Taking Care of Your Skin During Acne Treatments Ask the Expert

Ask the Expert
Ted Schiff, M.D.
Nayomi Omura, M.D.
Dwayne Montie, D.O.
Clarnuelyn “Bebe” Pajo Silao, M.D.
Justin Platzer, M.D.
John Minni, D.O.
Danica Alexander, D.O.
David Drachman, M.D.
Matthew Elias, D.O.
Merrick Elias, D.O.
Jeffrey Johnson, PA-C, DSDPA
Mark Leach, PA-C
Beth Paulison Mitchell, PA-C, DSDPA
Gerry Emanuel, ARNP, DCNP
Rick Gagnon, PA-C
Anna Pace Iskandar, PA-C, DSDPA
Sharon Barrineau, ARNP, DCNP
Lucinda Faulkner, ARNP
Sandra Montie, PA-C, DSDPA
Glena Maggart, ARNP, DCNP
Shanna Stone, ARNP
Shawn Schenk,
Permanent Makeup
Kyra Sullivan,
CAC, Licensed Esthetician
Taking Care of Your Skin During
Acne Treatments
Please review the below guide provided by the American
Academy of Dermatology.
12 Ways to Get Better Results from Acne Treatment
Effective Acne Treatment Often Requires More Than Medication
Do you wish that your acne medication left you with clearer skin?
Better results may not come from trying the latest acne treatment or a
stronger acne-fighting cream — but from making some simple changes.
For those seeing a dermatologist:
1. Use your acne treatments exactly as prescribed. Acne only clears when
the treatment targets everything that is causing the acne. Since most acne
medications target only 1 or 2 causes, 2 or 3 products are often necessary. To
see clearer skin, these products must be used as prescribed.
2. Stop using acne treatments not prescribed by your dermatologist.
Using acne products that are not part of the treatment plan prescribed by
your dermatologist can irritate your skin. Irritated skin usually leads to more
breakouts. For best results, dermatologists recommend using only the
acne-fighting products and medications in your treatment plan.
3. Speak up. Dermatologists do not want patients to feel confused about
acne treatment. If you do not understand something, ask about it. If an
acne treatment option not prescribed by your dermatologist interests you,
be sure to mention it. Asking questions is often the answer to effective acne
For everyone treating acne, including those seeing a dermatologist:
4. Never pop, squeeze, or pick acne. Popping and squeezing pimples,
whiteheads, blackheads, and cysts tend to make acne worse. What this does
is make the acne last longer. This can make it difficult to see clearer skin no
matter what treatment you are using. Trying to get rid of a pimple by popping
or picking also can lead to scarring, which can be permanent.
5. Avoid abrasive soap, facial scrub, astringent, and masks.
These can irritate the skin, and irritated skin is more likely to break out.
Irritated skin also makes it more difficult to tolerate acne medication. A
mild cleanser used twice a day to wash the skin is actually more effective for
controlling acne and preventing breakouts.
6. Do not scrub your skin clean. While scrubbing away oil and grime may
seem like a good idea, scrubbing actually irritates acne-prone skin. Irritating
the skin generally leads to breakouts.
7. When washing the skin, use lukewarm (not hot) water and gently apply
a mild cleanser with your fingertips. Washcloths and puffs tend to be too
abrasive. Limiting washing to twice a day can help reduce irritation and
8. Wait 5 to 15 minutes to apply acne medication. Applying acne medication
right after you shower or wash your face can irritate the skin and lead to
breakouts. Wet skin is most absorbent. To avoid irritation, dermatologists
recommend waiting 5 to 15 minutes before applying acne medication.
9. Use only oil-free skin care and hair care products. Makeup, hair gel, and
other products used by people with acne-prone skin should not contain oil.
Oil tends to clog pores and lead to breakouts. Look for products that are
labeled “oil free,” “nonacnegenic,” or “noncomedogenic.” This means the
product does not clog pores.
10. Apply acne medication before makeup. Wearing an oil-free makeup is
fine, but make sure it does not prevent the acne medication from working.
Makeup should always be applied after topical acne medication.
11. Continue using the medication when skin clears. To keep skin blemish
free, most people with acne need to continue using at least 1 acne medication.
If you have been using an over-the-counter product, you may be able to taper
your use to a few times a week.
12. Gently cleanse skin after sweating. Sweating, especially under a hat or
helmet, can aggravate acne-prone skin. Gently cleansing the skin as quickly
as possible afterwards can help prevent breakouts. When cleansing the skin,
avoid the temptation to rub or scrub sweat from the skin. This can irritate the
skin and cause breakouts.
Give acne-fighting products enough time to work. As a rule of thumb, it takes
6 to 8 weeks before you begin to see an improvement. Improvement does not
mean blemish-free skin, but a noticeable difference. It generally takes about 6
months to see clear skin.
Effective Treatment Possible
Tremendous gains have been made in acne treatment. Today, virtually every
case of acne can be resolved. If these tips do not help clear your skin, speak
with a dermatologist.
American Academy of Dermatology, 09/19/2011. 12 Ways to Get Better Results from Acne Treatment.
Retrieved from http://www.skincarephysicians.com/acnenet/twelve_results.html
Additional Tips from Water’s Edge Dermatology:
1. Don’t forget your sunscreen! Most acne medications will make your skin
more sensitive to sunlight. If not properly protected you could burn. A
daily moisturizer with sunscreen that is oil free and non-comedogenic will
be helpful. Separate applications, as well as sun protective clothing will be
necessary for any extended outdoor exposures.
2. Toner pads. Helps to reduce the number of acne
blemishes and blackheads by accelerating the removal
of dead skin cells that can interfere with proper
oil drainage of the skin. By keeping oils off the
skin during the day leads to less “clogged pores” or
comedones and provides a less attractive environment
for acne causing bacteria.
3. Be mindful of stress and nutrition levels. Stress causes excess hormonal
fluctuations that can cause changes in your skin making it harder to resolve
your acne. Care for yourself by finding activities to reduce your stress levels.
Healthy balanced diets can also aide in your treatment regimen.
4. Chemical peels can be applied by your provider if your are a candidate.
Treatment with a chemical peel opens clogged pores and lightens marks left
behind by previous breakouts.
Most important tip of all, do not give up. There are many new advances
in skin care and acne treatment. Waters Edge Dermatology providers are
dedicated in finding personalized treatment regimens for those suffering
from acne.
American Academy of Dermatology, 09/19/2011. 12 Ways to Get Better Results from Acne
Treatment. Retrieved from http://www.skincarephysicians.com/acnenet/twelve_results.html