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Should I use moisturizer while I am on topical acne treatment?

In general, if our skin is very oily, moisturizers are not required and need not be used. Nevertheless, the best time to use a moisturizer is when our skin feels dry or if we know that we are prone to having easily irritated skin; or put it another way, if we experienced overwhelming dryness that make us unhappy and less compliant with our topical acne treatment/acne regimen, then moisturizers may serve its purpose from otherwise very effective acne therapy. However and from the acne clear and acne care perspective, if excessive dryness persists, a change in our acne medications/treatments may be indicated.

Many not aware that it is also very helpful to use moisturizers with the retinoid (i.e. products that are generally in the vitamin A family and act at specific sites called retinoid acid receptors) category of acne medications, we could either mixed with the retinoid or applied right over it when first starting our acne treatment. This has proven effective to minimize the irritation and peeling that may otherwise occur.

It is leant that there are many moisturizers available in the market and the vast majority of which are over the counter. We should look for a moisturizer that is suitable for our face and one that has an SPF of 15 or higher if we are using it in the morning. The rationale behind is that it helps to moisturize our skin and protect us from the damaging rays of the sun, the effects of which may be magnified by the acne regimen that we are on.

As a rule, we should use a moisturizer that is more rich and creamy at night as there is greater water loss from our skin at night and a lighter cream or lotion with SPF in the morning. What we could do is to apply moisturizer over our morning acne regimen, and any makeup can be applied over the moisturizer as desired. We should first wash or exfoliate (i.e. the process of removing the upper layers of dead skin), then by using a toner (if we are so inclined) before using the topical acne treatment/medication and finally by a moisturizer with or without sunscreen depending on the time of day.

Do remember to look for moisturizers with "nonacnegenic" or "noncomedogenic" written on the label or packaging.

Definition of:

Acnegenic – products that induce inflammatory lesions such as papules, pustules to form, as a result of a type of follicular irritant contact skin reaction that usually happens within 2 to 3 days of using the product.

Comedognic – products that induce open or closed comedones to form after 2 to 3 weeks of use. Do note that the term noncomedogenic is not specifically defined in the federal guidelines.

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