How can I manage acne?

There are a number of ways to treat the symptoms of acne, many of which can be done at home.

  • Try not to clean your skin too much – too much scrubbing can irritate the skin and dry it out, which makes your skin produce more sebum, which makes the acne worse. Morning and night (and after exercise) with perfume-free soap and water is plenty.
  • Make sure flare-ups aren't being caused by the introduction of a new product into your daily routine.
  • Be mindful of other sources of irritation, such as clothing and exercise. For instance, transmasculine people with chest acne should be careful not to irritate the skin too much with binding.
  • Double-check whether the acne could be aggravated by any other medication you may be taking.
  • Tempting as it is, try not to pick your spots – this will cause more irritation and inflammation.
  • Use skin friendly makeup and creams. Look for ones that have a pH (acid balance) close to skin – around 5.5. It should say on the packaging.
  • Eat well and drink plenty of water. Your skin loves good nutrition and good hydration.

If the problem persists, talk to your doctor. They may be able to recommend a topical treatment (a cream or gel you apply to your skin. There are different kinds of topical treatments, including retinoids, antibiotics, and azelaic acid, so it's important to speak to a professional about what would work best for you. If the problem is very severe and treatments aren't working, you should seek referral to a dermatologist - a skin specialist - so that they can consider stronger treatments.