In the United States, consumers spend over $3 million dollars a year on over the counter acne treatments and an estimated $3 billion more on acne medication prescriptions, treatments, and office visits.

If you are using medications prescribed for acne, it’s important to know that patience and consistency are the primary keys to your success. Here are four easy tips for a successful acne therapy regimen.


Adhere and Comply with a Medication Regimen

A busy lifestyle or non-adherence to a systematic skin care plan increases the rate of failure of acne treatment. Developing a medication regimen that is simple and easy to follow can increase the chances that you will see results. And, if you are like most of us, positive results can help you to continue your treatment as needed.

Remember, it takes time for products to work and for our body to heal. It may take anywhere from 6-8 weeks to see improvement. The use of your medication must continue daily — even if improvement is not visible to the eye.


Use Medication Properly

Unless otherwise directed by your physician, you should apply the medication to the entire affected area and surrounding areas versus “spot” therapy. This ensures that all areas are properly treated. Typically, only a “thin layer” should be applied. Using the medication too much or too frequently can cause irritation.

Because many of the medications used on the skin cause photosensitivity, or sensitivity to sunlight, it’s important to apply sunscreen before exposing your skin to sun.


Know Your Skin Type & Minimize Irritants

If you have sensitive skin, you may want to ask for a gentler formulation or lesser strength of a prescribed medication. In this case, alcohol-free preparations and single agent medications are best. Avoid harsh scrubs, irritating agents such as toners, and acne products that are not part of your prescribed regimen. Over-the-counter medicines and topical treatments can interact or be duplications in therapy, so discontinue use of these.

Non-comedogenic moisturizers, or moisturizers that do not contain ingredients that are known to clog pores, can be used if your skin is dry.


Avoid Exacerbation

Squeezing, pinching or picking blemishes will not help to correct or speed up the healing process and can lead to the development of scars or dark spots. Although it is tempting to think a little picking or scratching won’t hurt; it will. Do not damage your skin further.


So there you have it! Following these simple tips will put you on the path for success in overcoming unwanted acne. To learn about factors that influence acne, check out our previous blog post here: Acne Vulgaris and Acne Rosacea.

To speak with a pharmacist about your current acne regimen, or to discuss a skin related issue, contact us!

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