* Wash your face regularly–about two to three times a day. Scrubbing too hard or too often can dry the skin too much and cause soreness. Using your hands, a wash-cloth, or a very gentle buffer. Definitely not a loofah and definitely not an electric skin machine. These make very fine cuts in the face.

* Don’t pick and squeeze. Of course you want to. A little tiny scab probably seems more appealing than a big white pimple. The problem is picking and squeezing means scarring, and using your bacteria-laden fingernails could result in a nasty infection. So try not to pick, and never dig at pimples that you’ve tried to squeeze.

* Eat sensibly and drink lots of water. A bad diet isn’t going to do your skin any good.

* Look for cosmetics labeled “noncomedogenic.” This means they are free of oil and other ingredients that can clog pores.

* Be aware of these potential acne aggravators: too much sun, heavy sweating (wash up right after a workout), direct contact with sports equipment like chin straps and headbands, menstrual periods, leaning your face on your hands, and some medications (check with your doctor if you suspect this problem).

* Try managing outbreaks with over-the-counter (OTC) products such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid preparations, acne soaps, or sulfur lotions.

* See a dermatologist if the acne persists or resists OTC treatment.

* Definitely see a dermatologist if you have heavy duty acne that develops into large cysts. This kind of acne can cause severe scarring without treatment, whether you pick and squeeze or not.