Acne Treatment in Three Easy Steps

Episode #124 / Nov 18, 2009
Acne is a condition that almost everyone confronts at one time in their life. The good news is, however, that it's treatable, and that treatment is within your control. Dr. Schultz shares an acne treatment regimen that's comprised of just three easy step.
Steph on January 24, 2010 at 8:21am

thank you for the great tips. where does sunscreen fit into this program? thanks again.

Neal Schultz, M.D. on February 23, 2010 at 7:04pm

@Steph: Sunscreen is applied after the cleanser and toner in the morning, but before the active acne fighting ingredients. Cleanser and toner are always used first to prepare your skin, and sunscreen is almost always applied first after applying the skin, and certainly within this regimen.

Sil on February 24, 2010 at 4:58pm

Very good tips Dr. Schultz.

However I'm confused. Help me if I'm wrong, please.

I have a very oil skin, with acne. Recommended by my Doctor, I'm taking an antibiotic "Minocin" 100mg One pill a Day, and applying "Akne-Mycin" creme and the evening. About cleaning my skin, he didn't tell me nothing.

Depending on me, I'm going to do the following:
Every time I take a shower, at the end of the shower I should apply an exfoliant with little grains to remove the dead cells.

Everyday, on morning, when washing my face, I should use a cleanser to deep clean my skin. Ill give this one a try ""
After it I should apply a tonic.
Next I should use a Benzoyl Peroxide creme, like this "".

So If i do this, when waking up and at night, I'll be washing my skin correctly?

Sorry for any spelling error, I'm Portuguese.

Neal Schultz, M.D. on March 7, 2010 at 12:21am

@Sil: I believe that the regimen you have described can be effective but my only concern is with your oily skin, will the Aknemycin be too heavy. To figure that out, you might consider using the Aknemycin on only one half of your face for a week or two and see which side improves more.

terri on May 1, 2010 at 10:24pm

Hello! I am in my late 40s with hormonal Acne.
Here is what works for me... I take one Doxycycline a day. In the P. M..... I use the Clarisonic and a gentle cleanser to take my make up off at night. Then I use the Clinique 3 step Acne Solutions program. The Foaming Cleanser Wash( 2 % BHA)...Toner (1.5 BHA)..and Moisturizer..(2.5 per cent Benzoyl Peroxide), with green tea and other ingredients make this a more gentle form of Benzoyl Peroxide. In the A. M. Gentle Cleanser with the Clarisonic, the Clinique Acne Solutions Toner (1.5% BHA) and Clinique Oil Free moisturizing gel...and the Clinique Primer with # 25 sun protection. Good Luck!!!!

Gary on May 30, 2010 at 7:34am

Thanks for the advice. I was just using a cleanser but I started doing this regimen a few days ago and some people have already told me my face looks better.

My only question is this: My skin gets really flakey after I've done all that, and I think I'm going to have to use a moisturizer. After which step should I use it? And, if I don't use it at the end, will it still help?

Neal Schultz, M.D. on May 30, 2010 at 11:29pm

@Gary: I'm happy to hear the good news that you hear a difference!

Moisturizer should be the last product applied. Make sure it is water-based or oil free so that it does not contribute to future breakouts.

Silvia on June 20, 2010 at 11:42pm

Thanks for this great advice, doctor. But what about dry skin with acne? Is the treatment different from oily acne skin?

Neal Schultz, M.D. on June 28, 2010 at 8:25pm

@Silvia: Dry skin with acne really means that you have combination skin so while the "spot" products that you apply directly to the pimples are the same, the oily areas (usually the "T" zone) are treated with regular acne cleansers and toners and usually don't need moisturizers. Then, the dry areas (usually the cheeks) are treated with cleansers and toners for dry skin and often do need (water based) moisturizers. For more info, watch Understanding and Treating Combination Skin.

Mark on July 9, 2010 at 8:44pm

Dr. Schultz,

I have large pores. Where would I incorporate a granular cleanser into this regimen?

marvin on July 14, 2010 at 9:41pm

Dr. Schultz - what do you mean about the birth control pills?

Neal Schultz, M.D. on August 2, 2010 at 9:41pm

@Mark: A granular cleanser can be used everyday, or a few times a week as tolerated but only use it at the end of your shower, after your pores have been steamed open from the steam from your shower. Gently massage the granular cleanser into your face where you have the enlarged pores. Do not use more than once daily.

Neal Schultz, M.D. on August 4, 2010 at 11:28pm

@Marvin: Sorry for the confusion. I mentioned that there are three ways to treat acne: First, with topical products (ie, the subject of the episode). Second, with oral medications which are usually prescribed by your dermatologist, such as antibiotics, birth control pills or even Accutane. And lastly, by actually physically cleaning the pores, and cleaning the clogs out, which is usually done by a facialist or by the dermatologist (but hopefully not by you!) The mention of birth control pills was an example (for women only) of one of the non topical, oral treatments available from your doctor which can also help with acne.