Acne Prevention

Acne prevention is a bit of a misnomer, if it implies there’s a cure. There isn’t. Acne prevention actually means preventing outbreaks, and there’s plenty you can do to avoid the recurring pimple. Outbreak prevention covers a wide range: from the day-to-day preventive measures you can take, to the acne products and remedies on the market.

Free Acne Remedies!

Okay, free advice, actually, but this is better than the “advice” you get from assorted older relatives. The scourge of my youth was Uncle Bert: “Just scrub your face harder when you wash! Use some of that industrial soap mechanics use.” Most of us have an Uncle Bert somewhere in the wings, passing out ill-considered and out-of-date advice on acne remedies (or anything else for that matter).

And Uncle Bert couldn’t have been more wrong: while good prevention techniques do involve regular face cleansing, using harsh cleansers and vigorous scrubbing often irritates acne, making it worse.

Instead, take a gentle approach. Wash gently, and dab your skin clean. You’re trying to remove excess oil produced by your skin pores; scrubbing hard will actually force the oil and dead skin cells back into the pores. You can use the assorted acne products that clean the skin, but avoid those products that claim to dry out your skin. Your skin needs moisture and, without it, your pores just produce even more oil.

Avoid Hand-to-Hand Combat

It’s so tempting to roll up your sleeves and take the battle to the pimple, squeezing it into submission. Trouble is, picking and squeezing zits often leads to more problems: you spread the infection over the surrounding area when the zit bursts, and you can even wind up with scarring. Best to avoid mixing it up with your little pustular foes (even if they’re asking for it).

Acne Products

All manner of products are on the market, some of them better than others. Avoid anything too harsh or invasive (cheap blackhead extractors, for instance). Some treatments claim to work directly on the pimple, but the best products are those that treat the entire face. Some even permit you to adjust the degree of treatment depending upon the severity of your acne. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for their recommendations.


American Academy of Dermatology. (1999). Acne. Retrieved March 19, 2002, from

American Academy of Dermatology. (1999). Patient information pamphlets. Retrieved March 19, 2002, from