With the many fad routines, products and gadgets for acne-prone skin available on the market today, it can get quite confusing as to where to begin. But caring for acne-prone skin doesn’t need to be complicated or cost a bomb. Here are 7 quick and easy tips to get you started on the road to clear skin!
I know, it can sometimes feel like the end of the world when you get a breakout at the wrong time like right before a big event or maybe that first date. When that happens, it's always tempting to reach for that latest miracle product or gadget to try to blast that stubborn zit into oblivion, failing which hiding away in the closet till it goes away is also a popular option.
If you are one of those who suffer from acne-prone skin, first of all, take a deep breath, keep calm and remember you’re not alone. As difficult and embarrassing as it can be when those stubborn zits start popping up, this doesn’t have to be your fate.
While there are many root causes for acne many, if not all of these risk factors can be mitigated with a disciplined routine and good skincare habits. Here are 7 quick and easy tips to incorporate into your daily basic skincare routine to keep those breakouts in check!
01 Cleanse Your Face Twice A Day
If you have acne-prone skin, cleansing your face and cleansing properly is a vital step. One of the main causes of acne is the infection and subsequent inflammation of pores that have been clogged by impurities such as sebum, dead skin and dirt. This is why cleansing regularly is important to remove the daily accumulation of impurities and bacteria off of your skin.
Unsurprisingly, those with oily complexions are at higher risk of developing acne-prone skin as the excess sebum production increases the chances of clogged pores creating the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, in turn increasing the chances of infections and those pesky breakouts. So, cleanse twice daily, morning and night to ensure that these impurities do not accumulate.
While regular cleansing is good, remember that over cleansing can actually have the opposite intended effect. Over cleansing happens when you either cleanse too often or use too harsh a cleanser that strips your skin of its protective moisture and oil barrier. This barrier serves to protect your skin from external aggressors and stripping it can make your skin more vulnerable not just to acne but other potential skin issues too!
It can also exacerbate those with oily skin as your skin compensates for the loss of its protective barrier by producing more oil which is the opposite of what you want! A simple rule of thumb is that if your skin is feeling tight after a cleanse, you are either doing it too often or using too harsh a cleanser.
02 Use The Right Cleanser
Cleansing regularly won’t be much use if you’re using the wrong cleanser as well. There are many types of cleansers - foam, gel, oil, cleansing waters and more - and understanding what they do and how to use them will ensure that you are getting an effective cleanse without stripping your skin off its protective oil and moisture barrier. This is especially important for acne-prone skin types as your skin is already vulnerable.
Foam cleansers are probably the most common type of cleansers that you’ll find in your drug store and are popular especially with those with oily and acne-prone skin as the surfactants in these cleansers are very effective at removing excess sebum. Because of this, Foam Cleansers also tend to be very stripping and so if you like this type of cleansers, be sure to test them out first before you commit to it.
Contrary to popular belief, Oil Cleansers can be very effective for oily and acne-prone skin types. The oils used in these cleansers such as Jojoba Oil are very similar in makeup to sebum and can be effective cleansing agents to help dissolve and remove excess sebum without stripping your skin off its protective barrier.
A popular cleansing routine is the Korean Double Cleanse and no, it isn’t simply washing your face twice in a row. This cleansing routine calls for an oil based cleanser first where its oil-based cleansing agents are better able to soften and loosen impurities in your pores and a foam or gel cleanser after to remove any leftover debris and to deep clean your pores.
03 Regularly Change Your Face Towel
How regular you ask? For most of us, the face towel should be changed every 1-2 days. Ideally, you would want to change the towel after every use but not everyone of us runs a laundromat and if you are anything like me, then you probably head laundry as well. But it's important to swap out your towels regularly especially if you have acne-prone skin.
A natural bacterial biome exists naturally on our skin and we leave dead skin cells, bacteria, residual cosmetics and skincare products, sweat and other impurities on the towel right after the first use. Those with acne-prone skin or sensitive skin are at higher risk of developing unwanted reactions from the lingering bacteria on your face towel.
Other good habits that you should adopt with regards to your face towel is to make sure that you thoroughly air dry your towel in between uses. It's helpful to hang your towel out in the open where there is fresh moving air away from the damp shower environment to minimise the growth of bacteria on the towel.
And never use your bath or hand towel for your face, it's important to keep them separate. Mixing your towels up increases the transference of bacteria and residual product from your body and hands to your face. A lot of science goes into the products we use for our face which are formulated to be gentler and not clog pores. This can’t be said for other products for the body and hands and this transference can result in unwanted reactions such as breakouts.
