5 Skin Tips to Help You Become Acne Free in the New Year

5 Skin Tips to Help You Become Acne Free in the New Year

We get top tips from Dr. Crystal Aguh on how to become acne free in the New Year!

Crystal Ugochi

Did you know that acne is more common in women with brown skin, particularly women of African descent? Dark marks and scarring that develop as a result of acne are also more common in brown skin and these can last many months after your acne is gone. Though genetics play a huge role in determining how severe your acne will be, here are some things you can do to help you win the fight against acne for good this year.


Consider changes to your diet

Foods with a high glycemic index such as white bread, processed foods and sweets have been shown to worsen acne so avoiding these foods may lead to an improvement in your skin. Similarly, a Mediterranean diet or diet packed with low glycemic index foods like fruits, vegetables and whole wheat has been shown to improve acne and can even shrink the sweat glands associated with acne. While a complete overhaul of your diet is unnecessary, a small adjustment in your diet may be helpful.

Exfoliate your skin

There are many reasons to exfoliate your skin but one big reason is to remove excess layers of dead skin that may end up clogging your pores. Salicylic acid is great at exfoliating the skin and is also an effective acne fighting agent. You can find many products that contain salicylic acid over the counter at your neighborhood pharmacy.

Try chemical peels

While over the counter exfoliators are effective, it may take months before you notice a benefit. If you are looking for more immediate results, a chemical peel is another option to consider. There are many types of peels that use one or many acne fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, retinol and lactic acid to improve acne and dark marks. Gentle chemical peels are available over the counter, but more potent peels must be performed in a clinical setting. If you do decide to get a chemical peel, make sure it is being applied by someone who is familiar with brown skin, which is usually more sensitive than fairer skin types. Talk to your dermatologist about which type of peel would be most appropriate for your skin.

Keep your hands away from your face

When left alone, an acne pimple typically lasts less than a week. However, picking and irritating an acne pimple can cause it to persist and is also one of the primary reasons dark marks are left behind. If picking at your acne is a bad habit and you are struggling with dark marks, challenge yourself to make your face a hands-free zone. It could save you a lot of time (and money!) in your quest to rid yourself of acne.

If all else fails, see a dermatologist!

If you have been dealing with acne for years and over the counter medications are not effective for you, I highly recommend seeing a dermatologist. Even though an acne pimple may last for a few days, the damage left behind can last for months and even years! If you are dealing with dark marks and scarring, you may require prescription strength creams or oral medications for treatment. Taking care of your acne now can do wonders for your skin in the future.

By Dr. Crystal Aguh

Dr. Crystal Aguh is an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. You can find her on Instagram at CrystalADermDoc

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