Your Treatment Guide To Acne

To get the most benefit from your acne treatment, please stick to the following treatment guidelines:

-Only apply your Dermatica topical acne treatment at night, before bed.

-Your Dermatica topical acne treatment will make your skin more sensitive to burning from the sun’s UV rays, so please wear a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or above during the day, even if it’s cloudy.

-Don’t use a moisturiser with SPF in it at night.

-It is important to be consistent with your Dermatica Topical Treatment and use it as directed by our team.

Skincare Steps

1. Cleanse your face of all makeup thoroughly before bedtime – but don’t scrub with a washcloth or use exfoliating face washes as these can irritate your skin and worsen your acne. We recommend a gentle facial cleanser like our Purifying Cleansing Gel.

2. Pat skin dry (don’t rub) and allow the skin to dry completely (20-30 minutes).

3. Apply your treatment in a thin layer to your entire face and allow to absorb completely, which usually takes 15-20 minutes.

4. Once your treatment is completely absorbed by your skin, apply a thin layer of moisturiser to your entire face. We suggest a lightweight, non-pore clogging moisturiser like Ultralight Recovery Moisturiser.

5. In the morning, gently wash your face, pat dry and apply a lightweight moisturiser and an SPF.

What to expect during your treatment

-When you first start using prescription topical treatments for acne, you may notice your skin becoming red, flaky or even the worsening of your acne. The treatments can also make your skin feel dry and tight as well as give you a burning, itching or stinging sensation. This is a normal response to the treatment and should be expected.

-You can minimise this by using the product every other day at night until your skin starts to get used to it, which could take a few weeks. Remember – only use a thin layer of the treatment at night (more is not better!).

-If the dryness, peeling and redness are too uncomfortable for you, try applying your moisturiser first, wait 20 minutes for it to absorb, and then apply your topical treatment over the top.

-If your skin is extremely irritated after the first few days of treatment, take a few days off and don’t use any medicated treatments on your skin until it settles down. Then, when you start using it again, apply the treatment as above but wash it off after 60 minutes. Slowly build up the amount of time you have the treatment on your skin until you can keep it on overnight.

-It is important to remember that these side effects are worst during the beginning few weeks of treatment and that they are entirely normal.

-Once your skin gets used to the treatment and you are using it on a daily basis, it can take up to four months of regular use for the full effect of the treatment to be noticeable and for your skin to be markedly clearer of acne spots. Be patient!

-Once your skin is clear, we will provide you with a maintenance formula to keep your acne at bay and your skin healthy.

How do I know I am allergic to the treatment?

It is important to understand that skin irritation and a true allergy to a topical treatment are very different. All acne treatments cause some level of skin irritation – redness, flaking, peeling, skin tightness, burning and itching. That is part of how they work. Generally, topical retinoids are considered to have no allergic potential – meaning you cannot become allergic to them.

Developing a true allergy to other acne preparations – such as benzoyl peroxide, clindamycin or azelaic acid – is extremely rare. Symptoms of true allergy to a topical treatment are throat tightness, difficulty breathing, feeling faint and/or swelling of the eyes, face, lips or tongue on the first or second use of the treatment. This reaction can occur within minutes or up to 24 hours after product use.

Remember that this type of serious allergic reaction is very different from the local skin irritation that you get at the site of treatment application, such as redness, dryness, peeling and burning. If you think you have developed symptoms of a true allergy, please go to your local A&E department straight away.

If you need further information on how to use topical treatments for acne, please contact one of our Dermatica team at – or take your free online consultation.

Dr Natalia Spierings
Dr Natalia Spierings
Dr Spierings is a leading consultant dermatologist in the UK with a medical degree from St George's University of London. She has a decade's worth of experience treating acne and anti-ageing, and is dedicated to providing safe, efficient and patient-centred care at every opportunity.
Originally published March 22 2018, updated March 07 2022

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