How to wash your face
Medical science has achieved impressive breakthroughs in the treatment of acne. However, gentle cleansing must precede topical treatment in order to prevent irritation, because irritation can lead to more breakouts.
Look for the terms “oil-free” and “non-comedogenic” (non-acne aggravating) when selecting a facial cleanser. You know you’re on the right track when references to mild, “non-irritating”, and “non-overdrying” are mentioned as well. If you have inflammatory acne, the most common variety that comes with redness, you’ll want to avoid any scrubbing cleansers as well. Simply choose a gentle liquid cleanser with no scrubbing agents, beads, or balls.
Many acne cleansers also include other medications. For instance, Neutrogena Acne Wash “Oil-Free Cream Cleanser” has 2% salicylic acid in it. Clean & Clear “Continuous Control Acne Cleanser” contains 10% benzoyl peroxide. Often the medication will be washed off with these sorts of cleansers. Also, you may unwittingly be layering medications if you start with a medication containing cleanser and then apply a second medication afterward. From my experience, a gentle cleansing followed with application of medication is what works best.
Wash your face only twice per day, morning and evening. Excess washing can cause irritation. You want to be as kind to your skin as possible.
Use only your bare hands to wash, and wash for 10 seconds or less. A washcloth is irritating. Consider the act of washing as simply prepping your skin for medication, nothing more. Washing itself does not clear breakouts since dirt does not cause acne, so there is absolutely no need to scrub.
Pat dry. Do not rub dry. Rubbing the skin is irritating, and excess irritation…that’s right…can lead to more breakouts. Gently pat dry.
Once your face is properly cleansed, you are ready to apply whichever medication you and your doctor have chosen. Click on the choices below to learn more about prescription or over-the-counter treatment options.