SATURDAY, Sept. 15, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- People with acne who scrub their skin or use abrasive skin care products can actually aggravate their condition, an expert warns.
Opting for a gentle cleanser is just one of several simple changes acne sufferers can make to improve their complexion, noted Dr. Amanda Friedrichs, a dermatologist in private practice in Sycamore, Ill.
"It's very common for patients with acne to scrub their skin and to use harsh products, yet doing so often makes acne worse," Friedrichs said in a news release from the American Academy of Dermatology. "In order for acne to improve, people with acne must be gentle when touching their skin and use gentle products, such as those that are alcohol-free."
Friedrichs also suggested other tips for healthy skin, including:
- Wash your face twice a day and immediately after sweating.
- Avoid astringents, toners and exfoliants, which can irritate the skin. Also, apply facial cleanser with your fingertips instead of a washcloth, sponge or brush.
- Use lukewarm water, not very hot water.
- Because oily hair can make acne worse, wash your hair every day if needed.
- Do not pick at your face or squeeze your acne. Letting your skin heal naturally allows it to clear up quicker and prevents scarring.
- Avoid touching your face, which can increase the risk of flare-ups.
- Do not use indoor tanning beds, which can damage your skin and increase your risk for skin cancer. Keep in mind certain acne medications make the skin extra sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) light.
"Make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist if your acne makes you shy or embarrassed, the products you've tried haven't worked, or your acne is leaving scars or darkening your skin," Friedrichs advised. "Today, virtually every case of acne can be successfully treated."
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about acne.