16 Mistakes That Are Making Your Breakouts Worse

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These so-called trigger foods don’t affect everyone, but Schultz warns that you should keep tabs on whether certain foods tend to correspond with sudden onset breakouts. (For example, there's been a recent connection between skim milk and acne. ) The hard part, of course, is avoiding whatever it is that's making your skin spaz. “It's never a good idea to squeeze a pimple,” says Elizabeth Tanzi, M. D. , founder and director of Capital Laser and Skin Care and assistant clinical professor at George Washington University Medical Center. What is okay?

For all the salicylic acid out there, there are certain ingredients to steer clear of. "People who suffer from acne should avoid makeup that contains mineral oil or lanolin," Nazarian says. "These ingredients are comedogenic, meaning they have a high likelihood of clogging pores and triggering acne. " Check the labels to make sure your complexion products don't contain either.

While you can primarily treat your pimples with things actually meant to go on your face, Ciraldo points out that prevention begins with paying attention to anything else that goes near it. "Sometimes acne is caused by or worsened with certain hair products you may be using," she says. "Sulfate-based or heavily fragranced shampoos can promote acne. " To check if this applies to you, look at the distribution of your breakouts.

It’s not the chemical you use; it’s the amount you use, says Neal Schultz, M. D. , a Manhattan derm. “People think if a little salicylic or glycolic acid is good, more is better," he says. "It gets to the point that the active ingredient irritates the skin, making it scaly and flaky and red. ” To prevent irritation, try a lower concentration of the active ingredient once you’ve already broken out.

However, certain formulas can actually address pimples while providing coverage. "Salicylic acid is a common acne ingredient that is useful in preventing or treating pimples and can be found in several makeup brands," says Rachel Nazarian, M. D. , a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology.

Essentially, you can't rule out last-minute breakouts entirely, but you can adopt some changes in the long term that make it less likely you'll be faced with a sudden pimple. "Continuous use of retinols is key," she says. "Retinol causes skin cells to turn over at a faster rate, making dead cells on the outer layer shed.

Not all supplements have scientific backing when it comes to acne treatment, but zinc shows promising results. "In a double blind study comparing zinc to the prescription oral antibiotic Minocycline, both have comparable results by one month—although continued use of Minocycline was superior as the study progressed," says dermatologist and founder of Dr.

Ciraldo likes Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo, which contains 3% salicylic acid. "Also, if you find that you are holding your cell phone up to your face and your acne is concentrated on those areas, switch to using speaker or headphones," she says.

But to zap a zit, it's better if you follow a few steps first. "Starting with a clean face, apply a thin layer of oil-free moisturizer try Neutrogena Oil-Free Daily Moisturizer, and then a small amount of acne medication to your entire face," says Nazarian.

Do think about long-term swaps for treatment and prevention. "Acne has a genetic component to it, with children mimicking what their parents had, so we can’t control it completely," says dermatologist and cofounder of LM Medical NYC Morgan Rabach, M. D.

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