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Acne Prone Skin

Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It often causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples, and usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders. Acne is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages.

Effective treatments are available, but acne can be persistent. The pimples and bumps heal slowly, and when one begins to go away, others seem to crop up.

Depending on its severity, acne can cause emotional distress and scar the skin. The earlier you start treatment, the lower your risk of such problems.

Many over-the-counter (OTC) acne products are available to treat mild to moderate acne or periodic breakouts. They include cleansing lotions, gels, foams and towelettes, leave-on products, and treatments or kits. How do you know which one is best for you?

Before you decide, learn how OTC acne products work and what ingredients to look for. Then develop a gentle skin care regimen to treat and prevent acne.

The FDA warns that some popular OTC acne products can cause a serious reaction, including throat tightness and swelling of the face, lips or tongue. This type of reaction is rare and shouldn't be confused with the redness, irritation or itchiness that may occur where you've applied such products.

Acne products work in different ways, depending on their active ingredients. Some work by killing the bacteria that cause acne inflammation. Others remove excess oil from the skin or speed up the growth of new skin cells and the removal of dead skin cells. Some acne products do a combination of these things.

Wash problem areas twice daily. Use a gentle nonsoap cleanser and don't overdo it. Excessive washing and scrubbing can worsen acne. Scrubs that dissolve during washing are the least abrasive. Scrubs with ground fruit pits and aluminum oxide tend to be more abrasive.

Don't use too much. Apply just enough acne product to cover the problem areas and apply it just after cleansing the skin. 

Use an oil-free, water-based moisturizer. This helps alleviate dry, peeling skin.
Avoid oily cosmetics, sunscreens and hair products. Use products labeled water-based or noncomedogenic.

Don't pick or squeeze blemishes. Infection or scarring may result.
Watch what touches your face. Keep your hair clean and off your face. Also avoid resting your hand or phone against the side of your face.

If your acne doesn't improve after two or three months of home treatment, consider seeing your doctor or a skin specialist (dermatologist) for a prescription lotion or medication.