The BBC Self-help Guide offers the following advice for preventing and treating the symptoms of acne:
- Cleanse the affected skin twice a day with an antibacterial face wash. Tea tree or neem products are ideal. Witch hazel is another potent skin cleanser.
- Keep your hands and nails clean. Avoid touching your face and never squeeze spots as this can spread infection and lead to scarring.
- Treat spots by applying a small amount of tea tree oil on a cotton bud. Use sparingly, though, and do a skin test first on an area away from the face. Don't use near the eyes.
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits and wholegrains. Keep saturated fats, sugar, junk food to a minumum and avoid excess animal or dairy products.
- Have a daily intake of zinc-rich foods (found in wholegrains, pulses, nuts and seeds, fish and poultry) or supplement with zinc citrate or zinc picolinate (30mg to 50mg a day) every evening taken on its own with water.
- Reduce tea and coffee intake and increase your water intake to at least six glasses a day.
- Take regular exercise and practise deep breathing; both help to release impurities from the skin.
The British Association for Dermatologists adds that excessive washing can make things worse and that acne is nothing to do with what you eat. See the British Association for Dermatologists website for more details.