medications
  5. Age
  6. Environment

Now some of these factors are out of your control. But it’s the things we can control that make a big difference in how you look and feel about your skin. So, let’s start by understanding a little bit about acne.

At its core, acne happens when the skin becomes clogged. Something called sebum — an oily substance that lubricates your hair and skin — develops, and sebum plus dead skin cells plug the hair follicles on the skin’s surface. From there, bacteria can trigger inflammation and infection resulting in more severe acne. There is no cure for this type of disease, just treatment to help minimize breakouts.

Are you making your acne act up?

Your daily routine and actions are also in your control. Are you unknowingly making things worse? Check this list to see our top six offenses!

  • Using too many products on your skin. We often see patients who have thrown “the kitchen sink” at their skin, hoping one of many products will work! But more is not better. Instead, get recommendations from your dermatologist or dermatology aesthetician and add no more than one or two products/topical medications at a time to see how your skin reacts. Slowly build your regimen to achieve a doctor-approved mix of oral and topical medications, skin care products, and procedures aimed at controlling your acne.
  • Applying topical acne medications incorrectly. Are you waiting until you see a breakout to apply the prescription medication your doctor recommended? That’s a big no-no! As they say in sports, the best defense is a good offense. Or, are you dotting your medication only on active breakouts? In many cases, acne medication is intended to apply all over your face. It’s preventive, remember? Check with your doctor to learn the best way to apply your medications. Some, like those containing benzoyl peroxide, are intended to dry out active lesions.
  • Never cleaning your make up brushes. Clean your brushes and applicators weekly with a gentle cleanser and water to avoid applying makeup with trapped dirt and bacteria! Remember, clogged pores lead to acne and this is not how you want to clog them! If you use your fingers to apply makeup and skin care products, you are not off the hook either. Wash your hands with soap and water before applying anything to your face.
  • Sleeping with your makeup on. Do this and you are just asking for a breakout. Even while your body is at rest, makeup, sweat, dirt and bacteria can get trapped in your pores. You can help prevent a nightmare by washing your face regularly before you head to bed.
  • Washing your face too much or scrubbing it too aggressively. Two different concepts, same result. You only need to wash your face twice a day – morning and night. Any more than that can damage your skin barrier – and that will let in the bacteria that’s so harmful to your complexion. Another concern? Scrubbing your face too aggressively has the potential to stimulate your skin into overproducing oil. Better to just let your cleanser do the work and rinse thoroughly.
  • Too much DIY, not enough DermatologY. As a board-certified skin specialist, your Midwest Dermatology doctor trained for more than 12 years in the science of healthy skin. Let them be your guide in the medical management of acne with treatments ranging from oral and topical medications to aesthetic skin care that will minimize breakouts, improve the look and feel of your skin, and repair scars and discoloration.

To schedule an appointment with a Midwest Dermatology board-certified physician or a skin care consult with our dermatology aesthetician, call us at (402) 933-0800 or schedule online at



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