Nearly 85 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 24 experience acne and many adults do too. But why some people experience severe breakouts while others barely have a pimple is not entirely understood. Genetics and environmental influences are the most likely reasons.

Dr. Monique S. Cohn, DO FAOCD, offers these 8 tips of what to do and what not to do to achieve clearer skin:

1. DO use a mild non-abrasive cleanser

Get in the habit of washing your face twice daily to remove impurities, dead skin cells, and extra oil from your skin’s surface. Use warm, not hot, water and a mild facial cleaner with a soft cloth or your hands. Using a harsh soap (like deodorant body soap) can hurt already inflamed skin and cause more irritation. Always make sure you’re using products that are noncomedogenic, or not acne forming.

2. DON’T overdo face washing

Washing more than twice a day is not necessarily better and it may do more harm than good. Always rinse well, and then dry your face with a clean towel. (Toss the towel in the laundry hamper, as dirty towels spread bacteria.) Also, use the washcloth only once.

3. DO watch your sun exposure

The sun’s ultraviolet rays can increase inflamation and redness, and can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark discoloration). Some acne medications may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Limit your time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a broad-brimmed hat. Whether you have pimples or not, always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with 6% zinc oxide or higher and SPF 30 or higher at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Look for “noncomedogenic” on the sunscreen label to make new pimples less likely. Read the ingredients on the product label to know what you’re putting on your skin.

4. DON’T be cruel to your skin

Avoid touching your face or propping your cheek or chin on your hands. Not only can you spread bacteria, you can also irritate the already inflamed facial skin. Never pick or pop pimples with your fingers, as it can lead to infection and scarring.

5. DO watch what you eat and drink

Most experts agree that certain foods, like chocolate, don’t cause pimples. Still, it makes sense to avoid greasy food and junk food and add more fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your diet. Dairy products and foods high in processed sugar may trigger acne. Avoid these.

6. DON’T cover or conceal acne with cosmetics

During a breakout, avoid wearing foundation, powder, or blush. If you do wear makeup, wash it off at the end of the day. If possible, choose oil-free cosmetics without added dyes and chemicals. Choose makeup that is labeled as “noncomedogenic,” meaning it should not cause acne. Read the ingredients list on the product label before buying.

7. DO clean your phone

Cell phones are magnets for build-up and bacteria, which means throughout the day, makeup, facial oils, and environmental toxins accumulate on our screens. If you can’t commit to an earpiece, make sure to clean your phone twice a day with a microfiber cloth or cleansing wipes that contain water and alcohol.

8. DO see a dermatologist

Over-the-counter products might help you slightly. Depending on the condition’s severity, your age, the type of acne you have and how effective the over-the-counter remedies have been, you may need stronger prescription medications.

If you have moderate to severe acne, Dr. Cohn may recommend a combination of several prescription medications and procedures that are medically proven in treating acne.  Procedure options help prevent scarring and include chemical peelsmicrodermabrasionlaser treatments, and microneedling.

Schedule an appointment on-line or call 330-425-7600 for a consultation to get personalized advice on medications, treatments and professional recommendations right for you.

Acne is unwelcome and can be hard to deal with at any age. Some causes of acne you can’t easily change — like hormones and your genetics. Improving your diet and stress level, plus getting more sleep can help. But, prescription treatments and a clean skincare routine are proven to work. So, see your dermatologist to deal with persistent breakouts.