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Acne Tips and Advice

By Cynthia Bailey MD.

acne treatment tips from a dermatologist

How you take care of your acne-prone skin really matters for your complexion.

Pick the right products and your acne gets better; use the wrong ones and it gets worse. That said, there are different types of acne and they all have different "right" products. 

As a dermatologist, I recommend that you use a complete skin care routine to fight acne to get rid of pimples at any age.

Shop my dermatologist-recommended acne products to treat,

  • adult acne,
  • teen acne,
  • back and chest acne.

By preventing acne, you also allow your skin to heal and allow acne scars to fade.

Knowing how to control acne involves finding the right acne products for your skin type.

How do acne treatment products work?

Acne treatment always works in 2 main ways:

  1. By unclogging pores to get rid of blackheads.
  2. By treating germs that cause pimples.

In spite of the thousands of confusing acne products available, there are only 5 non-prescription acne medication ingredients that I think work well. I have a full range of powerful acne products with all 5 of these key ingredients at levels that work to stop acne.

What are the most effective acne treatment ingredients found in the best acne products?

  1. Benzoyl peroxide (which kills P. acnes, also called C. acnes, the germ associated with acne vulgaris, which is the classic teen acne.)
  2. Salicylic acid (which penetrates deeply into oily pores to help break up clogged pore debris that tucks the C. acnes germ into a nice stronghold where it can worsen acne.)
  3. Glycolic acid (which helps exfoliate skin to loosen clogged pores. It also helps to lighten the appearance of acne scarring.)
  4. Retinol (which helps to dislodge blackheads and reduce acne scarring.)
  5. Pyrithione zinc (which helps reduce the Pityrosporum yeast that often plays a role in Pityrosporum folliculitis type of acne.)

My acne products and skin care routines are built from these 5 key acne fighting ingredients. You can't get stronger acne treatments without a prescription!

Plus, how you use your acne products, and what else you apply to your skin, will determine how fast your acne will improve.

Did you know that some skin care ingredients will block and inflame your pores to cause acne?

Some products inactivate each other so that your routine won't work against acne.

Other product ingredients will irritate your skin and make your acne treatment frustrating.

Take the Guess Work Out of Your Acne Treatment

In order to properly treat your acne, first you need to determine the type of acne you have (see list below). Next, you need to build a complete skin care routine from my product recommendations. There are 4 essential steps in a Complete Skin Care Routine, which you'll do twice daily:





You also need to avoid pore-clogging ingredients like oils in all the products that you apply to your acne-prone skin, including in makeup and sunscreens. Pick products that fit your skin type and your skin's sensitivities so you avoid irritating your skin. Harsh acne products can send sensitive skin running for oily moisturizers to soothe skin irritation, which worsens acne. Instead, err on the side of caution, starting with the regular strength products that I recommend and work to the stronger versions of the products as your skin has gotten used to them.

Acne Types and Their Treatments

On this website, I recommend the same skin care routines that I use in my dermatology practice to treat acne. Find the type of acne that you have and click the link to see the routine I recommend: