If you feel like you've tried every acne treatment under the sun and nothing has worked, then you're not alone. Everyone's acne journey is different, and it takes time (and frustration!) to find what works best for you and your skin. It's important to remember, though, that your acne can be treated! If you're struggling to see progress with your clear skin journey, try to incorporate some of these changes into your routine.
1. Stick with it for 4 weeks
Acne takes time to form, and it also needs time to heal. It can take up to two weeks for a pimple forming deep under the skin to emerge on the surface. During the first month of starting an acne treatment, your skin will adjust to the new formula and drive the breakouts currently in development to the surface. Some acne treatments, like adapalene, work by unclogging pores and often cause a purging period that can last up to 8 weeks before the skin begins to clear. Don't fret, though! After a month, you should notice your pimples getting smaller and healing faster, which are both signs that the treatment is working.
2. Be gentle with your skin
The swelling and inflammation that comes with breakouts are hard on your skin, and so are acne treatments. Most acne treatments work by killing bacteria, breaking apart pores, or drying out the skin. For these treatments to work most effectively, it's necessary to have a healthy skin barrier to withstand the treatment. Support your skin barrier by switching to a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser that doesn't strip your skin dry. Also, when using an acne treatment, the fewer products the better. Other products containing acids, retinol, or vitamin C can react negatively with your acne treatment and irritate the skin. We know it's hard to say goodbye to your favorite products, but when you start using a new acne treatment, limit your routine to a gentle cleanser, an acne treatment, a hydrating moisturizer, and an SPF. As your skin adapts to the treatment and starts to heal, you can slowly introduce other products into your routine.
3. Address the different causes of acne
Multiple factors cause acne, including the overproduction of oil, the improper shedding of dead skin cells, and bacterial overgrowth. Sometimes one product isn't enough to address these different factors. Look for a kit like the Dermala #FOBO Acne Treatment Kit. The kit comes with four products to address the inside and outside causes of acne. It's also personalized since acne is different for everyone and there's no one-size-fits-all solution. A drug-free spot treatment like a pimple patch is also a great option to enhance your acne treatment without further irritating the skin.
Stress and the foods you eat are other things to consider when dealing with acne. Both affect hormone levels, which go on to affect sebum production. Minimize foods with a high glycemic index like white bread and processed sugars to help with breakouts and consider supplementing your diet with a probiotic supplement.
4. Follow directions and ease into new treatments
Even though most acne treatments are delivered as creams, gels, or pads, and seemingly straightforward, it's essential to read and follow the directions. Acne treatments need to be applied once or twice a day to be effective. Also, if you have acne-prone skin, you should use an acne treatment daily, not just when you are breaking out. The best way to treat acne is to prevent it from even starting.
If your skin is having trouble tolerating a treatment, start with one application a day and follow it with a calming moisturizer. You can also try to apply a moisturizer after washing your face but before using your acne treatment to minimize irritation. As your skin adjusts to the medication, increase usage until you reach the recommended daily application.
5. See a dermatologist
If none of these tips help you to see improvement in treating your acne, it might be time to visit a dermatologist. A dermatologist can evaluate your skin's needs and prescribe stronger medications to help clear your skin.