How to Treat Acne: Your Top Questions Answered

Girl with acne

One of the most common skin issues we treat in our dermatology offices is acne. Whether you’re a teenager struggling with ongoing complexion issues or an adult who is battling hormonal breakouts, acne is a significant skin concern that doesn’t discriminate against age, sex, or skin color.

There is a lot of misleading information online about how to treat acne and the causes of pimples. We sent our dermatology providers some of the most frequently asked acne-related questions to answer.

Here’s a look at their advice on how to avoid and properly treat acne.

Is there anything our faces come in contact with that could cause acne?

Acne Solution:

“It’s important to be aware of everything your face comes into contact with when trying to fight acne. Pillowcases, towels, and even your own hands can cause acne if they are dirty.

Wash your pillowcase at least once a week and more frequently if you go to bed with products in your hair that can rub onto the pillowcase and your face.

Towels should be swapped out regularly, and be sure to use a clean towel when wiping sweat off your face at the gym. It’s also very important to try and keep your hands off your face, especially if your hands are dirty,” says Dr. Jeremy Fenton.

Does stress play a role in acne breakouts?

Acne Solution:

“Stress is a big factor in acne,” says Dr. Helen Flamenbaum. “Stress increases glucocorticoid production, which is a hormone that is released when you’re stressed and can cause acne.”

To reduce stress, ensure you’re getting enough sleep and exercising regularly.

To optimize your sleep, ensure the room is not too hot or cold (about 68 degrees is perfect), no texting in your room right before bed, and make sure the room is completely dark.

What’s the best way to treat adult acne?

Acne Solution:

Adult acne for women is typically caused by hormones.

“Hormonal acne for women appears in their 30s, 40s, 50s and can present if they never had acne before but are now breaking out,” says Dr. Karen Hammerman.

Cysts around the jaw and lower face usually point to hormonal acne. For those patients, I’ll also recommend a birth control pill and spironolactone.

Adult acne in men is pretty similar to teenage acne. It’s inflammation in the hair follicles occurring from shaving, and when bacteria gets in their hair follicles.”

Is there a specific diet I should be following to help fight acne?

Acne Solution:

While following a particular diet won’t necessarily eliminate acne, a healthy diet is part of the acne-fighting puzzle. Following a diet that is low in carbohydrates and sugar is best for those looking to fight acne.

We know that sugar can trigger production in the oil glands,” says Dr. Flamenbaum. “Drinking (adequate amounts of) water is also important to flush out internal toxins and hydrate the skin from the inside out.

Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids can lower sebum production. It’s found in salmon, walnuts, avocado oil, and flaxseed oil.

Finally, wash the face twice daily to get rid of pore-clogging debris.”

Do you have more questions about acne treatment?

At Schweiger Dermatology Group, our experienced, board-certified dermatologists offer customized treatment plans for acne.

For appointments, call Schweiger Dermatology Group at (844) DERM-DOC.

To find a location near you, check out our location pages. We look forward to working together to find the best acne treatment for your skin!

About Schweiger Dermatology Group

Schweiger Dermatology Group was founded to help make excellent dermatology care accessible throughout the Northeast. In 2010, Dr. Eric Schweiger started the practice with a single location in Midtown Manhattan. When he saw the need for high-quality dermatology care that did not require weeks or months of waiting to see a qualified provider, his vision of a multi-location practice was born.

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