Today I wanted to take break from product reviews and after long time to deal with one of the Acne Basics posts.With Acne,there is no short cuts to treating them nor do home remedies help.You have to understand,Acne is a bacterial infection and a hormonal problem,a much deeper and proper acne treatment is required to fix the problem like Topical treatments like Retinoids,Benzoyl Peroxide,Glycolic acid,Salicylic acid(AHA/BHA’s) or Clinical treatment procedures like Chemical Peeling,Mirco-dermabrasion etc.But lets get real,none of the medications come without side effects.Same is the story with acne treatments,as well.The side effects include-dryness/peeling/flakiness,acne purging,redness among others.Most of them panic when they notice these side effects and get discouraged easily and give up on the acne treatments.So in this post,I will discuss on how to deal with these side effects,minimise them and in parallel treat your acne as well.
Acne itself is very frustrating skin problem and when you opt for Acne Treatments,the last thing you want is its side effects.Don’t get scared by reading the word “side effects”,it is not as bad as it sounds!Every problem has a solution.It totally depends on how to choose approach the problem.These side effects are also part and process of treating acne.
What are the Side effects of Acne Treatments?
The Side effects of Acne Treatments are:
- Dryness/Dry Skin.
- Skin Peeling/Flakiness.
- Skin Sensitivity to Sun/Photo Sensitivity.
- Skin Irritation.
- Burning or Stinging Sensation.
- Acne Purging.
- Dry Lips.
Why do we notice the Side effects of Acne Treatments?
Side effects are inevitable part of acne treatments.The above mentioned side effects are more of skin detoxification process of unclogging pores,skin exfoliation,removing dead skin cells,decrease sebum production,killing acne causing bacteria,treating acne and preventing acne.It is rectifying the skin damage caused by acne.
How long do we notice the Side effects of Acne Treatments?
There is no fixed time line or duration as such.It totally depends on your skin,severity of acne and type of acne treatments used.But this is mostly seen in initial periods like couple of weeks when one starts acne treatments.Once skin is adjusted to the medications/treatment,it will subside and there are ways to minimise the side effects as well.
So How exactly to cope with Side effects of Acne Treatments?
There are many ways can you fix and minimise the side effects of acne treatments:
- Use a very mild,gentle & neutral cleanser like Kaya Soothing Cleansing Gel or Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Gel. As harsh cleansers just strips away moisture from skin and further makes it dry.
- If you notice any dryness,you might also experience burning or stinging sensation.So use cold water or luke warm water to wash your face instead of hot water.
- Use a soft cotton or micro fibre cloth to wipe your face.
- Always and always start using acne treatments with decreased frequency,initially so that your skin can get used to it.Adjust it as per your skin requirements,if you see dryness or any other side effects then give more gap from the last application.For Example:Apply 2-3 times in a week,instead of applying every day.
- Use a pea size of acne creams on entire face.Do not go overboard with these creams,as it will only increase the side effects.A little product goes a long way!
- Use a good oil-free,non-comedogenic moisturiser meant for oily-acne prone skin as and when required like Sebamed Moisturising Cream, Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturiser for Combination Skin etc.For more options click here:Best Moisturisers for Oily-Acne prone skin.
- Since acne treatments exfoliate skin and rejuvenate skin cells,thereby making skin easily susceptible to sun damage.Hence it is extremely important to use a good oil-free,non-comedogenic sunscreen like Sunprotek Gel Sunscreen. For more options,click here: Best Sunscreens for Oily-Acne prone skin. Also read: Is Sunscreen really necessary?
- Using moisturising sunscreens instead of matte sunscreens is more beneficial during this treatment period.
- Skip Make up for few days.If necessary,just wear light-weight bb/cc creams with little compact.Avoid heavy make up as much as possible.Also make it a habit to always remove make up using a good make up remover like Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle water.Sleeping with your make up will in turn again clog pores and lead to more breakouts.
- If you still see dryness/skin peeling/flakiness,just discontinue acne treatments for 4-5 days and it will gradually subside.Once skin is normal,you can restart them with decreased frequency.
- Probably one of the worst side effects I experienced was Acne Purging.Before acne gets better,acne will get worse.You might see more breakouts once you start the treatment because it brings up all the acne from underneath to the surface of the skin as a process of unclogging pores.But the good news ,it is a temporary setback and it will also subside in a couple of weeks.You can read more about it in detail here:What is Acne Purging?
- Follow a systematic skin care or Acne Regimen.Acne prone skin needs a lot of more attention and care.Always as a thumb rule,use oil-free and non-comedogenic skin care and make up products.Using comedogenic products will cause havoc on skin and making acne purging issues much worse.
- If you notice any redness or skin irritation, just apply a moisturiser or a aloe vera gel or a calamine lotion to soothe the skin and calm down the skin.Be religious with a sunscreen as well.
- Adjust your Acne treatments or Acne regimens as per weather.Usually Winters are a problematic season for acne prone folks as the season+acne treatments can additionally cause more dryness/peeling/stretchy skin.So again adjust the frequency of application and use a moisturiser.For more details click here: Winter Care for Oily-Acne prone skin.
- Do not use scrubs when you are on acne treatments.It is not totally unnecessary nor does it suit oily acne prone skin as it only further irritates the skin.Your acne creams which have retinoids,glycolic acid etc are a complete package which will take care of skin exfoliation in a safe manner without damaging the skin.
- Completely avoid salon facials,clean ups procedures etc.
- Do not apply acne creams or treatment based face washes near sensitive areas like eyes or mouth as it can cause dryness or stretchy skin.If you notice any dryness then apply a moisturiser or eye cream or a lip balm.Read: Best Eye Creams and Best Lip Balms.
My Experience & Final Words:
I have been undergoing treatments for acne since my teens.In all honesty,Acne and its treatments has not been pleasant experiences of my life.Initially when my doctor prescribed me these treatment products,I absolutely had no idea about its usage or its side effects.In a bid to clear up my acne,I would religiously follow my doctor’s advise and prescription,because I was more interested in achieving clear skin.1-2 days,it would be all okay.Then gradually day by day,I would notice the ghastly side effects like dryness,stinging sensation etc.It was all new to me and I would get worried over it.That’s how I would easily give up on acne treatments without even giving a clean shot,fearing the side effects.Then I approached my doctor and she made me understand why it happens and how to cope with it.After that wonderful insight,it gave me confidence to follow acne treatments or acne regimen and treat my acne.Apart from dryness,Acne purging has to be one of the worst side effects I faced.
So my dear friends,do not get overwhelmed with these side effects and give up on acne treatments.I learnt and experienced it as a process of clearing acne.As they always say,there is light at the end of the other tunnel.The side effects are just,initial bumpy road journey and it will subside after couple of weeks.It will get better gradually and you shall also clear up your acne.Follow the tips mentioned above to minimise the side effects and get maximum benefits from your treatments and treat your acne.Hope you find this post useful and clears up the inhibitions regarding acne treatment.If you have any questions,kindly drop a comment below.
PS:This post does not cover all side effects due to Oral treatments/medications.Read here for side effects of Isotretinoin and Antibiotics.
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