Treating acne can be really complex, so it’s really important you understand what your treatments are supposed to be achieving so you don’t get them wrong. For this reason, it pays to have a trusted dermatologist on your team to explain your treatment plan, how to treat your skin, and what you should expect in terms of results.
Even with a great doctor, we can make rookie mistakes at home between visits, or become discouraged when a new thing we’ve tried doesn’t work. Here are the most common mistakes people make when treating acne, all laid out in plain English.
Mistake #1 Overdoing it
Acne cannot be treated overnight, nor even in a week. It’s a longer-term problem. Apply one treatment at a time unless your dermatologist tells you otherwise.
Mistake #2 Giving up too soon
Your skin takes time to truly heal, even if you do find the root cause and it clears up your acne (best-case scenario). Your skin has probably been damaged for a while, so be gentle and don’t give up after a short period of time.
Mistake #3 Over-cleansing or exfoliating
Your skin, when inflamed, is very sensitive and needs to be soothed, not scrubbed. Cleanse gently with a calming cleanser that is pH-balanced. You want less inflammation, not more. You do not have acne because your skin is dirty so rubbing it raw won’t help.
Mistake #4 Using cheap, harsh or irritating products
When you first get pimples, it’s easy to want to wash them right off your face with the harshest drain cleaner you can find. Or, if you are short on cash, you might want to find a solution that doesn’t cost much. These are not acne solutions, and will almost invariably make your skin worse.
Mistake #5 Picking your pimples
Just don’t. We know – it’s almost impossible to let them exist like that, but allowing the bacteria and more inflammation to join in the party even more is a recipe for worse acne. We promise this is true.
Mistake #6 Stopping medication because it worked
You need to keep taking your medication as long as the underlying problem has not been solved, but you may be able to slowly reduce it and see where your therapeutic line is. Acne usually doesn’t disappear on its own without the cause being identified and treated, so if you have just taken medicine, you can expect that if you stop taking it, your acne will return.
Mistake #7 Just treating the skin, ignoring your insides
Your skin reflects something else going on inside of you, so check your diet, lifestyle and see a doctor about your hormone levels. You may have an underlying condition that needs to be treated. Successful treatment of underlying conditions means that your acne might disappear. It’s true! Acne is not an isolated skin problem.
Mistake #8 Not getting professional advice before damage is done
Acne needs swift action, because it doesn’t take long for scars to start appearing. Once the scarring starts, there is a longer process to undergo, so book an appointment with your dermatologist as soon as you can. You might also want to book in with other helpful practitioners like a nutritionist or naturopath to ensure your body is getting everything it needs to perform optimally and reduce inflammation while you undergo other treatments with your doctor. It all helps.
Mistake #9 Using too much or too little medicated creams
Your dermatologist may prescribe you creams to treat your acne, so follow their instructions. If you are using any other products, talk to your doctor about dose so you are using the right amounts of everything for best results.
Treat acne without costly mistakes.