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How long would it take to see results from topical acne treatment?

To achieve maximum results from topical acne treatment, compliance is always the key. In short, if we don't use the medication as directed, for whatever reason, we will take longer time to see good results. For example, if we use too much medica­tion or apply it too often, we increase the risk of irrita­tion with the end result of a less than optimal skin. Therefore, it is important to read the directions carefully and clear about how much, how often and how soon we can expect to see the results. From the acne clear and acne care point of views, if we are not sure, call the doctor or dermatologist to clarify or review the instructions with them. It is better to ask twice than to do it wrong.

It is very important to realize that although results can sometimes begin in as little as 1 week, it often takes 4 to 6 weeks to really see signifi­cant improvement. As such, it is advisable to continue our acne reg­imen for at least the full 6 weeks before we decide that the acne treatment is not working for us.

Initially, we would notice our pimples drying up and often this will leave red marks behind that can last for days to weeks or even months. Not to worry, the red marks are simply remnants of the acne that was present earlier and is not active, i.e. not the true lesions. We must not touch or pick at it in order for our skin to recover more quickly.

With continued treatment, the next thing we would notice is fewer new lesions and that the lesions that do appear clear more quickly and with less redness or scarring, if any. Over the next few months, the red marks may turn brown before they disappear, it is noted that fading creams can be prescribed to help them fade faster.

Do take note that:

  • Retin-A (i.e. medication commonly used in the treatment of acne vulgaris, and is in the vitamin A family) should only be used at night because they can be inactivated by sun expo­sure.

  • Formulations of Retin-A and BP (i.e. short for benzoyl peroxide, an antiseptic commonly used topically in the treatment of acne and is well accepted as it does not induce bacterial resistance) must not be combined with each other, as they may inactivate each other, either partially or completely.

  • Topical acne antibiotics and BP should be used together to achieve even better results.

For a list of topical acne treatments, please refer the list here.

For more acne topics, please refer to Contents Sitemap.

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