Ask Curology: My breakouts stopped. What’s next?

What to keep doing for your skin once your acne clears up.

Nicole Hangsterfer Avatar

Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C
Jan 11, 2021 · 3 min read

Happy Curology patient
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Welcome to Ask Curology, penned by one of our in-house medical providers in response to your questions about all things skincare. This week: you’ve been consistently doing your skin routine for a while, and your acne is finally clear. What’s next? The short answer: keep doing what you’re doing. Here’s why, according to our in-house expert.

• • •

Dear Curology,

I started my skincare journey six months ago, and, wow, has it made a difference. My breakouts are pretty much non-existent now, and my skin has never looked better. Honestly, my skin looks so great, I’m wondering if it’s safe to say I’ve beaten acne for good.

What do you say? Is it safe to quit my skincare routine, or should I keep doing what I’m doing?


Skin Goals Achieved

Dear Skin Goals,

Congratulations! If I could reach through my computer screen, I’d give you a big old trophy. All that effort you put into your skincare routine paid off — that’s definitely worth celebrating!

Now, I know what you’re thinking, but listen: don’t quit while you’re ahead. I know it’s a bit of a cliche, but skincare is a marathon, not a sprint. While your skincare routine can (and should!) adapt to your ever-changing skin needs, quitting your acne products cold turkey may not do you any favors.

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So… is there even a cure for acne?

Unfortunately, no treatment really “cures” acne. The closest thing we have to a cure is isotretinoin (formerly known by the brand name Accutane), which isn’t for everyone. That’s why I generally recommend sticking to a treatment you know works for your skin.

Here’s the thing: topical acne treatments don’t cure your skin’s tendency to create pimples, but they do help you keep breakouts at bay. In other words, being consistent with your skincare routine is important for continued maintenance.

When will my acne end?

In most cases, we need to keep treating acne until the natural tendency to break out has passed, but the causes of acne are complex. Breakouts can be triggered by multiple factors at once, making them hard to predict.

Generally speaking, acne tends to peak during adolescence, though it’s common for it to continue well into adulthood. It’s less common to get pimples in your 30s, 40s, and beyond, but it certainly happens.

How do you know when you’re past your body’s natural breakout timeframe? There isn’t an exact answer to this, and many people will experience an occasional pimple from time to time, even when they’re no longer consistently breaking out.

Once you notice your breakouts are few and far between, you might want to try transitioning off certain topical acne medications (like clindamycin) and see how your skin does. You can always add ingredients and products back if needed! Additionally, some people like to transition from acne-targeting treatments to anti-aging formulas.

As a Curology member, you can reach out to your medical provider (like me!) with questions. From time to time, your custom formula may need to be tweaked to meet your skin’s current needs. We’re here to help!

For new readers: you can get your first month of Curology for free (just pay $4.95 shipping and handling) and see what we’re all about.

All my best,

Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C

We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Nicole Hangsterfer Avatar

Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C

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