Remember: proper skin care at home is the most basic and important factor in successful acne treatments!

During your medical visit with us, we will educate you about some adjunctive acne products that can be used in combination with your prescriptions for the most optimal level of improvement. We offer customized acne products for home use that may contain any of the following ingredients:

Alcohol and acetone

Salicylic acid

Sulfur and Resorcinol

Benzoyl peroxide

Aluminum chloride

Zinc

These types of products induce a continuous mild drying and peeling of the skin. This gentle treatment is a very acceptable option to start with and may provide fast and effective results for swollen and infected lesions.

Learn how you take care of your skin at home

Cleanser and Toner

Acne cannot be scrubbed away but it can be controlled by regular skin cleansing. Acne is caused by excess oil and an imbalance of normal skin bacteria. Proper skin cleansing includes washing your acne-prone area twice a day with Dr. Shafa’s recommended cleanser and warm water followed by the application of a toner- in addition to any other prescribed treatments.

Avoid adding oil to your skin

Only use water-based products on your skin. Avoid oily sunblocks or hair products (such as pomades and gels) which can irritate your acne and make it worse. Keep oily hair off your face and wash it daily.

Avoid irritating your skin

Do not use alcohol-based astringents that can dry and irritate the skin. Avoid tanning spray, which irritates your acne and clogs skin pores. Be aware that sporting equipment that rubs against your skin can worsen your acne.

Mechanical trauma can make acne worse by increasing skin inflammation and introducing bacteria into the skin. This can lead to permanent skin damage. Therefore, avoid picking at lesions. When comedone removal is needed, it should only be performed by an expert under sterile conditions.

Use the correct type of cosmetic products

Use “noncomedogenic” products which are non-greasy, oil-free, water-based products that do not clog pores. Cream-based cleansers should be avoided.

Diet and Nutrition

Follow a healthy, low-sugar, and balanced diet and stay well hydrated. Evaluate the effects of dairy products on your acne and avoid or modify the amount and type of dairy product intake. You may find that your acne worsens with certain types of food such as nuts, chocolate, or oily fast foods. Avoid whatever triggers your acne. Studies show that dairy products and high-glycemic-index foods may increase the risk of acne.

Avoid stress

Several studies suggest that anxiety and anger contribute to acne, especially in patients with severe acne.

Dr. Shafa recognizes that increased anxiety worsens active acne, skin discoloration, and acne scars because patients with anxiety are more prone to pick at their faces.

Many patients find that participation in regular, relaxing exercise and sports alleviates anxiety and contributes to overall well being and health.  If you find that you cannot keep your hands away from your skin, maybe because managing your anxiety is difficult, feel free to share these problems with Dr. Shafa. Her dual training in both medicine and dermatology enables her to provide expert advice and, if needed, medication to treat anxiety, depression, and related factors.

Avoid exposure to direct sunlight and tanning

Contrary to popular belief, tanning does not clear acne – it simply masks acne and causes “post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation” (PIH) and permanent discoloration. Tanning via sun exposure also increases one’s risk of developing skin cancer and “photo-aging” (i.e. premature aging of the skin). It is important to protect your skin from sun damage particularly while you have active acne or you are on acne treatment since some acne treatments can increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Ultraviolet light from tanning booths and sunlamps has the same unwanted side effects as sun exposure, so it should be avoided as well.