If you have acne, scrubbing your face with soap and water may be one of the worst things you can do, according to a study by dermatologists at the University of Utah. The findings are in sharp contrast to standard recommendations. Washing makes the skin drier, the researchers reported in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. In their study, dry or brittle skin was found to be the biggest reason acne failed to clear. Acne, which inflicts most teenagers, occurs when oily glands that are part of hair follicles clog, leading to formation of blackheads and pimples. the standard treatment has been frequent washing with soap and water to remove oil, loosen blackheads and dry the skin. However, said the Utah team, "We challenge the historical belief by physicians that acne should be treated by purposeful irritation of the skin to produce peeling and dryness." In its study of 118 acne sufferers, the Utah team formed three groups. One got the standard treatment of washing plus doses of tetracycline, an antibiotic, while the other two used either a speical nondrying soap or a nonwater cleanser and medicated creams. The researchers found the soap-and-water therapy least effective. In addition, they concluded that the use of tetracycline, while safe, is "not essential."