If you have been prescribed medication for the treatment of acne, the following tips will help to keep your skin healthy during treatment.
Adhere and Comply with Medication Regimen
Create a schedule and routine for your skincare. Adults with a busy lifestyle, and teens who are not intentional about their skincare often fail to adhere to the prescribed plan of treatment. Creating a medication regimen that is simple and easy to follow consistently can increase the chances that you will continue the treatment for as long as needed.
Using a combination product (versus two or more individual products) can help to make your routine less daunting. Do remember that it may take anywhere from 6-8 weeks to see improvement. Medication use must continue daily, even if improvement is not visible.
Properly Use Medication
Avoid spot treatment. Unless otherwise directed by your physician, you should apply medication to the entire affected area and surrounding areas to ensure that all skin is being treated. Typically, only a "thin layer" should be applied. Be careful not to overuse the medication as applying too frequently may irritate the skin.
Wash hands thoroughly after applying your medication. Apply sunscreen in the morning or when exposed to sunlight. This is an important step because many of the medicines used on the skin cause photosensitivity.
Know Your Skin Type and Minimize Irritants
If you have sensitive skin, begin with a gentler formulation or request a lesser strength for the medication. Alcohol-free preparations and single-agent medications are best in these cases.
Azelaic acid and sulfacetamide are the most suitable option for sensitive skin. Avoid harsh scrubs or irritating agents such as toners and acne products that are not part of your prescribed regimen.
Over-the-counter (OTC) products that you apply to the skin may interact or be duplications in therapy. It's best to discontinue the use of these products during your prescribed treatment.
Non-comedogenic moisturizers can be used if skin is dry.
See our Blog Comedogenicity 101: Do You Know What's In Your Skin Care Products? for a chart that details ingredients and their comedogenic potential.
Picking and squeezing lesions will not help correct or speed up the healing process and may spread the infection or cause the affected area to swell. Aggravating the skin by picking or peeling can also result in permanent scarring.
Following these steps and scheduling, regular appointments with your dermatologist will place you on the path for success in overcoming unwanted acne.