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How to Banish Acne Breakouts

How to banish acne breakouts

Waking up to a pimple certainly puts a damper on the morning. Could it have been the chocolate bar you ate for dessert? Or maybe you didn't wash your face as well as you should have?

The culprit is most likely neither of those things. "The most common causes of acne include hormones and genetics," says Erika Summers, MD, a dermatologist with University of Utah Health. Sometimes certain medications and carbohydrate-rich foods may also contribute to acne.


  • Birth control pills, which can help regulate hormones
  • Eating fewer processed carbohydrates
  • Not washing your face too aggressively or too often, which can create excess irritation and more acne 
  • Over-the counter adapalene gel 0.1% (Differin) Pea-size amount diluted into a moisturizer and spread over the entire areas of the face affected by acne nightly
  • Glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid facial washes


  1. Your drugstore creams aren’t working. You may be using the wrong type, or you may need something stronger, such as a prescription topical or oral medication. An expert can help you figure out what will work best for you.  
  2. There’s scarring. “This would prompt me to send my own child for treatment,” Summers says. “Scarring is harder to treat than the acne, and it is permanent.”  
  3. You’re unhappy when you look in the mirror. “When you hit your personal threshold of embarrassment over your acne, it’s time to make an appointment,” Summers says.