Lindsey Emery, a freelance editor in Portland, Ore., asked about her bumpy skin. We passed her question on to Julie Harper, MD, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Paul M. Friedman, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Texas, Houston, and author of Beautiful Skin Revealed: The Ultimate Guide to Better Skin.
Q: I've noticed small red bumps on my face, jawline, and neck. Could it be rosacea? Or is it acne?
Shower as soon as you can after any activity that causes heavy sweating, especially sports.
Try keeping your hair off your face. Having hair hanging in your face can cause a breakout. Washing your hair every day may help.
Try not to scrub or pick at your pimples. This can make them worse and can cause scars.
For mild acne
Mild acne, with a few pimples that clear up on their own, may not need any medical treatment. Try an acne cream with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. These work best when used just the way the label says.
It can take time to get acne under control. But if you haven't had good results with nonprescription products after trying them for 3 months, see your doctor. A prescription gel or skin cream may be all you need.
For moderate or severe acne
Moderate acne can mean more pimples or skin that always has breakouts. Severe acne can mean hundreds of pimples that cover the face, neck, chest, and back, or bigger, solid red lumps that are painful (cysts). For moderate or severe acne, call your doctor. There are medical treatments that can help get acne under control. And getting treatment early may prevent acne from getting worse or from causing scars.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology
February 3, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
February 03, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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