A. The Best Skincare Routine for Acne, According to Dermatologists
Each product we offer has been independently selected and verified by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the included links, we may receive a commission. One of the biggest misconceptions I had about acne is that my rashes would stop at a certain age. In fact, my relationship with acne has spanned decades. From the strange pimples on my cheek to the hormonal rashes along my jaw, I saw (and tried everything) everything when it comes to acne products. Because, hey, even though I am totally in favor of the positivity movement of the skin, I would be lying if I said that my confidence is not impaired by a bad escape.
And I am not alone in my battles with acne. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), up to 50 million people in the United States suffer from acne each year. Outbreaks in adult women are also increasing, affecting up to 15% of women. Several misconceptions and myths about skin care routines for acne-prone skin have spawned people trying to get rid of pimples quickly. Does it help to choose a pimple to cure it? Do all the products you use have to be for acne? Are there over-the-counter products that actually treat hormonal acne? Dr. Corey L. Hartman, a certified dermatologist in Birmingham, Al. Says no to all of the above. At Dr. Hartman and Dr. Katie Beleznay, certified dermatologist in Vancouver, Canada, for their expert advice.
1. First step: cleaning
“Washing your face twice a day can remove oil, dirt and makeup. However, note that acne is not caused by ‘dirty’ skin. Excessive washing can damage the skin barrier and make acne worse.” says Dr. Beleznay. A mild cleanser like CerAve does the job without peeling the skin. However, if you have severe acne or if your skin tolerates it, both Dr. Hartman and Dr. Beleznay fans use a detergent containing alpha-hydroxy acids like glycol, for example.
“Alpha-hydroxy acids are generally a little softer and not only help in the treatment of acne, but also in the treatment of hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles”, explains Dr. Hartman. “Hyperpigmentation comes from inflammation and acne itself. If you don’t treat acne effectively, the longer it will lead to hyperpigmentation, the longer you let it rest, the more difficult it is to treat.” We are fans of the Glytones Mild Cream Cleanser, a foam cleaner formulated with 3.5% glycolic acid and non-irritating surfactants.
2. Step two: retinoid cream
Retinoids are the gold standard in skin care, as they treat common skin problems such as aging, texture and acne. “I generally recommend a retinoid (or retinol) whose strength is based on a combination of the severity of the acne and what your skin can handle,” says Dr. Beleznay. “Consistent and prolonged use of retinoids has been shown to help treat acne, stimulate collagen and improve fine lines, texture and skin tone.”
Over-the-counter options include retinol and adapalene (up to 1%), while prescription options include tretinoin and tazarotene. Just don’t use a retinoid as a local treatment – it’s not as effective. “Some people think that retinoids should be used as a local treatment, and that is a misunderstanding that we have to constantly dispel,” says Dr. Hartman. “Although they can be useful in this way, we know that they are even more useful in preventing the accumulation of dead skin cells, oil and debris in the hair follicles so that the pores do not clog and contribute to the development of inflammation and acne.” Dr. Hartman suggests Skin Better’s AlphaRet night cream. “It helps with aging, discoloration and acne, and it’s great for patients who don’t have a retinoid. Or for those with sensitive skin who have a hard time finding a retinoid to tolerate,” he says.
3. Step three: moisten
If the retinoid you are using does not act as a moisturizer, it is best to include it in your routine. “Keeping your skin hydrated is important. This can help prevent your skin from becoming too dry, and many of the treatments we use for acne can dry out your skin,” explains Dr. Beleznay. If your skin is very dry and your skin barrier is compromised, your skin may produce excess oil to compensate, which can cause pore clogging, blackheads and acne exacerbation. ”
4. Step four: sun protection
Sunscreens should never be omitted. However, it is especially important to protect your skin from UVA / UVB rays when using anti-acne agents that can sensitize your skin.
Dr. Hartman recommends a mineral sunscreen because chemical formulas can cause contact acne in some people. “In people with acne, we tend to see irritation not so much from certain ingredients, but from the vehicle they are in,” he says. “Oil-based or heavier formulas can cause comedones, so sunscreen can make acne worse.” Look for a mineral sun protection factor that is emollient, not heavy creams.
5. Step five: localized treatment
“Your best choice is to use your current acne prevention agent as part of a long-term strategy,” says Dr. Beleznay. “But if you happen to have an acne lesion that you want to treat quickly, you can use topical benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid – just make sure you don’t overdo it.” This basic drugstore treatment contains 2% benzoyl peroxide to treat existing pimples and prevent bacteria from forming new ones.
