Top 5 Acne Mistakes - Dr. Nikoleta

Top 5 Acne Mistakes

Hello, tribe! I hope you all are having a wonderful day! 

Before we get started, I just want to say how thankful I am for this community. Creating this podcast and sharing these skincare tips with you all gives me so much joy. Taking care of your skin can be difficult in the wintertime, especially if you typically have dry skin. But by following these skincare tips, you can have the skin of your dreams even in these cold months

Since it’s gotten colder, you may have experienced uncomfortable dryness with your skin. Or maybe your skin is super oily, resulting in acne. Everyone assumes that acne stops after puberty, but that’s just not the case. Acne is something a lot of adults struggle with year-round. The good news is that there are several steps you can take to avoid acne production. You’re more in control of your skincare success than you think! 

In today’s episode, I’m giving you an update on my life as well as the top five acne mistakes to avoid like the plague. We’ve focused a lot on dry skin lately, so I wanted to share some tips about oily skin as well! Let’s get started, tribe!

Quick Life Update

It’s the end of January, and this month has been full of exciting new developments for this community. I’ve been working on a new website and some new branding, which I’m super excited to share with you very soon! I’ll also share some sneak peeks of an amazing course I’m releasing for all of you.

Tribe, I’m so excited. I’ve been working on these things for so long, and it almost feels like I’m about to have a new baby. At the same time, I’m really in the trenches with everything I’ve got going on. As you all know, I’m in a dermatopathology fellowship and also work a full-time job as a physician. On top of that, I’m a mom and a wife. Every day after work, I put my son to bed and get started on my personal projects and business endeavors. Even though it’s hard sometimes, I really wouldn’t have it any other way. This is what I love to do.

Keep an eye out for all the exciting changes coming in the next few months! I’ll be releasing more information in upcoming episodes as well. And again, thank you so much for your support, tribe. It matters so much to me, and it keeps me working hard! 

Now, let’s dive into the topic of this episode: the top five acne mistakes. As we go through these together, start making a checklist in your brain so that whenever you go through your skincare routine, you know how to avoid these mistakes. Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Top Acne Mistake #1: Not Changing Your Pillowcase

This is a simple mistake that many people make — not changing their pillowcases. Dirt, oil, and build-up can accumulate on the surfaces of your pillowcase and the sheets you sleep on. And of course, the same can be said for other things you use on your face, such as towels and washcloths.

Pillowcases, towels, washcloths, and other fabrics you use on your face should be cleaned regularly to prevent an unneeded acne breakout. I recommend cleaning these at least once a week, and if you want to go the extra mile for your skin, clean them twice a week! You can put a little sticky note on your bathroom mirror to remind you. When you make this habit, you’re one step closer to having acne-free skin.

Top Acne Mistake #2: Picking Pimples 

Tribe, I can’t say this enough: DON’T pick pimples, please. I know it’s tempting, but don’t do it. Picking pimples can induce infection and worsen swelling, which obviously leads to increased redness, residual pigmentation, and, worst of all, acne scarring. Some people may believe that popping pimples is the easiest and fastest way to get rid of them, but that’s simply not true. 

Acne scarring is VERY hard to treat once it’s occurred, but it’s easy to prevent by resisting the urge to pick your pimples (or your spouse’s pimples). Pimples are annoying and tender, but if you leave them alone, they will eventually go away with help from your board-certified dermatologist! However, if you pick at them continuously, you’ll be left with a permanent reminder on your face.

Top Acne Mistake #3: Using Scrubs 

I’ve had a lot of patients and people ask me, “What scrub is best for my skin? I’ve been using this scrub every day, twice a day, and my acne isn’t improving. What’s wrong?” 

Well, first of all, the scrub that they are using is most likely a physical exfoliator, right? In Episode #26, we discussed the difference between a chemical scrub and a physical scrub. Physical scrubs can be very harsh on your skin and make inflammation worse instead of better. And that’s not all — physical scrubs can lead to scarring and actually spread acne bacteria around your face, creating even more pimples. Yikes!

The bottom line is, avoid harsh physical scrubs when you can. If you’re not sure what qualifies as a physical scrub, check for beads or other rough materials in the bottle. These materials are meant to strip away dry, dead skin, but if you suffer from acne, they just end up spreading that bacteria all over your face. 

Instead, I recommend using cleansers such as Cetaphil and CeraVe — these cleansers are recommended by dermatologists everywhere. Additionally, you can ask your dermatologist what cleansers they recommend for your skin type

Top Acne Mistake #4: Not Moisturizing 

This is a very, very common acne mistake, and it’s all based on this misunderstanding: moisturization can make acne worse since acne-prone skin is already oily.

Tribe, that is simply not true.

You can have oily skin and dehydrated skin at the same time. Oily does NOT mean that your skin is over-moisturized. If you skip moisturization during your skincare routine, then your skin may start over-producing oil through its sebaceous glands to compensate for the dryness. When your skin over-produces oil, you may develop acne as a result, and who wants that?! 

Tribe, please don’t forget to moisturize your skin. It needs it — especially in the winter. Ask your dermatologist which moisturizer they recommend for your skin type, and make moisturization an essential part of your skincare routine. Again, moisturizer does not cause acne, so throw that myth into the garbage where it belongs! 

Top Acne Mistake #5: Waiting Too Long to See a Dermatologist 

If you’ve consistently struggled with acne, you need to see a dermatologist. Keep in mind that not all acne is created equal. There are certain types of acne, such as inflamed cystic nodular acne, that are very difficult to treat with over-the-counter products. You really need a dermatologist to guide you through the acne process. 

After examining your acne condition, your dermatologist will be able to make informed decisions about the treatment and products you need. Trust me — living with cystic acne is not worth it. By seeking treatment from a dermatologist, you’re one step closer to achieving the skin of your dreams. 

If you’re unsure of where to start, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via Instagram or my email, I’d be happy to give you more information about this process!

Step Out with Confidence® and Kick Acne to the Curb!

Tribe, you don’t deserve to have acne. You just don’t. The good news is, by avoiding these five mistakes, you’ll start kicking acne to the curb. Don’t forget to talk to your dermatologist about what products they recommend for your skin type — they are there to help you with any skincare concerns you may have and trust me, it’s their pleasure! 

In the meantime, if you have any questions about skincare tips, products, or what mistakes to avoid, you’re in luck because my new course coming out in a couple of months will be the answer to so many of your questions! I’d also love to know what topics you want to hear about on this podcast as well as guest recommendations, so please send them in and email! 

If you want to discuss what you’re learning with other like-minded individuals, I’ve got something for you: the Millennial Doc Community. It’s an exclusive Facebook group of individuals who are eager to collaborate, learn, and grow together in all things health — physically, mentally, relationally, and professionally. We would love to have you join us!

One last thing — it would mean the world to me for you to subscribe to the Millennial Doc podcast and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Ratings and reviews help more people like you find this podcast and start achieving the skin of their dreams! 

Now, tribe, go Step Out with Confidence® and achieve that glowing, acne-free skin of your dreams. It’s definitely possible for you, and what’s more — you deserve it. I love you all! Have a great day! 


I am a board-certified dermatologist, CEO and Founder of Healthy Skin Blueprint, an acclaimed podcast host, best-selling author, and nationally recognized skin, hair, and nails expert. Welcome to the Skin Talk with Dr. Nikoleta blog.


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