When will your treatment start producing results?

Acne treatments take time to produce improvements. Acne may even flare up again depending on different factors. Be patient and don’t give up. Here are our tips to help you along the way.

  • Dr Sandra Ly, Dermatologist
    Dr Sandra Ly, Dermatologist - Hôpital Saint-André, Bordeaux University Hospital, and Dermatology Clinic in Gradignan (France).

    It is difficult to predict exactly how the skin will react. Generally, during the first 3 months of the treatment the amount of acne decreases.

    Dr Sandra Ly, Dermatologist - Hôpital Saint-André, Bordeaux University Hospital, and Dermatology Clinic in Gradignan (France).

Acne prone skin

How do you eliminate acne? This question, understandably, keeps coming back. If you’ve consulted a dermatologist, the best thing to do is follow their recommendations and the prescribed treatment. Try not to be discouraged if you feel the results are too slow. Remember acne can take several years to disappear naturally without being treated and can also persist later in life. So, stick with the treatment adapted to your skin to get rid of your acne as quickly as possible.

  • Dr Eglė Aukštuolienė, Dermatologist
    Dr Eglė Aukštuolienė, Centre of Dermatology and Venerology - Santara Clinic, University Hospital of Vilnius (Lithuania).

    Teen acne is a chronic inflammatory illness whose symptoms, if left untreated, can be visible for 10 years or more in some cases.

    Dr Eglė Aukštuolienė, Centre of Dermatology and Venerology - Santara Clinic, University Hospital of Vilnius (Lithuania).

Don’t be discouraged 

If your acne is only light, the results may be visible very quickly. But in most cases, the battle is much longer. 

Treatments are prescribed for 3 months and patients are evaluated at the end of this period

Dr Sandra Ly, Dermatologist

acne treatment for teens

Dr Eglė Aukštuolienė explains that "teen acne can take a long time to treat. The first improvements usually start to occur after 4-6 weeks, as long as your skin tolerates the treatment. However, several months (sometimes four or more) can be necessary to achieve optimal results."


Contrasting expectations

In most cases, teen acne treatments don’t provide the expected results as patients think the improvement will be very fast. They stop the treatment prematurely, after only a couple of weeks, if they don’t immediately get the results they want. What’s more, much of the medication used to treat acne irritates the skin, so at the beginning of the treatment your face may become red, dry, scaly and itchy. These undesirable side effects can be an obstacle, despite being relatively easy to eliminate.


I feel like my treatment isn’t working!

A word of warning: miracle acne treatments don’t exist. Before deciding whether a treatment is right for you or not, be honest with yourself. Have you followed the prescription rigorously every day? This is referred to by doctors as "compliance". If you forget to apply the cream every other evening, the results obviously won’t match your expectations. The same applies if you mix several creams and products without telling your dermatologist.

dermatologist skin consultation

Dr Eglė Aukštuolienė is insistent: "Remember that acne treatments take time and you need to be patient. Don’t give up too soon. Any acne treatment should be followed for at least 6 weeks before deciding whether or not it works. If there is no improvement despite regular application, the treatment may need adjusting, by adding an additional medication or replacing the initial medication with a stronger version or one that acts differently. This approach usually delivers results."

If your skin is irritated at the beginning of the treatment

Dr Eglė Aukštuolienė explains that it is important to respect the recommended frequency. Early on, the condition of your skin can deteriorate. But this doesn’t mean the treatment isn’t working. If your skin becomes irritated after applying the treatment, wash it off after several minutes. Gradually increase the application time as your skin becomes more tolerant. It is impossible to eliminate all acne spots in a week. If they drop by 20-30% during the first month, that’s a very good sign!

Some treatments can make blemishes worse over the first few days or weeks. Others irritate the skin. This is completely normal. If you find the redness difficult to tolerate, try using the treatment every other day until your skin gets used to it.


As previously explained by our dermatologists, compliance is essential for success. It isn’t always easy to follow a treatment methodically but think of the beautiful skin you’d like to have. The results make it worth the effort.


After several months, the battle has finally been won. You have fewer and fewer spots and your skin is looking radiant. Well done! Just remember that it is important to follow your dermatologist’s advice to avoid the acne flaring up again. You still have acne-prone skin and the spots could easily come back. So, make sure you don’t stop the treatment before completing the full course or without speaking to your doctor first.


What to do once I ended my treatment?

Once the desired results have been obtained, you shouldn’t stop the treatment as teen acne can come back. It is recommended to follow a long-term "maintenance" treatment until the skin is completely clear.

Dr Eglė Aukštuolienė, Centre of Dermatology and Venerology

squeeze acne

How do you stop yourself from touching your face? Should you squeeze whiteheads or leave them alone? When should you squeeze a spot? This topic is widely debated and discussed in relation to acne. The answer? Avoid squeezing them but, if the temptation is too great, do it carefully. Here’s what our experts have to say.

  • Joël Pacoret, Psychologist
    Joël Pacoret, Psychologist.

    The fact that acne spots are so visible, to you and others, generates this kind of behaviour. It is a response to feeling impatient. Touching or squeezing spots only makes the situation worse. You know you shouldn’t do it but it’s the only gesture within your grasp – it’s about taking action. And, it’s very addictive and constantly nourished by your simmering impatience. It is a (detrimental) attempt to take back control, and rarely derives from a desire to hurt yourself. It’s destined to fail and make things worse, it’s a false solution. I always try to help patients create a virtuous cycle, explaining why it is so important not to touch the skin.

    Joël Pacoret, Psychologist.
  • Dr Sandra Ly, Dermatologist
    Sandra Ly, Dermatologist.

    If we’re honest, we’ve all been there. When a little white-capped spot appears, you don’t want to head out looking like that. Anyone would want to squeeze it. Just try and do it as carefully and hygienically as possible, just removing the puss without squeezing too hard and damaging the skin around it. Don’t try to evacuate it completely, this is impossible anyway. The idea isn’t to make the spot disappear but rather more presentable. If you squeeze too hard, you can make it worse. We’ll see the spot and the damaged skin. This can create a scab and the mark will stay a lot longer. If there is a scab, avoid touching it and apply a healing cream that also protects from the sun. And, that’s all! Blackheads can be removed but without treatment they are likely to come back. If it is a deep lesion, known as a microcyst, it will be extremely difficult to remove yourself – this can only be done with dermatological skin cleansing.

    Sandra Ly, Dermatologist.

How do you go the distance and see the treatment through?

  • Take regular photos to record the changes that take place during the treatment.
  • Fix realistic objectives in a diary – make a note of improvements rather than concentrating on the number of spots, even if the results are slow and gradual!

  • Share your experiences with someone close whom you can trust and will be there for you in difficult moments.

  • Find out more about how acne works to better decipher your skin and understand what’s best for it.