Yes! You need to moisturise your skin even if you do have oily and acne-prone skin. Many of us have the misconception that oily skin is the same as skin hydration but it could not be further from the truth. Sebum or skin oil, helps maintain the natural barrier that protects your skin while skin hydration is about ensuring sufficient moisture is absorbed into the layers of your skin.
Well hydrated skin maintains its plumpness, elasticity and resiliency which is important in managing acne-prone skin. In fact, it is possible to have an oily complexion with dehydrated skin which in turns leads to excessive sebum being produced by the sebaceous glands to protect what little moisture you have in your skin. The total opposite of what you want.
This can be made worse if you use acne treatments that contain ingredients such as Benzoyl Peroxide or Retin-A which tend to be very drying for your skin. If your skin’s moisture is not replaced after using these drying products, you might actually leave your skin more susceptible to a variety of skin issues and might even make your skin more acne-prone.
In short, moisturise! Look for water based lotions or gels that are less likely to exacerbate already acne-prone or oily skin and try to avoid oil based moisturisers which may increase the chances of clogged pores. When you’re shopping for the right moisturiser, it’s helpful to look out for the “Oil-free” label or “non-comedogenic” which means that it is less likely to clog your pores, the precursor to acne.
05 Thoroughly Remove All Makeup
If you’ve read down to this point then you’ve probably gathered by now that clogged pores, BAD. If you have acne-prone skin, your routines should focus primarily on keeping your pores clean and clear so that they do not get infected and result in painful pustules and pimples. This is why thoroughly removing your makeup is so important.
Always ensure your makeup is wiped off from your face and that no residue is left behind! One good way to tell is to pat a toning pad or damp cotton pads on your skin and see if there’s any pigments or dirt that gets picked up. If you have acne-prone skin then the oil-foam combo of a good double cleanse is probably what I would recommend to effectively remove your makeup.
No matter how tired you are, you are NOT allowed to sleep in your makeup. Trust me, your future, pimple-free self will thank you. And never use makeup wipes! They might seem extremely convenient and can give the illusion that you’ve removed all your makeup thoroughly but It’s. Not. Enough.
Makeup wipes typically contain harsh chemicals that strip away your essential oils and disrupt your skin’s pH levels. With the use of harsh chemicals, you would think that all the dirt and grime would be wiped effectively off your face but that’s not the case. Mostly, they just smear around whatever makeup, dirt, and dead skin is hanging out on your face causing your skin to get irritated.
06 Use Facial Sheet Mask Regularly
Facial sheet masks are the star product in the skincare world due to the hype caused by the Korean wave. While facial masks might not be a long-term remedy for acne-prone skin, incorporating the right sheet masks into your daily skincare routines can help to calm and soothe your skin and help minimise the chances of a breakout.
In South Korea, there is a famous “one day, one pack” skincare routine that involves the use of a facial sheet mask once a day in your basic skincare routine to achieve that much vaunted dewy glow. If you have acne-prone skin then you will want to stay away from this skincare routine or any other faddish routines that you read on Instagram. Daily masking can have the opposite effect of blocking your pores which is a big no-no.
Try masking once to twice a week and pick a high quality natural fibre mask with a soothing or calming ampoule. Some sheet masks help with tightening your pores which also reduces the chances of getting clogged pores and is also a good option. Don’t be tempted to put it on for as long as possible as the rich essence in these skin treatments can actually cause your skin to flare up.
07 Use The Right Skincare Products
This might seem like a no-brainer but with all the pop and sparkle of the modern beauty world, many of us buy into the marketing more than common sense. Make sure you’re doing your research from a reliable source, selecting the right products and ingredients for your skin and getting them from reputable brands and retailers. This can’t be stressed enough.
The rule actually applies to everyone but especially to those with acne-prone or sensitive skin as you are at a much higher risk of nasty, embarrassing flare ups. So don’t simply buy into a product because it's trending on Instagram or getting rave reviews from celebrities or influencers. You know your skin the best so don’t be afraid to ask a question when you need to.
Choosing the right product can be challenging and it would be impossible to condense everything there is to know into a short paragraph but if you have acne-prone and sensitive skin, the general rule would be to test, test, test. Understand the ingredients that you are using and test them out, changing around your products to see what works and what causes your skin to breakout.
It might seem absolutely maddening that you have to miss out on all the glitz, glamour and fun of trying new beauty products but it needs to be said and done. It might require a bit of extra effort but with the right skincare routine, habits and the right products, your acne woes will soon be a thing of the past and there’s no reason why you can’t achieve the coveted flawless “glass skin” of your dreams!
About the writer
Julia Mia, a woman who needs her full 8 hours of beauty sleep, is an avid fan of coffee with a fiery passion for writing and a flair for creativity. When she's not at her desk typing away, you'll find her in the kitchen, cooking Korean cuisines with her kids in the kitchen.