6. What about hormonal acne?
The hard truth is that there is not much you can do about hormonal acne at home. Both Dr. Beleznay and Dr. Hartman cite spironolactone, a prescription pill, as a great option for treating hormone-induced breakouts. In addition, birth control pills are sometimes recommended as a treatment option. “A dermatologist can inject a steroid into one of these lumps because they come out at the wrong time, but it shows how few effective treatments are available,” says Dr. Hartman.
B. The Best Skin Care Routine For Acne
Acne feels like an endless battle, doesn’t it? If pimples on your face are common, it’s time to fix your skin care routine. With the right information and guidance, you can control your outbreaks and reduce signs of outbreaks. Remember, when it comes to acne, knowledge is power. Then read on.
1. Know your skin
Although “acne-prone skin” products are currently available on the market, skin products cannot be potions that suit everyone. It is important to know and understand what type of skin you are working with. This is the first step in finding an effective way to care for your skin. The wrong diagnosis of your skin type and the use of the wrong products can cause excess oiliness, irritation, dryness of the skin and rashes.
Although each skin is unique, there are five main types:
There is a difference between skin type and skin problems. Skin problems can be temporary dryness, aging or wrinkles and can affect all skin types. The environment can affect skin problems that change over time. For example, your skin may become more oily in the summer, while a lot of lotion is needed in the winter. Remember this distinction when choosing skin products.
2. What determines your skin type?
3. How can I identify my skin type?
You can determine your skin type with just a few simple tests.
- Use a mild cleanser to wash your face and remove dirt, oil and makeup
- Dry your face and leave your skin exposed. Leave it like that for an hour and resist the temptation to touch your face with your hands.
- After an hour, carefully observe the quality of your skin. What do you see?
Now that you’ve determined your skin type, dive a little deeper and learn what you can do to keep it in line.
4. Know your type of acne
Not all acne is caused in the same way. If you only know the different types of acne and have a plan of attack for each type of acne, you will be well ahead of the curve of fair skin.
a. Hormonal acne (non-inflammatory)
An unexpected number of pimples around the jaw and chin. Do these uncomfortable pimples appear at the same time of the month, just before you menstruate? If so, your acne is the work of balance hormones. Your oil production can go full blast thanks to hormones. This means that there is a good chance that too much oil will accumulate in the pores and cause rashes.
b. Whiteheads (non-flammable)
A normal spine, except that it has a white dot in the middle. Whiteheads are a combination of dead skin cells and sebum in a small, white package. You can safely blame your pores clogged by them. Whiteheads form when skin cells come together and block the opening of the pore. It’s called a whitehead, which is the clogged pore, because of the white you see above. Whiteheads usually appear on oily skin types. When the oil mixes with the bacteria and dirt, it causes an inflammation that eventually turns into a swollen red lump (pimple). As tempting as it is to pop pimples, isn’t it? Touching the skin is one of the main reasons for acne-related scars.
c. Papules (inflammatory)
Spots of small red pimples. Technically, any small, raised bump on the skin is known as a wheal. When it comes to acne, it is actually inflammatory acne caused by bacteria. As the bacteria grows on the skin, it causes inflammation and leads to red, sensitive acne swellings. These bumps tend to be quite painful.
d. Pustules (inflammatory)
Inflamed red pimples filled with a yellow or white liquid. Although they vaguely resemble pimples, they are a larger and inflamed version. It is a pimple that has developed on a head and forms a pus-filled blister. Unlike the spine, which is an obstructed hair follicle, this spine is caused by bacteria.
e. Cystic (inflammatory) acne
Several large and angry pimples. You probably have cystic acne if the pimples are large, red and painful. It is one of the most serious types that usually appear due to hormones or genetics. They can usually be worse than other types of acne, simply because they are deep in the skin and the clogged pores cause infection, making them painful and slow to heal. Some things you can do to keep it under control are to keep the area clean, use chemical peels and fight infection. It is best to contact a dermatologist who can advise you accordingly.
f. Blackheads (non-flammable)
Small dark spots that clog pores. Similar to white blackheads, blackheads are caused by clogged pores due to the accumulation of bacteria, skin cells and sebum. The blackheads have a larger opening, which means that the air can penetrate and oxidize the oil that is in the pore, making it even darker, hence the name blackheads. If you have blackheads, don’t skip the scrub.
g. Blind pimples (non-flammable)
Subtle bumps under the skin that are painful. As the name suggests, blind pimples are invisible to the naked eye, but you can feel them. This type of pimple is under the skin, it is like a small balloon with nowhere to go. The pressure continues to increase, making you sore or sensitive to touch. Do not tighten or pull them out, it will only make them worse. They usually disappear on their own in a few days.
