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How do I handle acne after my lung transplant?

Prednisone may cause acne on your face, chest, shoulders, and/or back, and in addition, cyclosporine can make your skin oily in these areas. Wash any area(s) with acne thoroughly three times a day, every day. Scrubbing gently with a wet washcloth and mild soap will help remove accumulating oils, dead skin, and bacteria. Vigorous rubbing and scrubbing can irritate your skin. Avoid soaps that contain creams or oils (such as Dove, Tone, or Caress) because they can aggravate the acne. Completely rinse soap from your skin to leave your pores open and clean. Use a clean washcloth each time you wash. If your skin becomes excessively dry, stop washing those areas temporarily to allow the skin to recover its natural moisture.

If washing with bar soap does not improve or control your acne, use a non-prescription acne mediation with benzoyl peroxide (Oxy 5 or Oxy 10). Start by applying benzoyl peroxide 5% once a day. If redness and peeling are not excessive after three days, apply twice per day, gradually leaving it on for longer periods of time until it is left on all day. You may need to use a 10% benzoyl peroxide preparation if your acne is not controlled by the 5% preparation.

We recommend that you do not use Retin-A, a powerful acid form of vitamin A. It causes increased sun sensitivity, which should be avoided because you are taking prednisone.

Other ways to control acne after lung transplantation include:

  • Shampoo you hair and scalp frequently.
  • Keep your hands away from your face and avoid rubbing the affected skin.
  • Do not use cosmetics. Avoid the use of medicated hypoallergenic cosmetics meant to cover acne. If you wear makeup, your acne will probably not improve.
  • Do not pick or touch your acne. This will help prevent infections. 
  • If acne remains a problem, tell your doctors about it. Severe acne must be treated by a dermatologist.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.