How to Treat Acne on Sensitive Skin


Keep your skin generally clean and healthy with products made for sensitive skin. Don't use abrasive exfoliating cleansers, which can irritate. Wash gently twice a day with soap that doesn't contain perfumes or dyes, and pat the face dry rather than rubbing it. If your skin is oily, avoid moisturizing creams.


Try an acne treatment based either on salicylic acid or a low strength of benzoyl peroxide, less than 2.5%. Choose one to try, see how it works for you for a week or two, then if it doesn't seem to help, try the other. Test each in a small area, as mentioned above, before using it over all your face, and use only a small amount. Apply the treatment of your choice once or twice each day after washing your face, depending on the directions on the package. Salicylic acid works by encouraging the shedding of dead skin cells to prevent the clogging of pores, while benzoyl peroxide makes the skin a hostile place for the bacteria which cause acne by introducing oxygen into the pores. It will also encourage the shedding of dead skin cells.


If your skin becomes too dry from treatment, cut back to treating it every other day and/or use an oil-free, hypoallergenic moisturizer. If you notice redness or unusual irritation, stop using any product and check with your doctor for a recommendation.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid wearing makeup if possible, and if you must use sunscreen, choose a hypoallergenic kind that's designed for sensitive skin.
  • This article is meant only as general information, but you may have specific needs. Follow the labels on any medication, and check with your doctor or dermatologist if you have any negative reactions to acne treatment or if over-the-counter medications aren't helping.