5. Skin care routine for acne prone skin
a. Step 1 – Clean the contaminants with a detergent (morning and evening).
Regardless of your skin type, cleansing should be the first step in any skin care routine. It is important to clean your skin effectively twice a day, especially if you have acne-prone skin. This will help to remove any impurities, oil and dirt that can clog your pores and cause insects, pimples or blackheads.
In fact, you don’t need to use an anti-acne facial soap to clean your face. Usually, acne cleansers are dry and resistant. Instead of healing your face, your skin is more prone to rashes. Removing layers of skin will not save you from rashes. You have to fight a very mild war with the help of a neutral detergent without sulfate that will dissolve bacteria, dirt and excess oil without peeling or irritating your skin.
b. Step 2 – Toner (morning and night)
The next step after cleaning is to apply toner to open the pores. The toners help to prepare the skin for the next step, so that it can fully absorb the products. Toners also help to remove excess oil, fight blemishes and blackheads and keep your skin hydrated. Take a cotton ball and apply a few drops of toner on it. Apply gently to face and neck.
Astringents are best for oily and acne-prone skin care regimens as they are designed to remove excess oil. The best treatment for dry acne-prone skin is to use a moisturizing tonic. The ideal choice is to include alcohol-free products in your skin care regimen for sensitive and acne-prone skin.
c. Step 3 – moisten (morning and evening)
Hydrated skin is happy skin. A moisturizer will help restore, hydrate and protect your skin. Moisturizing already oily skin may seem counterintuitive. On the contrary, all skin types, including a skin care regimen for acne, require daily hydration. You must not neglect this step. Without a moisturizer, the glands are fully functioning to compensate for excess oil and soil, resulting in clogged pores and excessively shiny skin.
After treating acne, your skin is thirsty for moisture. A light moisturizer reduces dryness and flaking of the skin, once in the morning and once in the evening. And no, before you ask, you don’t need a separate night cream. Your morning moisturizer has all the ingredients you need. Mixing and combining many active ingredients can make products ineffective if the ingredients do not work well with each other or, worse, cause severe irritation. Wait a minute or two at night for the moisturizer to penetrate before moving on to the next stage of local treatment.
d. Step 4 – Protect with sun protection factor (morning and night)
Daily use of SPF is non-negotiable, regardless of your skin type. Although you do not need this step at night, it is mandatory during the day. Sunscreens and acne-prone skin types have not worked well in the past. Many people stop using sunscreens because the thicker SPF usually clogs pores and causes more rashes. If this is one of the reasons why you are avoiding this product, reconsider.
Sunscreens should be an essential part of your acne skin care regimen, as many acne medications make your skin prone to sun damage. In addition, you are subject to signs of premature aging, skin damage, development of skin cancer, etc. Sunscreens are a long way from thick and oily material. There are many easy options available. If your moisturizer contains SPF, there is no need for an additional SPF product. You should consider a separate product if your moisturizer does not contain a sun protection factor. Choose a moisturizer suitable for your face, rather than for your entire body. Facial sunscreens are less oily.
e. Step 5 – Treatment product (night)
Treatment products formulated with active ingredients are the driving force of any skin care routine, and this is where the magic really happens. For acne-prone skin, combine your night care with acne-specific medications, such as local treatments, to hasten your death from acne. Acne treatments contain powerful ingredients that reduce pimples and lighten scars. It is best to use a prescription product from your dermatologist.
Remember, with acne, less is more. Using too many topical products will dry out and irritate your skin. Nor is acne something that goes away overnight. It is a process that requires a lot of patience. Give your skin enough time to adjust to the skin care regimen for acne prone skins before you see results. If in doubt, make an appointment with your dermatologist, who can help you determine your skin needs. To differentiate, you need to use a product for at least six weeks and once or twice a day.
6. Other recommended tips
- Keep your hands away from your face
- Stay as far away from the sun as possible
- Daily exercise
- Learn how to get less stressed
- Follow a healthy diet
- Don’t pick or pop your pimples
- Change your bedding at least once a week
7. Wrapping Up
Good skin is not just about genetics; your daily habits play an important role in what you see in the mirror. You know the basics – follow a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep and use the right products for your skin type. Unfortunately, there is no immediate solution. You will need patience and time to reap the benefits.