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Fighting Acne? Pay Special Attention To Your Hygiene

If you suffer from acne, then you have probably already researched just about every possible cure or remedy out there. Nevertheless, you must not forget that, in the end, acne is simply a type of skin irritation, which can very possibly be alleviated by keeping your skin…well, clean. While you probably do not get recurring breakouts because of bad hygiene, your condition may be exacerbated1 by not cleansing your skin well enough.

Proper hygiene is the commonly neglected cause of skin problems.

In essence, acne represents your pores being stuffed with a combination of old skin cells, dirt, and oil2. The dirt additionally accumulates in the form of germs which find this mixture fruitful for their existence. Keeping this in mind, it should come as no surprise that thoroughly cleaning the surface of your skin, as well as scraping off the uppermost layer of redundant skin cells, could hold immense benefits for the improvement of your complexion.

Cleansing Your skin

Wash your skin well and use gentle, yet effective cleansing products. You can find the right product for you by visiting a specialized drugstore, getting some over-the counter medicine or speaking with your dermatologist. The sooner you act on finding the right cosmetics for you, the sooner you will be rid of your acne – before it gets worse. If you really want to speed up the process3, look for cleansers that contain glycolic and salicylic acid.

Despite the need for cleaning your face, remember that it is not the visible dirt that is leading to your breakouts. For that reason, don’t cleanse your face more than twice a day – in the morning and in the evening. You don’t want to remove everything off the surface of your skin, and you certainly don’t want to inflame it from too much rubbing.

Moreover, if you opt for a cleanser or an exfoliator with grains, make sure that these are not too large and rough – this will only irritate your face, especially if it already is ablaze with acne. Choose a mild exfoliating agent which is not based on fruit or almond shells, as these are way too harsh on sensitive skin. If you are using a sponge, make sure that it is a soft, gentle one. Scrub your dead skin cells off about once or twice a week for best results.

One thing to remember about washing yourself is that you should not only be cleansing your face, but also your body. Chances are that if you already have abundant acne on your face, it may also spread to the rest of your body. Shower regularly, especially if you have an active lifestyle, and always thoroughly bathe after exercising. This is particularly important because during workouts, your body is both wet and warm, allowing germs to thrive in this homey environment. Remember to also regularly wash your workout clothes, and even your equipment – you really don’t want to be breaking out because of such a simple omission.

Focus on washing well4 especially if you suffer from acne mechanica, which results from friction inside of your clothes. This ailment is usually experienced by athletes by way of their helmets and uniforms, or by those of us who use headbands and the likes on a daily basis. Whatever your case may be, maintain good hygiene and you may just have found your breakout cure.

Never Use Your Fingers To Clear Up Your Face

Let’s face it – if you have any sort of blemishes on your skin, you might be tempted to try to fix or remove them with your own two hands. That would be a mistake. First of all, no matter how much you wash your hands, they will always retain some dirt on them. Trying to pick at your pimples will only serve to rekindle them, as you basically not only add germs to the situation, but also effectively push them into your skin even more5. You might even end up spreading the germs all over your face,  risking graver acne and possible scarification.

What is more, it is important to recall that the bacteria which is primarily responsible for your zits already naturally occurs on your skin. It only becomes problematic when it enters your pores and clogs them. Using your hands to touch your face will simply make the bacteria go farther into your skin and stuff your pores, causing you your pimples. If you want to help yourself, keep off.

Use The Right Products

Granted, there is an endless amount of acne-fighting products out there. While this makes for a difficult choice, it does help you to avoid alcohol-based cosmetics6. Why should you avoid these? Alcohol is incredibly strong and it not only disinfects your skin, but it also goes as far as to rub any oil off from your surface – leaving your face way too open to flare ups.

The alcohol content in a product may be in the form of normal rubbing alcohol one or even in the form of isopropyl alcohol, but it should be avoided either way. Be particularly attentive when you are choosing a toner, as these tend to often contain at least some amount of the irritating substance.

Although maintaining top-notch hygiene7 is crucial to cleansing your skin from whatever it is that causes it to breakout, remember to not overdo it. You do want to remove dead skin cells, but you still want to keep the good bacteria on there. Moreover, while you do want to remove excess oil, you definitely don’t want to take it all off – this will only cause your sebaceous glands to begin producing unnecessarily large amounts of oil to make up for its complete lack.

In this vein, scrub your skin with soap but don’t use an antibacterial variety that is too strong for your skin type; shower in water that is the appropriate temperature, and don’t spend too much time in bath. Remember that even beneficial habits are only useful when done in a balanced way.


  1. Kraft J., Freiman A. Management of acne. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2015;172Suppl1:27-36.
  2. Acne. Mayo Clinic. Accessed 2019.
  3. Kantikosum K., Chongpison Y., Chottawornsak N., Asawanonda P. The efficacy of glycolic acid, salicylic acid, gluconolactone, and licochalcone A combined with 0.1% adapalene vs adapalene monotherapy in mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris: a double-blinded within-person comparative study. Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology. 2019;12:151–161.
  4. Choi Y.S., Suh H.S., Yoon M.Y., Min S.U., Kim J.S., Jung J.Y., Lee D.H., Suh D.H. A study of the efficacy of cleansers for acne vulgaris. The Journal of Dermatological Treatment. 2010;21(3):201-5.
  5. Skin care for acne-prone skin. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). 2013.
  6. Mukhopadhyay P. Cleansers and Their Role in Various Dermatological Disorders. Indian Journal of Dermatology. 2011;56(1): 2–6.
  7. Green J., Sinclair R.D. Perceptions of acne vulgaris in final year medical student written examination answers. The Australasian Journal of Dermatology. 2001;42(2):98-101.
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