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Acne starts in the deepest layer of the skin, near the oil glands. When the glands become plugged with dead skin and oil or the skin’s bacteria overgrows, acne develops. Stress, hormones and genetics can also play a part. Other things that can make acne worse include:

  • Frequent or hard scrubbing, and using harsh scrubs and astringents
  • Heavy sweating
  • Oil-based cosmetics
  • Skin rubbing against clothing
  • Some birth control pills

Treatment Options

When looking for an over-the-counter solution, your best bet is a gentle cleaner. Benzoyl peroxide can be helpful for certain types of acne, but can irritate others. With makeup and sunscreen, look for “non-comedogenic” products.

Once acne is present, it will disappear only after the skin has shed and a new layer of skin has developed. This means it can take about 8 weeks to notice the effects of a new treatment.

If store-bought options aren’t working, a dermatologist can offer other solutions such as antibiotics, topical medications and laser treatments.