Acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is a long-term skin disease that occurs when hair follicles are clogged with dead skin cells and oil from the skin. It is characterized by blackheads or whiteheads, pimples, oily skin, and possible scarring.
It primarily affects areas of the skin with a relatively high number of oil glands, including the face, upper part of the chest, and back.
Take action against acne
You can try to avoid or control mild acne with nonprescription products, good basic skin care and other self-care techniques:
- Wash problem areas with a gentle cleanser. Twice a day, use your hands to wash your face with a mild soap and warm water. If you tend to develop acne around your hairline, shampoo your hair every day. And be gentle if you're shaving affected skin.
Avoid certain products, such as facial scrubs, astringents and masks. They tend to irritate the skin, which can worsen acne. Excessive washing and scrubbing also can irritate the skin.
- Try over-the-counter acne products to dry excess oil and promote peeling. Look for products containing benzoyl peroxide as the active ingredient. You might also try products containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid or alpha hydroxy acids, which may help with mild and moderate acne. It may take a few weeks before you see any improvement.
Nonprescription acne medications may cause initial side effects — such as redness, dryness and scaling — that often improve after the first month of using them.
- Avoid irritants. Avoid oily or greasy cosmetics, sunscreens, hairstyling products or acne concealers. Use products labeled water-based or noncomedogenic, which means they are less likely to cause acne.
- Protect your skin from the sun. For some people, the sun worsens acne. And some acne medications make you more susceptible to the sun's rays. Check with your doctor to see if your medication is one of these. If it is, stay out of the sun as much as possible. Regularly use a nonoily (noncomedogenic) moisturizer that includes a sunscreen.
- Avoid friction or pressure on your skin. Protect your acne-prone skin from contact with items such as phones, helmets, tight collars or straps, and backpacks.
- Avoid touching or picking at the problem areas. Doing so can trigger more acne or lead to infection or scarring.
- Shower after strenuous activities. Oil and sweat on your skin can lead to breakouts.
To qualify for refills, the prescription in question must have been last filled by your pharmacy within the last three months. 30 day refills only.