Acne expert Dr. Schweiger explains that, “All prescription medications are different. Some are intended to be used or taken for a short period of a few weeks or months, while others are intended for more long term use. The bottom line is that, for the most part, acne is a chronic condition. This means that you may need to continue prescription acne medication for an extended period of time, in order to fully control your flares. However, this does not mean that you need to continue your oral antibiotics for acne forever; it simply means that you may use some form of maintenance treatment for a period of time. This maintenance treatment is often in the form of a topical anti-acne cream or periodic laser treatments for acne.”
We approach every patient individually, so there is no set “maintenance regimen” that we recommend for everyone. However, most of our patients continue to use at least one topical medication, in addition to good skin care in the form of cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreen, even after the bulk of their acne treatment is completed. Topical acne medications, such as Retin A, not only prevent acne from returning, but they help to improve the texture of the skin and decrease the marks left behind from old acne lesions. Over time, we may determine together that you acne has resolved, and we will then recommend that you only continue your general skin care regimen. Every patient is different, but the main message is not to simply stop using your acne medications once you are clear – it is important to consult with your dermatologist to determine which, if any, maintenance regimen is best for your skin.