3 steps for an effective acne skin care regime



Follow this simple acne skin care regime to regain your confidence

Many people believe that acne is caused by poor hygiene. People with acne also tend to wash their skin excessively to try to reduce oiliness instead of using an acne skin care regime. It’s important to know that there is no evidence that frequent or infrequent washing has any effect on acne.


Acne fact: Excessive cleansing and scrubbing can aggravate acne. A good acne regime involves cleansing correctly, treating acne lesions, protecting your skin to retain moisture, and preventing environmental damage by using sunscreen.


Step 1: Cleanse

Overzealous cleansing can damage the skin barrier and make your skin dry, rough and irritable. This can increase the bacteria on the skin, and cause burning and stinging. Your skin care routine should focus on gentle cleansing.

Tips for gentle cleansing:

Wash your face with a mild acne face wash or cleanser once in the morning and once in the evening or after heavy exercise. Wash from under the jaw to the hairline and be sure to rinse your skin thoroughly.

Choose acne treatment products labelled ‘non-comedogenic’ (meaning they don’t promote the formation of closed pores), ‘soap-free’, ‘acidic’ or ‘pH-balanced’, free of abrasives or alcohols, and with high rinsability.

Cleansers come in the form of highly foaming or very rinsable, light, liquid wash-off products (which are somewhat drying) or light, less rinsed-off lotions or creams (which are less drying).


What about soaps?

Strong soaps: Using strong soaps or rough scrub pads is not helpful and can actually make the problem worse.

Astringents: are not recommended unless the skin is very oily, and should only be used on oily spots.

Antibacterial soaps: If they contain agents such as chlorhexidine or triclosan, they do not affect P acnes. These soaps can be irritating so are not recommended for acne skin. The exception is the benzoyl peroxide wash, which does suppress P acnes.


Step 2: Medicate

If your doctor has prescribed an ointment, it is important that you apply it over the entire affected area of your skin. Putting the ointment only on the spots you can see will not achieve the best results. Acne treatment products are very effective, but only when they are used correctly. Know that treatment needs time, and you may not see an improvement until after four to six weeks of therapy (sometimes longer). There is also a chance that the acne will worsen before it improves, but it is very important that you continue therapy.


Step 3: Moisturise

Moisturising prevents and reduces skin irritation, soothing the skin by slowing evaporation of water and preventing the skin from drying out. Many acne treatments can also dry out the skin. Many moisturisers do not contain ingredients which irritate the skin and do not block the skin’s pores. They can even enhance the penetration of acne creams. Moisturisers can also be combined with sunscreen.

You may need to change some of the cosmetics you use, making sure that they are oil free. You should also avoid rubbing and touching skin lesions. Squeezing, pinching or picking blemishes can lead to the development of scars or dark blotches.

So remember, a good acne skin care regime is a great step to healthy skin. Three easy steps – cleanse, medicate and moisturise – can go a long way to protecting your skin while you are using skin care treatment.



  1. Gollnick H, Cunliffe W, Berson D, Drew B, Finlay A, Leyden JJ, et al. Management of Acne. A Report From the
    Global Alliance to Improve Outcomes in Acne. J Am Acad Dermatol 2003;49 (1):S1-S37.
  2. Goodman G. Cleansing and Moisturising in Acne Patients. Am J Clin Dermatol 2009;10 (1):1-6.
  3. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Conditions. Acne. NIH Publication No. 15-4998.
    Available from URL: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Acne/. Cited 23 February 2016.
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    Insights into the management of acne: An update from the Global Alliance to Improve Outcomes in Acne
    Group. J Am Acad Dermatol 2009;60:S1-S50
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Written by Lauren Espach
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