You cleanse, moisturise and mask religiously every night only to wake up in the morning to have your mood dampened by that sneaky zit that popped up while you were sleeping. What you might not realise is that your skincare habits might be what’s causing your acne troubles. Here are some to look out for.
If you suffer from acne-prone skin and are aware of it, then you probably take preemptive steps to prevent the next flare up. But while acne can be caused by environmental stressors, hormones and even the wrong diet, what many of us might not know is that our daily skincare routines could also be the reason for our worsening acne woes. Read on to find out which of these skincare habits might be what’s causing those pesky zits!.
01 Trying New Acne Treatments Too Frequently
Have you experienced trying out a new acne treatment just for your skin to become worse than before? This then leads you to throw it out and replace it with a new treatment just for the cycle to repeat again? If you find yourself doing this frequently, then this could just be the very reason for your acne troubles!!
Breakouts start deep within the skin and it can take more than 8 weeks before a blemish works its way to your skin’s surface. The appearance of newly formed acne on your skin might just be your skin purging due to that new treatment. The term ‘skin purging' refers to when your skin clears out any backed-up impurities, bacteria or infections hiding in your pores and it can take between 12 - 16 weeks for acne to completely clear.
So, if you find that your acne-prone skin worsens within a few days of using a new treatment, don't panic and purchase the next acne treatment on your skincare wishlist. Give the acne treatment time to work and your skin time to adapt to the treatment. You would want to use a treatment for at least 8 weeks, and if there are still no signs of improvement, you can move on to the next product.
02 Applying Acne Treatment Only To Problem Spots
One of the most common mistakes people make with acne medication is only using it on existing pimples. Some dermatologists might instruct you to apply your acne treatment only on problem spots, but by doing so, it will treat the acne you can see but not help you prevent new ones from popping out.
To prevent new blemishes, spread a very thin layer over the areas where you tend to breakout like your T-zone. Salicylic Acid, Benzoyl Peroxide and Sulfur are common active ingredients that can be found in acne treatments and they are highly effective in unclogging pores and reducing breakouts.
However, they can be harsh on your skin, so use only a small amount and apply a thin layer of the product not more than once a day. If your skin shows signs of irritation or redness, try to soothe it by incorporating skincare products such as hydrating moisturisers and essences that have ingredients such as Aloe Vera or Hyaluronic Acid.
03 Washing Your Face Too Frequently
Overwashing, even if it is just splashing your face with water, can be just as bad, or even worse, than not cleansing your face at all. The skin on our faces is very delicate and washing too frequently can quickly dry out your skin by stripping away all of the essential oils your skin needs to stay plump.
The ensuing dryness from overwashing can prompt your skin's oil glands to produce even more oil to compensate for the lack of moisture and lead to even more acne breakouts. Overwashing can also break down the acid mantle, a protective coating that we have over our skin made up of oil, sweat and good bacteria that keeps our skin healthy.
Instead, cleanse only twice a day, when you wake up and before you go to bed. If you often do strenuous or outdoor activities and perspire, then a third cleanse might be needed but for most of us, twice a day is good enough and you shouldn’t cleanse more than necessary.
The types of cleansers you use on your acne-prone skin is also an essential factor. Choosing the right cleanser for oily skin or acne-prone skin can be tricky, but the general rule of thumb is to select a gentle non-foaming cleanser with soothing ingredients like aloe vera, centella asiatica or calendula.
05 Scrubbing or Over Exfoliating
If you’re already over washing then you are probably also scrubbing. If you are suffering from acne-prone skin then you might be tempted to try to scrub your skin clean in the mistaken hope that it will prevent your acne troubles from getting worse but you would be wrong. Physical exfoliation, or scrubbing, can irritate your skin causing acne to flare up and may cause a breakout or worsen an existing one.
Instead of releasing your inner OCD, stick with a gentle non-comedogenic cleanser and gently cleanse your face twice a day and don’t rub your skin dry with a towel. Gently pat it dry. If you do need to exfoliate, opt for a chemical exfoliator as they generally do not require rubbing or scrubbing for it to work.
05 Drying Out Your Skin With Blotting Papers
For those who wear makeup daily, blotting sheets are a must-have in our makeup bags to keep that bowling ball sheen at bay. Overusing oil blotting sheets can also be bad for your skin. Similar to how washing your face too frequently can cause your skin to produce more oil, drying out your skin with oil blotting sheets can also trigger your oil glands to create even more oil sebum.
Not only can over blotting trigger sebum overproduction but the dabbing motion also pushes dirt and bacteria back into our pores. While the blotting paper does in fact absorb some of the oil, you are actually pushing the rest of the dirt, grime, makeup and excess oil that it did not absorb back into your pores increasing the chances of an acne breakout.
If you struggle with oily skin and absolutely feel the need to blot away all that excess oil, you can reduce the adverse effect by following it up with a hydrating mist or moisturiser for that isn’t too heavy. By moisturising and providing hydration after stripping your skin off its natural oils, it will help restore balance preventing your skin from drying out and sebum production from going into hyperdrive.
The list does not end here, but by simply avoiding these common skincare habits, avoiding food that causes acne breakouts and replacing them with good habits, you might be able to see some improvement and achieve clearer skin.
From cleansers to moisturisers for acne-prone skin, shop our range of skincare products suitable for your skin at Asian Beauty X.
About the writer
Stacy Liu, an American-born Chinese, is the beauty editor at Asian Beauty X obsessively writing about new beauty launches, the best hair products, and the skincare formulas that really work for every skin type.