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The Best Skincare Routine for Acne Prone Skin
Let’s be honest: how many times have you gone searching for the perfect acne-prone skin care routine only to be disappointed? I’m guessing more than once. Or twice. Or a couple of times. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Believe it or not, almost everyone has struggled with treating acne breakouts at some point in their lives. Apart from our skin simply having changing needs over time, it’s rarely ever a one-size-fits-all deal when it comes to skincare. So, suffice it to say that having to go through a trial and error stage with treatment is completely normal.
However, there are some basic guidelines to go by if you want to cut the process short. Some breakouts go away with the use of OTC acne treatments (at least, minor acne usually does!), while others require a visit to your favorite dermatologist.
From one acne-struggling gal to another, here’s a quick run-through of all the basics so you don’t have to spend ages fixing your skin.
What should I avoid if I have acne prone skin?
First things first, avoid anything that might trigger breakouts or aggravate acne. This means knowing your skin down to the tee. Some common culprits that can clog pores include:
- Comedogenic oils
- Thick cleansers
- Unremoved makeup
- Sun exposure
Easy, right? Just avoid slathering too-thick oils on your skin (check out this guide to know which oils are going to clog your pores), use a gentle cleanser, wash your makeup off before bed, and wear sunscreen. Along with regular exfoliation, that should be enough to clean your face and get rid of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.
But what if you’re already doing this and you still get acne? In the case of inflammatory acne, like the cystic and pustule-y kind, the food you eat might be a factor. Do you eat a lot of dairy, sugars, or oily food? It might be time to cut those off.
In my case, dairy was a huge trigger for cystic acne. I used to drink a lot of cow’s milk with my coffee, but ever since I switched it for a plant-based alternative, I rarely got the nasty, painful breakouts that plagued my chin and cheeks.
Another trigger might be your period. Our hormone levels tend to rise during our red days, which means more acne-prone skin. Talk to your dermatologist about treatment options if this sounds like something you’re struggling with.
How do I create a skincare routine for acne?
Anyone can have acne-prone skin, no matter the skin type. Dry skin, sensitive skin, and oily skin types can all struggle with acne. Knowing your skin type and what products your skin loves can give you a better idea of what acne medications might or might not work for you. If you don’t know where to start and are scared to self-treat, then it’s best to seek the advice of a skin care professional.
What skincare do dermatologists recommend for acne?
Brendan Camp, a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology, tells Byrdie that the best place to start is a foundational skin care routine that can be modified according to one’s individual needs.
According to Dr. Arash Akhavan, another dermatologist who spoke with the online magazine, “not all acne treatment requires prescription products.” Sometimes, a simple, minimal, and consistent skincare routine is all the acne treatment you need.
Want to achieve healthy skin once and for all? The answer may lie in your skincare routine. Acne-prone skin types require a special kind of maintenance routine for their skin concerns, and as Dr. Camp said, having a flexible foundational routine is a must. Here’s a basic morning acne routine to help you start your day:
Gentle cleansers are perfect for an oil-free finish. You may opt for a mild cleanser or a specific acne-fighting face wash to keep your oil production (and your oil glands) from going overboard. A mild cleanser is perfect for blemish-prone skin and oily-skin, as they’re light and won’t clog your pores.
Toner (for Oily Skin)
If your sebaceous glands are particularly menacing, adding a toner to your acne routine might be what you need to remove excess oil. Plenty of toners have active ingredients like glycolic acid and salicylic acid that kill acne-causing bacteria and remove dead skin cells sitting on the skin’s surface.
On the other hand, if toners make your skin dry or if you have peeling skin, you might do better skipping this step.
I know what you’re thinking — won’t moisturizer result in overly-shiny skin? Not if you use the right kind.
An oil-free moisturizer is perfect for those with oily skin types, while an extra-hydrating moisturizer (look for hyaluronic acid and ceramides) can help your skin barrier stay strong and healthy. Don’t worry, though — even a well-formulated facial oil can actually help get rid of acne-causing bacteria and soothe skin.
Remember that having too-dry skin can also make it more prone to acne and breakouts, so make sure to keep your face moisturized.
Want to keep your skin youthful, bright, happy, and acne-free all at once? Stop skipping the broad spectrum SPF! Facial sunscreens play one of the most vital roles in keeping our skin healthy because they prevent harmful UV rays from seeping in and doing some serious damage.
To avoid excess oil or that “greasy feeling” on your face, we recommend going for an oil-free sunscreen.
Acne treatments are by far the most important part of your routine. Many acne treatment medications are available over-the-counter, including salicylic acid and adapalene, which work best as a spot treatment for whiteheads and blackheads.
For those who suffer from inflammatory acne, your best bet is benzoyl peroxide or niacinamide to target the problem.
Another option is a gentle active exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and prevent clogged pores. Plenty of exfoliants are marketed as acne skincare products as they include actives which promote faster skin cell turnover.
So there you have it! We hope these tips and tricks are helpful in your journey to achieving healthy skin. Have a few questions? Don’t hesitate to comment below.
Joey is an AB Psychology graduate of the University of St. La Salle – Bacolod. Her life’s passions include writing, film, and spending hours on end binge-watching fashion vloggers on Youtube.