Ah, acne. That age-old problem pestering young people and adults alike. But, regardless if you’re dealing with acne for a long time, or you’re down with that odd acne inflammation, chances are acne is trying to tell you something. And that is: take better care of your skin. Especially if your skin is prone to acne. Which is exactly what we are going to tell you how to do, today! Here are the best tips for acne-prone skin.
To have acne-prone skin is one thing, but to have acne is a totally different thing. You can have the healthiest skin on the planet, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get acne. But why? What causes acne?
Well, one of the factors is definitely hygiene. As time goes by, our skin gets covered by microscopic dirt, dust, dead skin cells, and sometimes even excessive skin oil (also known as sebum). If not cleaned, these substances can gradually enter your pores and clog them. And clogged pores then turn into whiteheads and blackheads, which leads to acne.
But what am I getting at? Well, that you should absolutely use a cleanser!
But not just any cleanser. Sure, a normal cleanser will do for people with normal skin, but if you have acne-prone skin, you’ll need something gentler. For starters, take a look at the soaps you’re using to wash your face, and the shower gels and shampoos you use in the shower. Is it possible to find milder variants? Make sure you try, because for people with acne-prone skin, even the so-called normal soaps and washes can prove irritating and dry your skin.
Additionally, some cleansers include salicylic acid and AHAs, substances that are often used as exfoliants, which can further dry or irritate your acne-prone skin. So, you will have to use cleansers and maintain good hygiene, but if your skin is prone to acne, only the milder, gentler cleansers will help.
Regardless of your skin type, scrubbing and exfoliating may seem like the perfect way to refresh your skin and cleanse it, but exfoliation can be too much even for people with normal skin. Let alone if your skin is prone to acne. The problem is that scrubbing and exfoliation work by, technically, damaging your skin (or at least the uppermost layers of it). And the question then becomes do you really need to damage your skin even further if you’re already down with a bout of acne?
The answer is, of course, no. That being said, even if you have acne-prone skin, you can still use scrubs and exfoliators, but you should make sure you do it properly, gently and only occasionally. Dermatologists recommend that people should exfoliate once, up to two times per week in order to avoid over-exfoliation. And that’s for people with normal skin. For people with acne-prone skin, you should exfoliate even less frequently, or ideally, avoid it altogether.
As we mentioned above, using stronger soaps and washes, and exfoliators as well can cause your skin to dry up. But if you’re a person with oily skin and initially think that’s a good thing, let me stop you there. First of all, dry skin is unpleasant, because it can flake off, get itchy, red and irritated.
But that’s just on the surface level. The problem for people with oily skin or acne-prone skin is that after your skin gets too dry, your body sounds the alarm to repair itself. What this means is that your skin then begins overproducing sebum (skin oil) in order to compensate for the dryness. And too much sebum is one of the main factors that lead to acne because it clogs your pores.
So, how to avoid that scenario? If you want to avoid dry skin, there are many tools at your disposal. For example, protecting your face and hands by wearing gloves and scarves during winter will go a long way. Your skin won’t freeze and get too dry, and the extra sebum won’t kick in, which means you won’t get acne. If you still end up with chapped palms, or lips, or cheeks, some lip balm and moisturizer will fix that.
During summer, you can prevent dry skin by using a high-quality sunscreen and using a quality moisturizer. