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Dr. Shaw’s Daily Cheapskate Acne Prevention Routine

Acne is one of several personal skin problems. I use the following on family members and myself. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS PROCESS to anyone!! I suggest that you see practitioners in the below two dermatology practices for proper acne diagnosis and treatment plan. The below might help you understand the tactics behind any of their treatment plans. This website might have some interesting natural cures. Key RULE: Do you have oily or dryer skin, naturally? Do not complicate the acne problem with (1) "dry skin" problems or (2) acid poor skin (due to residual alkaline soap.

  • Cleansing: (1) wash the acne area with hands plus mild soap & water & (2) rinse thoroughly to be sure to get every single bit of soap off; dry quickly…and then immediately,
  • Kill the bacteria & yeasts: with green alcohol (which will also dry out skin cells) mixed with a tiny amount of lemon juice (to be sure that the skin is naturally "acid"), plus:
  • Moisturize the skin cells: some moisturizing (not anything about oil or “oily” on bottle) lotion to immediately stop & reverse the drying effect of alcohol on the skin surface cells. I pre-mix the alcohol & moisturizer lotion (by the way, this is a very good underarm deodorant).
  • Calm the irritated skin: for some reason, magnesium hydroxide "calms" the irritated skin. Shake up a bottle of milk of magnesia and apply to the area of acne stimulated skin irritation & let it dry. With a little experimentation, you may need to dilute it enough before smearing on the irritated area so that the dried film does not show up, say, on your face.


(1)   Blackheads: These must be removed & done so as blackheads that are not red. Hydrate (wet with warm moist cloth 5 minutes) the surface & then quickly warm wash & blot dry and then squeeze carefully, broadly and gently. Be careful not to injure the skin (especially if you are white but with a darker complexion...injury can cause pigment to drop into deeper skin and leave a dark blemish)! Be satisfied for that attempt at what comes out EASILY. Go after the rest at another time.

(2) Acne outbreak: If I had a prominent outbreak of acne with pus heads on many, I'd be tempted to use a treatment of two with the dilute clorox solution after opening and draining the pus heads, HERE.


  • extract blackheads already present (I have used the plastic housing of ballpoint pens with ink point removed; you may be able to purchase extractors [such as Schamberg or Zeepk] on e-Bay or other sites searching "comedone extractor")
  • topical medicine: use an extremely thin amount of some retinoid-like (adapalene 0.1% cream, Differin) @ night  (this is the gentlest topical & there are more powerful ones if needed). Don't use if pregnant (here is a website with cautions about it) & it may increase risk of sunburn. If using the above alcohol & moisturizing mix, be sure to choose moisturizer WITHOUT alpha hydroxy or glycolic acid. If skin gets too dry, use some moisturizer alone when you sense the dryness.
  • cleanse: use the above cleansing routine

(2)   Red pimple: DO NOT SQUEEZE! It must get a “head” on it first. Tiny spot of “make-up” on it might camouflage it until gets a head.  Put alcohol on “head”, alcohol on a needle, and then sideways prick just the head. Squeeze stuff out gently, alcohol on it, and then a little greasy stuff (Vaseline or Bacitracin) so it won’t “seal” a scab too quickly. Want it to drain & stay relatively unsealed & heal from deep to surface. Worse results if you squeeze & stuff shoots down into deep skin instead of out onto skin surface.


  • oral antibiotic: Initially for 6 weeks, Doxycycline 100 mg tablets, twice per day WITH MEAL (or you might get nausea & vomit it back up) & then to a maintenance dose of 50-150 mg once per day; should not use if ANY chance you are pregnant or could become pregnant; it can also make you sunburn easier. See $4 [30 day] & $10 [90 day] prescriptions @ Walmart. About this drug HERE. Tablets can be cut into smaller doses.

(3)   Closed whitehead: Leave it alone. DO NOT SQUEEZE. If you must do something, make an almost microscopic prick of the thinnest skin OVER THE TOP of it…this puts a tiny break in the skin barrier; then squeeze gently so as to urge the whitehead to the surface. If it does not immediately pop out…STOP!! Put a dab of alcohol on it & quickly a dab of moisturizer lotion & rub in. Leave it alone 24 hours or more.

(4)   ADVERSE CONSEQUENCES OF HARSH SQUEEZING: If you scrape the skin surface or otherwise cause bleeding & a scab, you run the risk of permanent scarring. If you cause it to get infected by picking & squeezing, you run the risk of permanent scarring and even death by bloodstream infection. If you are dark-complexioned AT ALL, either of these injuries will likely leave permanent pigment spots...even constant severe mashing without visible skin damage might cause pigment spots.


Recommended Lexington County dermatology practices:


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(posted 2005; latest additions 6 July 2015)