Proper skin care lays the foundation for successful acne and rosacea treatment
American Academy of Dermatology expert
Information presented at the American Academy of Dermatology’s Summer Academy Meeting by Diane S. Berson, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York, N.Y.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
Keeping the skin properly hydrated is the key to successful acne therapy, and the daily use of a moisturizer has been shown to increase the skin’s ability to tolerate medications that often cause irritation. It is a common myth that patients with acne should not use moisturizers, but Dr. Berson explained that this is simply not true. If patients do not use a daily moisturizer, their skin can become red and peel easily due to the drying effect of their acne medications. Dr. Berson explained that patients of all skin types can benefit from using a daily moisturizer:
- People with acne should use a light, oil-free moisturizer that is non-comedogenic (or won’t clog pores).
- Moisturizers containing ceramides, a type of lipid that helps improve skin barrier function and adds moisture to the skin, are good choices for acne patients and those with sensitive skin or rosacea.
- Avoid moisturizers containing mineral oils and petrolatum, which may feel too heavy on acne-prone skin, Alternately, products containing silicone oils, such as dimethicone, are good choices.
For skin prone to acne and rosacea, Dr. Berson recommended using gentle cleaners twice a day, as well as the following do’s and don’t’s:
- Use a gentle cleanser to decrease inflammation and remove surface oil and dirt without compromising the skin’s barrier function.
- Look for a cleanser with salicylic acid to help remove excess oil and unclog pores.
- Rinse thoroughly because the residue can cause irritation.
- Scrub the skin as you clean, because it can actually worsen acne by removing skin lipids and increasing irritation.
- Irritate the skin with harsh cleansers, like scrubs with a grainy texture, alkaline bar soaps or alcohol-based products.
Cosmetics can be used to help camouflage redness and pimples common with acne and rosacea, but Dr. Berson noted that they also can give patients a quality-of-life boost — making them feel less self-conscious about their appearance. In her own practice, Dr. Berson has found that if patients are instructed not to use cosmetics during treatment for acne or rosacea, then they won’t comply with their treatment.
Today, cosmetic companies are continually improving their formulations by making cosmetics that are non-comedogenic and will not exacerbate acne or rosacea. When purchasing cosmetics for skin prone to acne or rosacea, Dr. Berson offered the following suggestions:
- To absorb oil, camouflage redness and prevent irritation, look for mineral-based cosmetics that contain powdered formulas of silica, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
- To absorb oil and create a smooth, shine-free appearance, look for matte cosmetics containing dimethicone.
- To reduce irritation, some cosmeceuticals now include anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as niacinamide for barrier repair, and antioxidants.
To reduce the number of products being used on the skin, patients should look for cosmetics containing sunscreen, which can provide skin with an extra layer of sun protection in a cosmetically appealing, smooth formulation. This is especially important during the first weeks of acne treatment, when some acne medications can increase a person’s sensitivity to the sun. In addition, sun exposure is a known trigger of rosacea, making it important for patients to minimize sun exposure.
American Academy of Dermatology expert advice:
“The role of skin care cannot be underestimated in the treatment of acne and rosacea, as studies have shown that incorporating skin care products such as moisturizers into a daily skin care routine can enhance the results of prescription treatments,” said Dr. Berson. “It’s important for patients to discuss their skin care routine with their dermatologist to ensure they are using the best products for their skin condition and also maintaining good skin care habits.”
Celebrating 75 years of promoting skin, hair and nail health
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 17,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or www.aad.org. Follow the Academy on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology) or Twitter (@AADskin).
Good skin care is a smart idea for everyone, but it is especially important for those who have acne and rosacea. Medications are available to effectively manage these chronic skin conditions, but dermatologists are finding that proper skin care enables a patient’s skin to tolerate the facial redness, dryness or inflammation that sometimes results from their medications. Dermatologists are assisting patients by recommending skin care products that keep the skin hydrated to improve the overall health and appearance of the skin, resulting in the likelihood that patients will follow their treatment to its end.