Medically reviewed by Allison Truong, M.D.

If your doctor prescribes topical treatment—medication that’s applied directly to the skin—it’s important to follow their directions closely. However, as many as 65 percent of people who are prescribed topicals do not follow all the recommendations their doctor has given them. Yet, in order to get your skin condition and symptoms under control, it’s crucial to stay on top of your treatment.

“I can suggest over-the-counter medications or prescribe medications, but they don’t work if they’re not used,” says Laura Ferris, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and director of clinical trials for the UPMC Department of Dermatology.