Acne is a frustrating and embarrassing condition that people all over the world try to get rid of as soon as possible after seeing the first signs of it. Some common ways of treating acne can actually irritate the skin and cause further damage such as scarring. Here are the top ten acne treatment mistakes that people commonly make.

1. Over washing

Washing the skin is necessary to get rid of dead skin cells and harmful bacteria, but washing the skin more than twice per day can cause the skin to dry out, which actually stimulates the production of more oil and makes the problem worse. The skin should also not be washed less often than once per day or more often than twice per day. Using water that is very hot can stimulate oil production, so lukewarm water should be used for face washing.

2. Too Many Products

There are many products that can help clear the skin of acne, but using two or more products at the same time is likely to cause flaking, redness, and irritation. Using too many products can cause skin trauma that makes lesions bigger instead of smaller.

3. Not Using Moisturizer

Even acne prone skin needs to be hydrated and moisturized; the key is to use a moisturizer that doesn’t contain oil because it won’t clog pores. Hydrating gels are often a good choice because they feel non-greasy and light on acne prone skin. A moisturizer with sunscreen is a wise choice to protect against hyperpigmention. Skin that is being treated with acne fighting medication is often very vulnerable to the sun’s damaging rays.

4. Tanning

Some people go tanning to help their acne, but the skin damage that results from UV exposure is far more detrimental to the skin than any acne fighting benefits of a tanning bed. Red or Brown skin spots that are caused by acne may even become darker with sun exposure.

5. Inconsistent Treatment

According to Barbara Reed, a dermatology professor at the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver, it may take up to six weeks for a patient to see the full results from the acne treatment they are using. Many people give up on a treatment method long before it has had time to work. There isn’t a cure for acne and treating breakouts is a process that is likely to last for years. Forgetting a dose of medication can slow the process even further. Acne treatments are most effective when they are used consistently over a period of time.

6. Not Using Sunscreen

It’s a good idea for acne sufferers to choose a sunscreen that is made for oily or acne prone skin so that the sunscreen doesn’t further clog pores. A broad-spectrum sunscreen should be applied daily so that the skin is protected from premature aging, skin cancer, and hyperpigmentation.

7. Stopping Medication Too Soon

It is wise to wait until your doctor advises to stop taking an acne medication because medications don’t cure acne, it only manages the condition. The use of acne medication should be tapered off gradually and acne may appear to be gone, only to return about a month later. Most people need to continue using a small amount of acne medication to keep their skin clear. Accutane is the only acne medication that doesn’t require continued use to see results. It is a very powerful medication that should only be used under a doctor’s supervision.

8. Touching The Affected Area

Touching the skin spreads bacteria and often makes cases of acne worse. People with acne often feel skin irritation and have a tendency to touch the affected areas. Touching the affected skin area should be avoided. Popping pimples often pushes the infected material into the skin and causes the breakouts to be longer and more severe. Picking at pimples and breaking the skin opens the door to infection. It also increases the likelihood of redness and scarring. The affected skin should only be touched with a washcloth or cleansing pad.

9. Not Seeing A Dermatologist

Many people are embarrassed by acne and related skin conditions and avoid visiting a dermatologist until their skin is very irritated and infected. Dermatologists are skilled at diagnosing acne and figuring out the best course of treatment for each person. They can also prescribe medications if over-the-counter treatment is not strong enough to get rid of the patient’s acne symptoms. Dermatologists can offer laser resurfacing and deep chemical peels to treat severe cases of acne. They are knowledgeable about skin types and will create a custom treatment plan for each patient.

10. Using the Wrong Products

Just because a product is made for treating acne doesn’t mean that it is the right product for every person with the condition. Generally, people with acne should look for products that are labeled noncomedogenic, because these products don’t contain ingredients that are known to clog pores. Ingredients like cocoa butter and acetylated lanolin are known to clog pores and should be avoided. Anyone who is trying a new acne product should test the product once per day on a small area of the skin to make sure that it doesn’t cause irritation before using the product as directed on the package.