Acne: skin care while using acne treatments
Many treatments for acne, both topical (surface) and oral medicines, can cause dryness, redness and irritation. This is because your doctor has deliberately selected active ingredients to reduce oiliness and build-up of dead skin cells in the pores, which are known to be factors that contribute to acne lesions.
It is important to know that dryness is expected, and usually means that the treatments are working.
Your skin care regimen should include:
- active treatment; and
- sun protection.
- Choose a soap-free cleanser for sensitive skin types (not one for acne, unless specifically advised by your doctor).
- Cleanse your face twice a day, using your cleanser to also remove make-up.
- Don’t wash your face directly under the shower head (this can lead to excessive dryness and redness).
- Avoid cleansers with added herbs, fragrances, vitamins, fruity acids, etc.
- Don’t use exfoliants, Buf-Pufs, alcohol or acne wipes, toners, scrubs, granules, masks, peels, steams or have facials (check with your doctor first if in doubt).
- Don't squeeze or pick at acne pimples.
- It is important to moisturise whenever necessary, even if you have acne, because otherwise your skin may not be able to cope with the treatments that have been suggested to you.
- Try to moisturise twice a day, with extra ‘top ups’ during the day if necessary.
- It’s best to moisturise immediately after washing your face, before any treatments or sunscreens are applied.
- Use oil-free, non-comedogenic lotions i.e. those less likely to clog the pores of the skin.
- Again, try to avoid products with additives.
3. Active treatment
Your doctor will recommend active treatment for your acne, depending on your individual needs.
4. Sun protection
- Many acne treatments will leave your skin sensitive to the sun (this is temporary).
- Wear a broad-brimmed hat, stay out of the full sun, especially between 10am and 2pm (11am and 3pm summer time) and use a sunscreen.
- Sunscreens should ideally be SPF 30+ or higher, broad spectrum and applied every 2 hours when outdoors.
- Some sunscreens can aggravate acne, so trial and error may be required.
- It’s best to choose oil-free formulations.
Last Reviewed: 26 November 2012
- 1.Acne: pathogenesis, specific considerations and advice for patients [Revised Feb 2009]. In: eTG complete [Internet]. Melbourne: Therapeutic Guidelines Ltd; 2012 Nov.
http://online.tg.org.au/complete/ (accessed Dec 2012)