When there are so many products claiming to fix acne, it can be hard to know what’s best for your skin.

Using the right skin care products can make a big difference in your acne management but it’s important to base your decision on credible advice rather than the skin of a well-paid, photo-shopped model or celebrity.

Acne is a medical condition so your pharmacist, general practitioner (GP) or dermatologist are good people to speak to for guidance in choosing the right skin care products to help control your acne and avoid treatment related problems. In the meantime, here are a few general tips.

What to look for in a facial cleanser

  • Look for a mild 'soap free' liquid face cleanser, which is acid and/or pH balanced and free of abrasives and alcohol.
  • If you have oily skin, look for a cleanser with 'high rinsability' as it won't leave a surface film. 
  • If you have combination, dry sensitive, irritated skin and/or if you're using acne treatments containing benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin, adapalene and/or tazarotene, look for a 'gentle oil-free plus moisturising' liquid cleanser.
  • Avoid highly moisturising cleansers that contain high levels of paraffin, mineral or highly fragrant 'natural' oils.

Using acne creams, gels or lotions

  • Apply creams, gels or lotions after your skin has completely dried following cleansing.  If you apply treatments to moist skin they’re more likely to cause irritation.
  • Apply your acne cream, gel and/or lotion to the entire skin region where you normally develop pimples to help prevent new ones from forming.
  • Be careful not to apply treatments to sensitive skin areas, such as the skin immediately around your eyes, lips and nostrils.

Tips for moisturising

  • Apply a sunscreen to all exposed areas before spending a long time in direct sunlight.
  • Consider applying a face cream or lotion with an SPF of 30 to the skin of your head and neck if you only spend brief periods in the sun.
  • In the evening, only apply a moisturiser to acne-affected areas if they are dry or irritated (red, flaky, and/or itchy).
  • You may want to apply a moisturiser to sensitive skin areas not affected by acne such as around the eyes, sides of face, and the skin next to lips and nostrils, along with the neck.
  • For mildly irritated skin, apply your oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturiser over the top of acne treatment creams.
For more information on skin care for acne take a look at our Treatment pages.