Secrets to improving acne treatment

A big challenge in treating acne is sticking with treatment over the long haul. Dr. Mary Lupo, a dermatologist and clinical professor at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, says there are four secrets to helping people stick with their acne treatment.

  • Use treatments that add moisture and prevent drying
  • Don’t use antibiotics taken by mouth (use topical therapy instead)
  • Use products that contain several active ingredients
  • People who understand the reason for doing things are more likely to keep doing them

Dr. Lupo says that people lose interest in their treatment primarily because of side effects and their inability to follow complex, multiproduct regimens.

“Many believe that aggressive cleansing with harsh scrubs and astringents will somehow improve their condition,” says Dr. Lupo. This is not true. “Gentle cleansing prevents dryness and irritation.” And when retinoid treatment is started, gentle cleaning helps “prevent further disruption of the moisture barrier caused by retinoids.”

One more thing. Avoid using hot water, scrub gels, and rough pads (such as loofah sponges). Instead, try an emollient cleanser and moisturizer that are gentle as well as noncomedogenic.

9/6/05 21:24 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.