Starter Regimen for Acne & Dark Marks

sebamed-clear-face-gel-acneThis is a comprehensive acne regimen designed to get rid of acne, reduce redness and remove dark marks from pimples. All using off-the-shelf products available in the Indian market, without a dermatologist’s prescription.

Starter regimen is an aggressive acne regimen for moderate to severe acne, especially cystic acne.

If you prefer fewer products, try the 2-Product Keracnyl Acne Regimen.

If you only get pimples occasionally, or you want a daily maintenance routine, check out the Basic Regimen.

If you are on a budget, check out the Budget Acne Regimen for less than Rs. 500 per month.

Who is the Starter Regimen for?

The starter regimen can be followed by both men and women if:

  1. You get under-the-skin cystic acne bumps that redden the area around the pimple. Your pimples don’t heal for many days and leave dark marks and often pitted scars. This kind of acne is also called acne vulgaris. 
  2. It is also suitable for whiteheads. For blackheads, simpler solutions can bring relief.
  3. You have tried many face washes and pimple creams from the market without satisfactory results. You have tried face packs, home remedies, herbal remedies and every new product on the market that claims to resolve acne, but the skin is still not clear. That is, you have persistent acne.
  4. You are not currently undergoing (and have not undergone recently) any medical treatment such as Accutane / Sotret / Aldactone / chemical peels / laser treatment / derma roller or any other kind of clinical treatment for acne or scars.

Starter Acne Regimen

This is a staggered regimen in which you add in new products as and when needed, but only if needed. This is necessary because you want to start with the safest products in the first week and then if everything goes right (acne reduces, redness goes down), you move to week 2 and add in more products.

The Starter Regimen combines the safest and best treatment products in India, and because of this, the cost is not taken into account. If you have been buying and trying random products for some time, your current experiments are likely costing your more anyway. Those on a budget might check out the Budget Regimen.

Starter Acne Regimen consists of products known to work for acne and dark marks but by no means is a guarantee. It is not an alternative to medical treatment if that’s what you need.

Products and why you need them

This is the list of products you will be using in this regimen.

Each of the products is included for a reason, so you will be using ALL of them, not a few here and there. Do not add products of your own or make substitutions.

You will see why each one of them is needed in the table below.

Product Why you need it Brand
Face Wash You need it to clean your sunscreen and moisturizer thoroughly without irritating the skin. Kaya Skin Clinic Soothing Cleansing Gel (Rs. 550)
Anti-bacterial Face Wash For mornings, as an added protection against acne bacteria. My pick, Sebamed Cleansing Foam reduces the number of bacteria from 100,000 to zero in 5 minutes. Sebamed Cleansing Foam (Rs. 630)
Acne cream + Exfoliant My pick, Triacneal is a targeted, high-performance acne treatment that contains clinically-proven acne-fighting ingredients, including Retinaldehyde, Glycolic Acid & patented Efectiose. Blended with soothing thermal spring water to banish breakouts, clogged pores, acne-related redness & residual scarring. Great for oily, blemish prone skin. Paraben free, hypoallergenic & non-comedogenic.OK, that is the marketing speak. In truth, people really are seeing good results from using it, including me, so I’ve included it in the regimen. Eau Thermale Avene Triacneal cream (Rs. 1350) (Triacneal is available in these stores and these websites)
Sunscreen When using acne treatments, without a sunscreen, your skin can become even more prone to sun damage such as tanning and wrinkling. A broad-spectrum sunscreen is also essential to prevent acne spots from darkening and to add to the benefit of spot-lightening treatments. Sunprotek Gel SPF 50+ / SPF 30+ or Zoray Aquagel SPF 30 (both available at medical stores) or Bioderma Photoderm Spot SPF 50+ cream (Rs. 1185 for 30 ml)
Dark spot treatment You need it to fade away reddish and dark spots left by old pimples. Kojivit Gel (available at medical stores) Rs. 200
Moisturizer You will need a lightweight moisturiser to combat dryness and sometimes flaky skin. Sebamed Clear Face Gel (Rs. 500)

Starter Acne Regimen Week 1

Avene Diacneal for acne in IndiaMorning routine

  1. Guys shave with face wash. First foam up the face wash by rubbing it between your hands. Then dab the foam on your face.
  2. Also read which razor to use, how to lather up etc. here.
  3. Guys and girls wash face with Sebamed Clear Face Cleansing Foam.

Evening routine

  1. Wash face with face wash. 
  2. Apply a thin layer of Avene Triacneal all over the acne prone areas except near the eyes, sides of nose and near the mouth. For example, if you get pimples on your cheeks and forehead, apply a thin layer covering all of the cheeks and forehead. It is not to used as merely a spot treatment. There could be mild stinging, but it should settle down.

Extra care

During this first week strictly avoid the temptation to add new products. Do not even use products you had been using before starting this regimen. That means no face packs, no sunscreen, no moisturizer, no toner, no fairness creams, no face wipes, no pore strips, no facials, no makeup (not even eye / lip makeup), no shaving cream, no aftershave nothing.

Do not use Triacneal during the day. If you see too much dryness the next day, use Triacneal on alternate nights.

Keep out of the sun as much as possible during this week and cover the face with a thick cloth if you have to be outdoors. Otherwise the skin may tan more than usual.

Starter Acne Regimen Week 2

If you feel a difference in breakouts, redness and whiteheads, it is time to step up the acne regimen. If you do not see a positive difference, follow the week 1 plan for one more week.

Morning routine

  1. Guys follow the same shaving instructions as in week 1.
  2. Wash face with Sebamed Clear Face Cleansing Foam.
  3. Apply sunscreen all over the face. Wait 15 minutes.
  4. Gently glide moisturizer on dry areas only if needed and only where needed.
  5. Dab dark spot treatment product on the dark marks from acne.

Evening routine

  1. Wash face with face wash.
  2. Triacneal all over the acne prone areas except near the eyes, sides of nose and near the mouth.
  3. If your skin can tolerate it, generously dab dark spot treatment product on the dark spots once Triacneal has absorbed into the skin.


If and only if skin continues to be oily, use Proactiv Solution Refining face mask. The instructions for use are given on the tube.

Starter Acne Regimen Week 3

By now you should see a noticeable difference in acne and some difference in dark marks. If everything goes well so far,

  1. Women can add in a non-comedogenic liquid foundation. You can resume eye and lip makeup. Use a non-comedogenic makeup remover.
  2. Men can add back their usual shaving cream. If you see new pimples the next day, it is time to find a non-comedogenic shaving cream. Look for a formula that does not have added moisturizing ingredients and does not claim to be for sensitive skin since they usually contain pore-clogging emollients.
If you run into any problems, go through the Regimen Troubleshooting Guide carefully and see if your question is addressed there.

Spot treatment for new pimples

While following this regimen, you may still get new pimples once in a while.

A spot treatment is to use a bit of Metrogyl Gel on the pimple. Metrogyl is a topical antibiotic and members on Acne Mantra have reported good results with it. Test for any reaction first by only dotting it on a small part of the face.

If the pimple has popped and there is an open wound with some blood, do not apply Triacneal. Simply wash the pimple with Sebamed Cleansing Foam and pat it dry.

When will I see results?

Since this is a staggered regimen, you should start to see results from the first week itself. No, the skin will not clear magically overnight, no the dark spots will not vanish instantly, but you will see a difference. The best way to measure results is to take a closeup photo of your face right before starting the regimen. Then take a photo once every week under the same lighting conditions. And give this regimen 4 weeks.

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