Expert Q&A: The Best Skin Care Routine for People With Acne and Rosacea

An Interview With Diane S. Berson, MD

Feb. 4, 2011 (New Orleans) -- If you have acne or rosacea, adding skin care products and cosmetics into your daily routine can pose a challenge.

At the American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting, Diane S. Berson, MD, discussed how proper skin care and appropriate choice of skin care products can improve the skin of acne and rosacea patients. Berson is an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City.

What's the best way to clean your skin if you have acne or rosacea?

Gently wash with cleansing products with mild surfactants to remove surface oil and dirt without compromising the skin’s barrier function. And be sure to thoroughly rinse cleansers from the skin as the residue can be irritating.

Scrubbing the skin will worsen acne, as it can remove protective skin lipids and increase irritation. Harsh cleansers, alkaline bar soaps, and alcohol-based products may also further irritate the skin.

The medications used to treat acne and rosacea can leave the skin red, dry, or inflamed.

Should I use a moisturizer?

It's a common myth that people with acne should not use moisturizers, when in fact the opposite is true. If they do not use a daily moisturizer, the skin can become red and peel easily due to the drying effect of acne medications. Adding moisture back into the skin can counter the effects of these medications.

People with acne should use a light, oil-free moisturizer that is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog the pores. Moisturizers containing heavy mineral oils should be avoided, though products containing silicone oils such as dimethicone are good choices.

In people with rosacea, the skin is more sensitive and can react with ingredients in both prescription medications and skin care products. Look for moisturizers that contain ceramides, glycerin, or hyaluronic acid. They're usually well tolerated and will help hydrate sensitive skin.