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Ask a Dermatologist Free: Moderate Acne

Dear Doctor

I’m trying to find a product to clear my skin, I’ve tried noxzema, blemish control, lemon juice ,ambi soap, , acene treatment kit. Please help me I also have black marks from popping my pimples how would I get rid of them?

moderate acne skin of color

Dear Patient

Your pictures are suggestive of Moderate Acne Vulgaris.

I therefore recommend that you:

1. Use an antiseptic wash twice a day

Use an antiseptic wash like Clean and Clear Acne Cleanser which contains 10% benzoyl peroxide to wash your face twice a day.

Benzoyl peroxide (BPO) treats acne by preventing the dead skin cells from clogging skin pores and killing the acne causing bacteria P. acnes. BPO side effects include dryness, burning, itching, redness and peeling of the skin. It makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight and thus you should use sunscreen religiously and avoid the sun. BPO also has a bleaching effect on clothes and hair.

2. Apply an acne treatment moisturizer in the morning

Apply an oil-free moisturizer that contains ingredients like salicylic acid to your face after washing it in the morning. A good example is Clean and Clear Oil Free Moisturizer with 0.5% Salicylic Acid.

3. Apply a retinoid at night

Get a prescription of a retinoid like tretinoin (Retin-A) or adapalene (Differin)that you can apply to your face at night after cleansing.

Retinoids increase the turnover of skin cells and unclog skin pores. They also reduce sebum production. Common side effects include irritation and stinging. They are not to be used during pregnancy as they increase the risk of birth defects. They can also cause a flare-up of the acne after using them for around 2-3 weeks once they unclog the pores and drain their contents.

4. Take tetracyclines by mouth

Get a prescription for a 2 to 6 month course of tetracycline antibiotics like doxycycline or minocycline since they reduce inflammation and the population of the bacteria P. acnes.

These tetracycline antibiotics should be taken before meals and they should not be combined with drinking milk.

If you are not immediately able to get these prescription medications I would suggest that you try using the Proactive Solution Acne Treatment Kit. The products in this kit contain ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and sulfur which are used to clear acne.

5. Additional Acne Treatment Tips

a. Give acne medications time to work since it generally takes 2-3 months before results become evident.

b. Do not wash your face more than twice a day since excessive washing can trigger flare ups.

c. D not pick your skin since it can lead to infection and scarring. Train yourself to use a comedone extractor instead.

d. Use a sunscreen that is non-comedogenic which means that it will not clog your skin pores and cause breakouts. This is important since some acne medications make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. Using sunscreens also reduces the darkening of the marks on the face.

e. Avoid using makeup or if you do, ensure that you wash it off each evening.

f. Always do a patch test before applying a new skin care product to your entire face since anyone can react to any skin care product and there is no way of telling who will develop an allergic reaction to a certain product. Therefore apply the new product to a small area behind your ear and wait for 24-48 hours to see if you will develop a rash, itching, redness or any other sign of an allergic reaction. If you do, do not use that product.

acne handbook 512 png

To learn more read the Acne Handbook

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