The ideal step should be to apply the acne treatment before putting on the moisturizers. This is especially true if you are using something in liquid or serum form. So, to answer the question, it should be before the moisturizer.
Topical acne medications can be very confusing. It is always confusing as to which product should come first.
The confusion does not end there. There is also the question of which products still to use. Other people use serums on top of their basic regimen. Aside from the serums, there are also other additional acne medications.
But at the very least, one would be using topical acne cream. A moisturizer then follows this. Then comes the sunscreen.
It is thus important to understand the order by which one applies acne products.
For you to get the maximized results from each product, you should be familiar with this order.
Topical Acne Medications
This should always come first.
The topical acne medications have to be applied directly to your clean and dry skin. When we say dry, we don’t mean dehydrated. We hope that’s clear enough.
Anyway, putting this step first would allow the medications to be first absorbed by the skin. This way, the medication’s effect is maximized.
There is, however, one exception to this rule. And that is with the use of retinoids.
Retinoids can sometimes come first after the moisturizer. This is for the reason that we need to prevent the development of dryness in the skin. This is also another way to avoid skin irritation.
Save for the retinoids; the acne medication should come first.
Apply the Moisturizer
After the topical acne medications, the moisturizer should come next.
This should be something you apply to allow the acne medications to get into the skin first.
The moisturizer also has another role to play. And that is that it prevents the medications from drying out the skin.
Finally, we have sunscreen.
This should be the last that you apply to your skin.
And this should only come in after the acne medications and the moisturizer.
It is of great importance to have the moisturizer come with a lot of protection. This means that sunscreen should be able to protect your skin against both UVA and UVB rays.
Choose a sunscreen that comes with an SPF 30 or more.
That should be enough to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.
In general, there is one rule that you need to follow.
And this is something that is easier to remember.
The rule here when it comes to the order is to apply the thinnest first. The application should be from the thinnest to the thickest when it comes to consistency.
This would allow all creams to penetrate the skin first before the thicker one is then slathered.
How do you treat acne at home?
There are a lot of options. There are antibiotics, for starters. Then, there is something that you can put for moderate acne, which should be oral antibiotics. This should minimize the presence of bacteria. But there are a lot more options when treating acne. From oils to creams, the options can be endless.
Once in a while, we get to see treatments for acne available over the counter. You can use some of these products for many weeks without seeing any result.
When this happens, you can get yourself a doctor. A dermatologist would be able to help you with your concern.
A dermatologist would be able to help you control your acne. At the same time, he would also prevent your skin from getting scars and other damages. Plus, if there are scars, the dermatologist would ensure to make the scars less visible.
When it comes to acne medications, they generally do one thing. And that is to reduce the production of oil. The other thing it can do is to rid you of bacterial infection that causes acne.
Most prescription drugs work depending on how your body reacts to them. Some may have to wait for about four to eight weeks before seeing results. For others, the results may come in faster. Yet, some do not see results at all.
The treatment would be dependent on a lot of things. Age is one. Then, the doc would also have to consider how severe the acne is. Plus., there is the matter of how much you are willing to work to get rid of it.
And when it comes to the mode of treatment, there are a lot of options. The simplest would be washing the face and applying medications.
Another option is an oral medication. Sometimes, it can be a combination of both.
One would have to talk to the dermatologist about the risks of these medications. Discuss the risks as well as the benefits.
Here are the most common topical medications there are.
These are those that contain retinoid acids. Ideal for moderate acne, they are common as creams or gels. Sometimes, they also come in lotion forms.
This type of medication is usually applied in the evening. You start by doing it thrice weekly. Once your skin gets used to the medication, you can make daily applications.
This medication prevents you from clogging hair follicles.
Please note that this medication makes your skin more sensitive to the skin. It can also cause dry skin and redness.
Also, do not use tretinoin together with benzoyl peroxide.
Antibiotics work by getting you rid of excess skin bacteria. This then reduces redness and inflammation.
Some would use antibiotics and a retinoid in the first few months. The antibiotic is in the morning, the retinoid in the evening.
Usually, antibiotics get mixed with benzoyl peroxide. This would ensure that the body does not resist antibiotics.
Azelaic Acid or Salicylic Acid
Azelaic acid is something that naturally occurs. It is something produced by yeast and brings with it some antibacterial benefits.
A 20% azelaic acid cream-gel is as effective as any other treatment when used twice a day. You can use this twice daily.
