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Acne DO's & DON'TS

Updated: May 23, 2020

· When applying topical medications to the face, use the "5-dot"method. Take a small pea-sized amount and place dots in each of the 5 locations of your face: mid-forehead, each cheek, nose and chin. Then rub in. You should not see a "film" of the medication on your skin. If you do, you're probably applying too much.

· Topical medications may lead to dryness in the areas where you are applying them. This almost always improves as your skin gets used to the medication (about 2-3 weeks).

· Some tips to get you through this time include waiting 15-20 minutes after washing before applying the topical medications and starting out with use every 2-3 days, gradually working up to “every day “ use.


· Washing your face is part of taking good care of your skin. Good skin care habits are important and support the medications your doctor prescribes for your acne.

· Wash your face twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening (which includes the showers you take).

· Avoid over-washing / over-scrubbing your face as this will not improve the acne and may lead to dryness and irritation, which can interfere with your medications.

· In general, milder soaps and cleansers are better for acne prone skin.

· Acne washes may contain salicylic acid which may cause dryness. Scrubbing with a washcloth or loofah is also not advised as this can irritate and inflame your acne.

· If you use make-up or sunscreen make sure that these products are labeled “non-comedogenic”. Best to ask me, your dermatologist, for recommendations.

· DO NOT “pop” or prick your pimples. This can delay healing and may lead to scarring or leave dark spots. This can also cause infection. I DO NOT recommend “facials” during the acute stage of acne. This can be done when you have started your acne medications for at least 1 month and has improved by at least 50%.

· Wash or change pillow cases at least 1x a week, especially if you use hair products.

· If you play sports, try to wash right away when you are done.


· Apply your medications on clean, dry skin.

· It is the combination of medicines that helps make the acne go away, not any single medication.

· The medications are not vanishing creams. They are not magic potions that instantly remove acne! They take weeks to months to take effect. Be PATIENT and use your medicines on a daily basis or as directed for six weeks before you ask whether your skin looks better. Try not to miss more than one or two days of application each week. Never stop putting on the medicine just because the acne is better. 

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