Unfortunately, many of the conventional acne skincare products, particularly those aimed at teenagers, can exacerbate the problem of active acne rather than helping to clear it up.

Many of these products are astringent and contain chemicals or ingredients that are simply too harsh for the skin. Using them regularly can affect the skin in two ways:

• As the products strip the skin of its natural oils, the body reacts by trying to replace them. Sebum production is increased and this has the unfortunate result of increasing the likelihood of spots forming.

• The astringent effects of these products can also leave the skin dry and dehydrated, causing dead skin cells to flake away unevenly and inefficiently. This creates the perfect conditions for active acne to worsen rather than improve, as the skin ends up with both increased skin cell production and increased sebum production.

Acne-prone skin must be treated gently and with great care. The kinds of products mentioned above will only make your skin increasingly fragile and prone to damage, and leave you more and more frustrated as your acne worsens rather than improves.