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Will Over-Applying Acne Treatment Medications Clear My Skin Faster?

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Updated December 28, 2007

Question: Will Over-Applying Acne Treatment Medications Clear My Skin Faster?
My doctor gave me a topical medication and told me to apply it once a day. But I really want clear skin now! If I use it three times per day instead, won't my acne clear up three times faster?
Answer:

It's tempting to slather on topical acne medications more often than is directed, in an attempt to clear the skin faster. Unfortunately, using your treatment medications more often than advised won't clear up acne any faster, and can actually be injurious to your skin.

Most people wouldn't dream of taking an oral medication dosage five times higher than recommended. But many of us over-apply topical treatments without a second thought. Over-using your topical acne medications more often than advised can lead to a host of side effects, including:

  • Severe dryness, peeling and flaking
  • Burning, stinging, itching and redness
  • Swelling, blistering, cracking, crusting or oozing of the skin
  • Rash and general skin irritation

Instead of over-using your topical treatments in the hopes of clearing acne fast, focus on good daily skin care, treating your skin gently, and using your topical medications as directed. Clearing acne takes time, and over-applying your acne medications won't speed up the process.

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