The importance of using an antibacterial wash when having acne
As you will have seen from previous blogs, acne develops as a result of overproduction of oil on the skin. This build-up of oil creates an ideal environment for the acne bacteria (C. acnes) to multiply, resulting in inflammation and, therefore, the formation of red, swollen, or pus-filled spots. For this reason, using an antibacterial wash can be helpful in treating your acne by reducing that bacterial load on the skin and reducing the number of breakouts you experience. It is important to keep in mind that acne is not a disease of hygiene. Trying to scrub lesions away and using alcohol-based toners can dry and irritate the skin and can ultimately worsen your acne.
What is an antibacterial wash?
An antibacterial wash is one that contains ingredients that can destroy bacteria and other pathogens, like yeast which everyone has on their skin. These washes can open up the pores, remove excessive skin oil, and flush out the dirt that can get trapped within the pores.
What is bad or good when finding an antibacterial wash?
Benzoyl peroxide has strong evidence in killing C. acnes and reducing inflammation in acne lesions. It can cause dryness of the skin (which people with oily skin may not be too bothered by) and in 1-2% of people it can cause a contact dermatitis. It is worthwhile test patching on the upper inner arm before applying it to the whole face. It is also well known to bleach clothing and bedding, which is less of a risk with a wash-off product, however, it is worthwhile using old towels and pillowcases just in case.
Triclosan is another antibacterial agent, which has also been found to be effective in killing C. acnes and it has anti-inflammatory effects also.
How often to use it?
Antibacterial washes can be used once or twice per day to the affected areas. They can be used not only on the face, but the body also. You may choose to start just once per day to see how your skin tolerates it. If you have no issues after one week, you can try increasing up to twice per day.
What should I expect from using an antibacterial wash?
Any topical treatment needs to be used for a minimum of 8 weeks to see its effects. Once you have been using your antibacterial wash alongside your treatment products consistently for this period of time, you should notice the skin feels less oily and there are fewer blackheads, whiteheads and pimples.
What is a good/recommended wash?
Benzac AC wash contains 5% benzoyl peroxide. Phisohex is another great option that contains 1% triclosan. Both of these products are affordable and easily accessible.
Chemist, supermarket vs expensive brand?
I don’t believe you need to spend a lot of money on products if they contain decent percentages of evidence-based active ingredients. Both of the products I have recommended can be purchased from the pharmacy.