The easiest thing you can do is start cleaning your face (gently!) with warm water and soap. Twice a day should do the trick -- more than that, and you might just agitate your skin into a breakout. This will help clear the pores of dead skin cells and excess sebum.
If you break a sweat, be sure to shower as soon as possible afterward to prevent excessive oil buildup on your skin.
Loosen up -- with your attitude and your clothing. Nobody is insisting you turn into a laid-back hep cat, but tight clothing, straps, bandages and the like can all irritate the skin. Stress -- while not a primary culprit -- does seem to contribute to acne breakouts, perhaps by disrupting your hormone levels.
Try using some over-the-counter acne medications. These often come in creams, gel tubes or medicated pads and often contain either benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. These two substances help prevent acne in different ways:
- Benzoyl peroxide kills P. acnes bacteria and also dries out the face (even leading to mild peeling), which many believe helps prevent acne.
- Salicylic acid works to help the follicles clear themselves of dead and dying skin cells.
Both of these substances are available in varying strengths. You should start out with just a little bit of the weakest kind available, and see how your skin reacts. Many people find that one or the other works miracles, but of course all of us are different and react in different ways to medications.
With any luck, these measures will prevent you from having an acne breakout. If not, head on over to the next section to learn how to get rid of acne once it's crashed the party.