Does Acne Go Away Naturally?

Reviewed on 6/3/2022

Teenage girl holding up a photo of her face before with acne
Acne often goes away naturally after puberty, but some people will continue to deal with acne into adulthood.

Acne (acne vulgaris) is a common skin condition characterized by chronic or recurrent development of pimples, pustules, papules, or nodules on the skin. 

Acne is common among adolescents and young adults but it can happen to anyone at any age. Acne often goes away naturally after puberty, but some people will continue to deal with acne into adulthood. 

Natural treatments to help acne go away include: 

  • Wash twice daily and after sweating; rinse with lukewarm water
  • Use gentle, non-abrasive cleanser and other products and apply gently with fingertips
    • Look for alcohol-free products
    • Don’t scrub skin
    • Avoid washcloths and sponges, which can irritate the skin
    • Products that irritate skin can aggravate acne
  • Don’t pick, pop, or squeeze pimples
    • This may push bacteria deeper into the skin, resulting in more redness and swelling due to infection
    • Picking can make acne take longer to go away and can increase the risk of scarring and pitting
    • Let the skin heal naturally
  • Avoid touching your face because bacteria on the fingers and under the fingernails can enter pores and cause acne
  • Shampoo oily hair daily
  • Avoid the sun and tanning beds
    • Ultraviolet (UV) light damages the skin
    • Some acne medications make the skin sensitive to UV light

Medical treatments for acne include: 

  • Topical (on the skin) medications, available both over-the-counter (OTC) and by prescription
    • Benzoyl peroxide
    • Salicylic acid
    • Retinoids
    • Azelaic acid 
    • Antibiotics such as clindamycin
    • Combinations of benzoyl peroxide plus a retinoid or a topical antibiotic 
  • Corticosteroid injections
    • Used to get rid of deep, painful acne cysts or nodules
    • Relieves pain and inflammation quickly
    • Usually used for a single, painful cyst or nodule and not used to treat multiple blemishes at the same time due to possible side effects such as scarring
  • Hormonal birth control pill or patch approved to treat acne may be used in females
  • Laser or light therapy
    • May help clear acne
    • Works best combined with other acne treatments

What Causes Acne?

Acne is caused by clogged pores, which may be caused by: 

  • Hormones 
    • Common during puberty and adolescence, when hormones increase
  • Inflammation 
  • Genetics
    • Often runs in families
  • Stress 
    • Stress can affect hormones
    • This occurs more often in females than males

How Is Acne Diagnosed?

Acne is diagnosed by a dermatologist with a skin examination. 

Other skin conditions can resemble acne, but are not, and need different treatment. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis of your skin condition from a dermatologist to rule out conditions that resemble acne, such as: 

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Reviewed on 6/3/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/treatment-of-acne-vulgaris?search=acne&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/pathogenesis-clinical-manifestations-and-diagnosis-of-acne-vulgaris?search=acne&source=search_result&selectedTitle=2~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=2