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

You can also prevent new acne breakouts with self-care measures, such as washing your skin with a gentle cleanser and avoiding touching or picking at the problem areas. Other acne-prevention tips include:

  • 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 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.
  • Avoid heavy foundation makeup. Choose powder cosmetics over cream products because they're less irritating.
  • Remove makeup before going to bed. Going to sleep with cosmetics on your skin can clog tiny openings of the hair follicles (pores). Also, be sure to throw out old makeup and clean your cosmetic brushes and applicators regularly with soapy water.
  • Wear loosefitting clothing. Tightfitting clothing traps heat and moisture and can irritate your skin. Also, whenever possible, avoid tightfitting straps, backpacks, helmets or sports equipment to prevent friction against your skin.
  • Shower after exercising or doing strenuous work. Oil and sweat on your skin can trap dirt and bacteria.
Oct. 21, 2011