Before you dig your fingers into that pimple and have already mentally doomed yourself to another acne scar, wait. Intense pimple struggles don't have to automatically turn into scars, and learning how to prevent acne scars from happening is easier than you think. With a little proper care, your skin will stay scar-free.
P.S. You are so not alone in struggling with adult acne. But, there really may be causes and treatment methods out there you haven't considered. For instance, Bustle writer Maxine Builder shared how chronic adult acne can be caused by a huge variety of things including dehydration, exhaustion, diet, pollution, alcohol, your period, allergies, and even straight up stress.
If you don't know where to start, I would definitely encourage you to consider an appointment with your dermatologist to scout out the root cause. I swear there's hope! I speak from personal experience, as I had been dealing with deep jawline acne for years until my derm and gyno helped me figure out I had a hormone imbalance. One birth control prescription change later, my skin was totally clear. Who knew?
As for the pimples you're currently dealing with, there are several ways you can effectively dodge scarring. For details, I reached out to Eric Schweiger, M.D., founder of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City.
1. No "Bathroom Surgery"
"One of the worst things you can do for your skin is try to pop a pimple yourself," says Schweiger. "Picking at a pimple can leave a scab and possibly a permanent scar behind." No bueno!
2. Wear Sunscreen
Everyday Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $19, Supergoop!
Schweiger tells me, "Many people think that getting sun exposure will help clear acne, but in fact it can actually leave pigmentation on the areas with active acne lesions [and] leave a dark spot behind even after the pimple has cleared." Look for a non-comodogenic sunscreen that won't clog pores, and you should be good to go.
3. Find The Right Meds If Needed
"The best way to prevent acne scars from forming is by keeping your acne under control," says Schweiger. "This is best done with guidance from a dermatologist who can prescribe you medication stronger than what you’ll find in the drugstore."
4. Dodge Harsh Scrubbing
Gentle Skin Cleanser, $5.49, Cetaphil
Another pro tip? "Avoid harsh scrubbing of your skin during cleansing," he says. "You don't want to irritate active acne. Instead, use a gentle circular motion while cleaning your face."
One of my favorite simple cleansers when I have breakout is Cetaphil for sensitive skin. I simply use a wash cloth to exfoliate so, so gently with it.
5. Remove Makeup Before Bed
I've already shared all the eeeeek-inducing things that can happen when you sleep with makeup on, but Schweiger had even more. He tells me, "Not cleaning your skin every night will lead to clogged pores and in turn even more acne breakouts. It’s crucial to cleanse the dirt, debris and makeup off your skin every night. Be consistent with your acne skincare regimen. If you’re not compliant with your acne products, they will not work." #Preach