To Moisturize or Not to Moisturize?

I have medium severity adult acne. I went to see a skin specialist today and the derma nurse prescribed a strict skin regimin which includes a glycolic cleanser along with a "lotion" (which has glycolic, salicylic and azelaic acid in) followed by an spf in the morning. In the evening I'm to cleanse and apply tretinoin. However I am not supposed to apply moisturizer?! I've been applying it since I was 13 years old. Arn't lotions, potions and trendy serums supposed to help my skin age gracefully?

Doctor Answers 3

Moisturize, moisturize, MOISTURIZE!

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We are finding out that the most important factor that decreases the long term effects of skin aging is the application of moisturizers.  Study after study confirms that the moisturizing vehicle of many over-the-counter and prescription treatment products is more important than the touted active ingredient.  For long-term aging prevention one should also consider Retin-A.  Numerous studies have confirmed that Retinoids (Retin-A) can treat photo-aging, increase the thickness of the epidermis, shrink the infundibulum of the hair follicle, treat acne, remove fine rhytides (wrinkles), increase the rate of epidermal turnover (exfoliation), etc. I would suggest you talk to your dermatologist about switching your acne treatment to Retin-A.  Oh, and don't forget your sunscreens, also in a moisturizer, for the face.

Las Vegas Dermatologist

Elevase Moisture Booster with ceramides

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Patients with acne often have dry and sensitive skin due to the medications they use. In our office, we recommend that patients on acne therapy use a ceramide moisturizer such as Elevase to help strengthen the skin's natural moisture barrier function. 

Dr. Karamanoukian 
Los Angeles

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Hydration Very Important for the Skin

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I am a firm believer in hydrating the skin with a moisturizer that is good for your skin type. There are plenty of good moisturizers out there for acne-prone skin that hydrate and protect without making one breakout.  A personal favorite of mine is Elta MD's AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer (see link below). It is especially important to hydrate the skin when you are using harsher, drying products such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid and tretinoin (RetinA). Next time I recommend you consult with a board-certified dermatologist!

Channing R. Barnett, MD
Boca Raton Dermatologist
4.1 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.