Should You Apply Acne Cream Or Spot Treatment First?

The Dilemma of Choosing Between Acne Cream and Spot Treatment

Dealing with acne can be a frustrating experience, especially when you’re unsure about the order in which you should apply your skincare products. One common question that often arises is whether you should use acne cream or spot treatment first. While both products aim to combat acne, they have distinct purposes and should be used strategically to maximize their effectiveness.

The Purpose of Acne Cream

Acne creams are designed to treat and prevent acne breakouts. They often contain ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, which work to unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and kill acne-causing bacteria. Acne creams are typically used all over the face or affected areas to target existing pimples and prevent new ones from forming.

The Role of Spot Treatment

Spot treatments, on the other hand, are more targeted and are used specifically on individual pimples or blemishes. They usually come in the form of gels or creams that contain higher concentrations of active ingredients, such as sulfur or tea tree oil. The purpose of spot treatments is to accelerate the healing process of existing pimples and reduce their size and redness.

Applying Acne Cream First

When deciding whether to apply acne cream or spot treatment first, it’s generally recommended to start with the acne cream. By applying the acne cream first, you can distribute the active ingredients evenly over the entire face or affected areas. This helps to prevent new breakouts and control oil production throughout the day.

Before applying the acne cream, cleanse your face thoroughly with a gentle cleanser and pat it dry. Then, take a small amount of acne cream and apply it in a thin layer all over the face or affected areas. Gently massage the cream into the skin using circular motions until it is fully absorbed. Allow the cream to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Spot Treatment as the Final Step

After applying the acne cream, you can then move on to spot treatment. Spot treatment should be used only on individual pimples or blemishes, as applying it all over the face can cause excessive dryness and irritation.

To use spot treatment, take a small amount of the product and dab it directly onto the pimple or blemish. Avoid rubbing or spreading the product, as this can transfer bacteria and potentially cause more breakouts. Allow the spot treatment to dry completely before applying any other skincare products or makeup.

Additional Tips for Managing Acne

While using acne cream and spot treatment can be beneficial in managing acne, it’s important to incorporate other skincare practices into your routine for optimal results. Here are some additional tips:

1. Cleanse Twice Daily

Wash your face twice daily with a gentle cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and impurities that can contribute to acne breakouts. Avoid harsh scrubbing or using abrasive cleansers, as this can irritate the skin and worsen acne.

2. Moisturize Regularly

Even if you have oily or acne-prone skin, it’s essential to moisturize regularly. Look for lightweight, oil-free moisturizers that won’t clog pores. Moisturizing helps maintain the skin’s barrier function and prevents excessive dryness, which can trigger more oil production and breakouts.

3. Protect Your Skin from the Sun

Exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays can worsen acne and cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 daily, even on cloudy days. Look for non-comedogenic formulations to avoid clogging pores.

4. Avoid Picking or Squeezing Pimples

As tempting as it may be, picking or squeezing pimples can lead to further inflammation, infection, and scarring. Instead, allow pimples to heal naturally or seek professional help from a dermatologist.

5. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

A balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management can all contribute to healthier skin. Avoiding excessive sugar, processed foods, and dairy products may also help reduce acne breakouts for some individuals.


In conclusion, the order in which you apply acne cream and spot treatment is crucial for achieving clear and healthy skin. Start with the acne cream to prevent new breakouts and control oil production, then follow up with spot treatment on individual pimples or blemishes. Remember to cleanse, moisturize, protect your skin from the sun, avoid picking pimples, and maintain a healthy lifestyle to support your acne treatment efforts. Consult with a dermatologist for personalized advice tailored to your specific skin concerns.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *