Portland News

Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Face Acne Medicine on Your Body Acne

Picture this: You are taking your morning shower, and you notice new blemishes scattered all across your chest. You look around and spot the acne medicine your doctor prescribed for your face. Easy fix, right? Not so fast. 

The skin on your face and the skin on your body are not the same, and neither is the medicine to treat their breakouts. A seemingly simple solution to your breakout problem may do more harm than good. The next time you notice body acne, remember these three reasons why you should take a pause before self-treating. 

1. The Skin on Your Face Differs From the Skin on Your Body

The skin on your face is unique and must be treated with care. With sebaceous glands secreting oils more rapidly across your chin, nose, and forehead, you may experience breakouts in those areas. If you use makeup, your skin may react to its formulation, application, and removal. Depending on your age, your skin will produce oils, recover from damage, and dry out at its own pace. 

The skin on your back and chest, where non-facial acne most commonly appears, differs from facial skin in texture and sweat and oil production. The skin on your body also undergoes different hair growth and maintenance practices, making ingrown hairs and infections a possibility. Often, hormonal imbalances cause breakouts that can be tough to combat. 

Do right by your skin and seek out proper formulations for your acne flare-ups. Acne treatment formulated for your particular trouble areas will give you a better chance at resolving your breakouts. Also, the concentration levels of specific prescriptions may be too much or too little when misused. 

2. You’ll Run Out of Your Prescription

When your health care provider sets up your treatment plan, they expect you to follow the dosage instructions. If you decide to go rogue and slather your body with your facial prescription, you’re likely to run out quicker than expected. 

This approach could potentially do more harm than good. Generally, your doctor has a specific treatment protocol in mind for you. Some prescriptions are written for 90 days, designating the proper dosage and regimen for its use. If you run out earlier than the set time, you’ll be left without the medication. And going without treatment might cause a recurrence of the original problem. 

It’s important to follow your doctor’s advice and ask for additional acne treatment support if you need it. Veering off the prescriber’s course may negatively affect your results. Instead, communicate with them about your medication, its dosage, and the time-based program. Understanding the goals of your medication protocol can help encourage you to be consistent and patient with the process. 

3. Concentrations and Formulations Are Not One-Size-Fits-All 

The type of acne that’s most prevalent on your face is not the same as what’s more common on your body. Your face most often experiences blackheads, whiteheads, and, in more severe cases, cystic acne. Your body will more likely develop whiteheads, papules, nodules, and cysts. Body acne like nodules and cysts can often be painful to the touch and require more targeted treatment. 

The prescriptions formulated to address your facial acne may not be suited for your body breakouts. Consult with your healthcare provider on your problem areas. Allow them to assess and prescribe solutions that offer the best chance of addressing your issues. When you get the right prescription for your acne, you’ll likely see a marked improvement. 

You may be prescribed topical treatments, oral treatments, or a combination of both for your acne. Create a dosing schedule if you have trouble keeping track of which medicine is for what application. Plot out the medicine, application type, and time of application on a notecard. Keep it with your medications to help you maintain a consistent routine that will achieve the best outcomes.

Get the Right Treatment 

Battling acne by yourself can feel defeating. The overwhelming amount of information, marketing, and online advice can leave you with more questions than answers. You may have tried over-the-counter remedies with no success. If that’s the case, it’s time to call in the professionals.

The first step to getting treatment and seeing improvement is to find a trusted healthcare provider to assess your situation. Read reviews and seek several medical opinions if having multiple options makes you feel more comfortable. 

Once you meet with a provider, ask questions about your treatment plan, dosage amounts, application, and timeline. You should understand what a successful treatment plan looks like so you can manage expectations. If your face is riddled with cystic acne and your goal is clear skin, ask if that’s possible. Before beginning, agree to an action plan and check-in process so you can pursue improvement and adjust your plan if needed. 

Keep an open mind about prescriptions, diet, and lifestyle adjustments. Work with a provider you can trust, and speak up about any questions or concerns you may have. Remember, as the patient, your voice and goals matter. When you’re invested in your treatment plan with a trusted provider on your side, you can see beautiful results. 

Opinions expressed by Portland News contributors are their own.