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Acne : The Basics


Over the counter most acne products contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.If your acne is mostly clogged pores: salicylic acid containing cleansers can be helpful to achieve some exfoliation to help open these pores and unclog them.If your acne is inflamed- pus bumps and redness: benzoyl peroxide containing products can help as they also target bacteria in the skin.If you have sensitive skin: sulfur containing cleansers can help with treat both acne and prevent skin sensitivities.If you skin is excessively oily, charcoal containing cleansers can help absorb excess oil.

Exfoliating once to twice a week can reduce dead skin cells from building up on the surface and clogging pores. There is such a thing as too much exfoliation. Being too aggressive can inflame and irritate the skin, aggravate acne and result in scarring.As far as chemical or physical, a little of both is important. Chemical exfoliation is achieved through salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide containing products OTC or prescription by retinoids such as tretinoin. (Actually adapalene also which is both otc and Rx)These products break apart skin cells to stop them from building up on the skin. Mechanical exfoliation via gritty cleansers can help remove the dead skin cells by loosening them up. I’m not a fan of devices for mechanical exfoliation as these can be harsh and can be used too aggressively.

I think of facials as a little more chemical exfoliation and some include manual extraction of acne. Some people find them helpful to control their acne. I don’t personally think they are necessary if someone has a good skin care routine


Acne products by definition are extremely drying! We need to replace this lack of moisture otherwise we will get dry cracked peeling skin. Sure it’s not acne but it’s not fun or comfortable either. 

It‘s important to have a routine. A cleanser can help remove excess dead skin cells from the skin. If these are not removed they can be left behind to build up in pores and worsen acne

Not so important to use toners. Not a fan but I get that people love these. As long as you avoid alcohol based toners then shouldn’t be a problem. 


Choose a sun screen that is an all in one product- moisturizer with sunscreen. Look for non comedogenic(non pores clogging) formulation. Also important I use sunscreen to reduce scarring associated with acne!

Montgomery  Dermatology, LLC

Phone (610) 265-1166

FAX (610) 265-1186

860 1st Ave #8b, King of Prussia, PA 19406
10000 Shannondell Drive, Audubon, PA 19403

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