Frequently asked questions about
acne & scarring

  1. Does sweating make acne worse?
  2. Perspiration may make acne worse, especially when wearing a hat or helmet. Wash skin soon after sweating, if possible.

  3. Does touching my face affect my acne?
  4. Yes, touching your skin can cause acne flare-ups, so try not to do it. In addition, picking at, popping, or squeezing your acne may make it last longer and could cause scarring.

  5. Should I wash my face with a washcloth?
  6. Using a washcloth or sponge can irritate skin with acne. Apply a gentle, nonabrasive cleanser with your fingertips instead. Scrubbing your face does not help and may only make acne worse.

  7. Is tanning helpful or harmful for my acne?
  8. Tanning is damaging to your skin, whether from sunbathing or tanning beds. Also, some acne medications make your skin sensitive to sunlight, so avoid tanning.

  9. Can makeup cause acne or make it worse?
  10. Some types of makeup can make acne worse, though not in everyone. When using makeup, choose water-based, non-comedogenic (does not clog pores) products, and apply them lightly to your skin. Always be sure to wash off makeup at the end of the day.

  11. If I don’t treat my acne, will I get permanent scars?
  12. Acne causes injury to the skin, and scarring, like any other skin injury, is part of the wound healing process. Because waiting to treat severe acne can cause permanent scarring, the quicker acne is treated, the better.

  13. Why is acne more common in teenagers?
  14. When teenagers hit puberty, they have a surge in hormones. Some of these hormones cause the oil glands in the skin to get bigger and make more oil. As pores become blocked and clog, bacteria start to build up and acne results.

  15. Can what I eat cause acne?
  16. Generally, no. The primary cause of acne is not diet but rather the fluctuations of hormones.


Ask your dermatology health care provider about treatment options that may be appropriate for you.

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Understanding Acne

Consequences of Acne >

Learn about physical and emotional consequences of severe acne and scarring

Understanding Acne

Understanding Acne >

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Treatment Options

Treatment Options >

Learn about acne treatments that can make a difference in your appearance.

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