How to treat mild acne:
Acne is a problem that over 80% of teenagers will deal with at some point during adolescence. Mild cases of acne can be managed with over the counter products, however choosing the right regimen can be a daunting task with so many options available. Here are a few helpful hints to get you started on the right path.
1. Use a benzoyl peroxide cleanser twice each day. I usually recommend PanOxyl 10% creamy acne wash that is sold at most drugstores. Benzoyl peroxide is drying, so you can expect some minor peeling at first.
2. Add a topical retinoid such as Differin 0.01% gel (now available without a prescription) at bedtime. Differin gel will help to unclog pores by chemically exfoliating the outermost layer of skin. Expect some dryness and peeling for the first 8 to 12 weeks. If you notice moderate peeling or dryness reduce the frequency and use Differin gel every other night.
3. Avoid heavy moisturizers and make up as this will clog pores and make acne worse. If you must use a moisturizer or make up, use products that are light weight, oil free, and “non comedogenic”.
Sometimes despite using over the counter acne treatments consistently for 8 to 12 weeks, acne does not improve much. It is important to realize that people who suffer from more severe acne will likely not be able to manage this problem successfully with over the counter acne products. People who have moderate to severe acne should be seen by a dermatologist as this type of acne may leave scars that can be almost impossible to treat. Moderate and severe cases of acne may be treated with stronger prescription strength topicals, oral antibiotics, hormonal treatments, or isotretinoin. If you are concerned about acne that has not improved with over the counter medications, please schedule an appointment here at Dermatology P.A. where we can get you started on the right treatment plan.
Beth Dougherty, NP-C