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Living with - Acne

Although acne cannot be cured but you can control it with treatment.

If you have mild acne, talk to a pharmacist for advice.

Non-urgent advice: Talk to your GP if:

  • your acne is severe or appears on your chest and back

Caring for your skin and acne


  • wash the area where you have acne with a mild soap or cleanser and lukewarm water

  • wash your hair often and try not to let your hair fall across your face

  • use products that are water-based (non-comedogenic) - they are less likely to block the pores in your skin

  • remove your make-up before going to bed

  • use a fragrance-free, water-based emollient - if you have dry skin


  • do not try to clean out blackheads or squeeze spots - this can make them worse and cause permanent scarring

  • do not use very hot or cold water - it can make acne worse

  • do not wash the areas of skin where you have acne more than 2 times a day - washing too often can irritate your skin and make your acne worse

Covering scars with make-up

Make-up can help cover up scars and can be useful for scars on your face.

You can:

  • get camouflage make-up made to cover up scars from a pharmacy
  • ask your GP for advice

Join a support group

There are support groups and message boards online for people with acne.

They are usually run by other people with acne.

In a support group you can chat to other people who have the same problems. They can give you useful advice about living with acne.

This can help you with how you feel about yourself and help you feel less alone.

Exercise and healthy eating

Exercise and healthy eating are recommended for everyone, not just people with acne. They will not stop your acne. But moving more and eating healthy food can boost your mood and make you feel better about yourself.

Shower as soon as possible once you finish exercising, as sweat can irritate your acne.

Looking after your mental health

Having acne can make you feel down. You may also have feelings of anxiety and stress.

Some people worry about how their skin looks. They start to go out or meet people less often.

Sometimes this leads to depression.

Tips to help with low mood

Talk to your GP or skin specialist about your worries or anxieties. They understand that skin problems can make people feel this way. They will suggest treatment. This could be medicine or talking to a counsellor or other specialist.

If you think that you or your child may have depression, it's important to talk to your GP.

Helping a child or teenager with depression

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

Page last reviewed: 24 March 2023
Next review due: 24 March 2026

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.