AcneNet Article
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 treatment.

For everyone treating acne, including those seeing a dermatologist

  1. Never pop, squeeze, or pick acne. Popping and squeezing pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, and cysts tends to make acne worse. All 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.
     

  2. Avoid abrasive soap, facial scrub, toner, 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.
     

  3. 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.

    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 dryness.
     

  4. 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.
     

  5. 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.
     

  6. 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.
     

  7. 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.
     

  8. 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.
     

  9. 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.


All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology

It could be what you are doing and not the acne treatment you are using that is preventing you from seeing clearer skin.

 
 

 

 
 

 

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Page last updated 1/14/09

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