Most teenagers have acne, but the experience can be especially difficult for guys. While it’s common for girls to talk about skincare with their friends, you don’t find many guys trading clear-skin tips with their buddies. It can be embarrassing for guys to ask for help with their skin issues, and it’s not always easy to find reliable information about male acne and prevention.
However, there are a few basic things every guy should know about acne.
For starters, acne doesn’t have much to do with dirt or personal hygiene. Teen acne is actually the result of androgens, male hormones that both guys and girls start producing once they hit puberty—boys have more, which is why teen acne can be worse for them. Androgens cause your sebaceous glands to produce an overabundance of oil, which then mixes with dead skin (your skin is constantly shedding cells) and clogs your pores. The result: pimples.
Your acne patterns, including the severity and duration of your breakouts, may also be genetic, meaning your acne experience will probably be similar to that of your parents. But that doesn’t mean you can’t control it. The key is to kill acne bacteria before pimples ever reach the surface of your skin. You can do this by consistently using an acne-fighting maintenance-therapy system formulated with proven acne medicines.
Here are some simple yet effective steps that can help prevent breakouts from mild to moderate acne:
Gently wash acne-prone skin morning, night and always after sports or exercise.
Look for cleansers and acne products that say “non-comedogenic”—that means they won’t clog your pores.
Splash on a non-alcohol based toner to help further unclog pores after you cleanse. Avoid alcohol-based toners, which can over-dry skin, which triggers a rebound and causes it to produce too much oil.
Finish your cleansing routine with a gel or lotion formulated with benzoyl peroxide, a proven acne fighter that kills the bacteria that causes acne.
Don’t over-wash—cleansing more than 2-3 times a day can irritate your skin, dry it out and increase oil production.
If you play a sport, line helmets and body pads with white cotton material to help absorb sweat and oil.
Don’t pick or pop your pimples. This can lead to further infection and permanent scaring.
Most importantly, choose an acne-fighting regimen that you can stick to. Unfortunately, there aren’t any overnight cures for acne—long-term results come from consistency and persistence. Make sure that whatever formula you choose is designed to prevent future breakouts, not just the pimples you can see.
Avoid switching products or giving up to soon.
If you follow these tips and stick to your regimen, and your acne still hasn’t improved, it may be time to see a dermatologist. And if you’re acne is really severe, don’t wait—the longer you suffer with acne, the more likely you are to develop permanent scars.