How to Prevent Acne with a Proper Skin Care Routine

Woman looking at her skin in the mirror

Dealing with acne can be a pain, literally—as soon as you’ve managed to shrink one big pimple, it seems another one pops up in its place. If this is your experience, you’re not imagining things: Acne is a cyclical problem that needs to be prevented, not just emergency-treated, to break the breakout cycle.

If you just react to a pimple once it reaches the surface, that pimple has been forming for weeks. If keeping clear skin, and preventing acne is your goal (and isn’t it everyone’s?), the key according to Neutrogena® acne experts, is stopping clogged pores and inflammation before they start.

And that means adopting the right acne skin care routine.

Start with a Routine Skin Cleansing

Acne prevention starts with one important step: cleansing—but not just slapping on soap and rinsing. The key to getting clear skin is finding the right cleansing product for your kind of acne and being relentlessly consistent by using the product twice a day.

Understanding what kind of acne you have is key to choosing the ingredient that is best to treat it. The most common kinds of non-inflammatory (mild and easily treatable) acne are whiteheads and blackheads. Whiteheads are simply clogged pores; blackheads are clogged pores where the oil has oxidized, or been exposed to the air, and turned black.

The best way to treat these kinds of acne are products containing salicylic acid, an ingredient that clears away dead skin cells and unclogs pores. A daily wash or scrub such as the classic Neutrogena® Oil-Free Acne Wash or Neutrogena Naturals® Acne Foaming Scrub contain the right amount of salicylic acid to keep pores clear with daily use.

Dealing with “Stubborn” Acne

So, what if you have moderate, stubborn, or inflammatory acne?

Experts say you basically have a thin layer of skin that’s preventing the skin’s natural oil from flowing, leading to a lot of bacteria formation and resulting in inflammation, making it more difficult to treat and eradicate.

To tackle those annoying and painful bumps, you’ll want products containing benzoyl peroxide, the primary function of which is killing bacteria that contribute to the inflammation. One option to try is Neutrogena® Rapid Clear® Stubborn Acne line, which is formulated with benzoyl peroxide to help shrink inflamed blemishes.

In addition to using the right cleanser twice a day, every day, there are more steps you can take to prevent clogged pores and inflammation.

Be Careful with Face Exfoliation

First, don’t overdo it with exfoliation because you don’t want to create more inflammation. Plus, make sure to use a mild moisturizer and sunscreen on a daily basis to keep skin balanced and protected.

Neutrogena® experts say you don’t have to choose a moisturizer or sunscreen with added acne-fighting ingredients, but should take care to use products that are light and non-comedogenic (non-pore-clogging). Neutrogena® Hydro Boost Gel Cream SPF 15 will give your skin the hydration it craves—and the protection it needs—without unwanted residue.

Once you’ve put together your anti-acne arsenal and started on the road to prevention, the key is consistency. If your symptoms persist or if you have severe or cystic acne, it’s best to see a dermatologist. But for most, if you treat your skin like a bank account that you invest in daily, you’ll be rewarded with clear, smooth skin.

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