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How to Clear Stubborn Acne

by
author image M.H. Dyer
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.
How to Clear Stubborn Acne
Woman washing her face Photo Credit Avesun/iStock/Getty Images

Acne symptoms take several different forms, including oily skin, whiteheads, blackheads and pimples. At least 85 percent of people deal with acne at some point, according to Health Services at Columbia University. While acne is a problem mostly during the teen years, it can often continue into the 20s and beyond. You may be able to clear stubborn acne at home with regular care. If your acne doesn't improve, see your dermatologist. She may prescribe oral antibiotics or topical medications.

Step 1

Wash your face every morning and every night, using a mild cleanser, advises Brown University Health Education. Wash gently and avoid scrubbing, which won't prevent acne outbreaks, but can irritate the skin, leaving it red and inflamed. Avoid washing your face more than twice per day.

Step 2

Use an astringent if you have oily skin. Apply the astringent only to the problem areas. Apply astringent according to the recommendations on the label, as overuse can dry and irritate the skin.

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Step 3

Use a topical, over-the-counter acne medication containing salicylic acid, resorcinol, benzoyl peroxide or Retin-A. Such products will help to exfoliate the skin, removing dead, dry skin cells. Most will help to keep acne-causing bacteria under control. Use lotions or creams if you have sensitive skin. Gels are alcohol-based and more appropriate for people with excessively oily skin, advise skin-care experts at Brown University. Allow four to six weeks for the product to work before switching products, suggests Harvard University Health Services.

Step 4

Wash your hair regularly, especially if your hair is oily. The oil from your hair can be transferred to your forehead and cheeks, leading to breakouts. Use a shampoo formulated for oily hair.

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