There are side effects to this. This should include skin redness and minor skin irritations.
On the other hand, salicylic acids help you in getting rid of hair follicles. This type of medication may come as a wash-off product. Sometimes, there are also leave-on products.
This may not be as effective as other types of medications. And this has side effects, including skin discoloration and minor skin irritations.
This is something that you can use to treat cases of inflammatory acne. Women commonly use this.
There are side effects like redness and dryness of the skin.
Aside from leaving on and wash off medications, some are usually taken orally. Here are a few examples.
This is something ideal for moderate to severe acne.
Oral antibiotics are for the reduction of bacteria.
This type of medication should not be an option in the long run. It should be something taken for the shortest time possible. This should ensure that the body prevents antibiotic resistance.
There are side effects to oral antibiotics. But these are rare.
It makes your skin more sensitive to the sun, though.
Combined Oral Contraceptives
There are always combined oral contraceptives. These are FDA-approved for the treatment of acne in women. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone. You use contraception and at the same time manage acne breakouts.
The typical combinations are progestin and estrogen. The results may not be visible in the first few months. Use acne medications at the start.
And as always, there are side effects. One of these is weight gain. There is also breast tenderness and bouts of nausea.
One word of caution as well. These medicines are sometimes associated with a few complications. Examples are cardiovascular problems and some types of cancer.
These types of medications should be for women and adolescent girls only. And this is only if the antibiotics don’t work.
What this does is block off the effect of androgen hormones.
There should be side effects to this medication, though. Typical examples are breast tenderness and painful monthly periods.
While medications are the most common ways by which to treat acne, there are also methods. Some would go to therapies. These may be therapies alone or something combined with medications.
Here are a few examples
One of the most common therapies that saw success is light therapy.
This method would need you to make many doctor’s visits. While this method saw a certain level of success, there is a need for further studies to confirm a few things.
One of these should be the ideal method to take. Another consideration should be on the light source as well as the dose.
This method makes use of the help of certain chemicals like salicylic and glycolic acids. There are also times when retinoic acid is in place.
The chemical solution is repeatedly applied to the skin until results are visible.
This is good for mild acne.
The thing about this method is that the result may not last long. There is always a need for repeated treatments.
Steroid injections are also common methods to treat acne.
The method sees rapid improvements. There is also a decrease in pain in most patients.
The thing, though, is that it also has side effects. Some of these are the thinning of the skin. There is also a certain discoloration in the area treated.
Acne and Children
This may be a rare instance, but some children get acne.
Over the years, drugs are usually tested on participants that are 12 years old and above. As such, the FDA decided to expand the scope of drugs that are also applicable for children below 12 years old.
Some of these are medications like topical benzoyl peroxide and tretinoin. Adapalene is also safe for children below 12 years old.
But as always, please consult a pediatric dermatologist. Make sure to ask about the medications that are appropriate to your children. Discuss the risks, side effects, and how the medications can affect the child in general.
What causes acne?
There are myths, and there are facts related to acne. Acne is mainly caused by excess oil production. Some causes can be bacteria and inflammation. Another common reason is hair follicles that are clogged by oil and dead skin cells.
Acne, as we all know it, appears on the face and forehead. Other times, it can appear on the chest or the upper back and shoulders.
This is because these areas have the most oil glands in any part of the body. The oil glands have hair follicles attached to them.
What happens is that the follicle may tend to bulge. It can also produce a whitehead. The plug can sometimes open to the surface and can darken. That is what we call the blackhead.
While a blackhead may look like dirt that is stuck in your pores, it is not. The pore is just congested with bacteria and a lot of oil. These two will turn brown when it gets its exposure to the air around you.
Now, we get to the discussion of pimples.
These are raised red spots. It has a white center and is common when the blocked hair follicles get inflamed or infected. It may be painful at times as well.
Once with acne, be mindful of those that can trigger or worsen it.
One of those that can trigger or worsen acne is hormonal changes. This can be brought upon by puberty and the enlargement of the sebaceous glands. There are also hormone changes in women during midlife and can result in breakouts.
Certain drugs like those that contain lithium and testosterone are examples. They can cause acne breakouts. The same is true with foods rich in carbs. These are bread and chips. They can worsen acne.
Finally, there is the matter of stress.
If you already have acne and you still get yourself stressed, the condition may even worsen.
So, if I were you, chill.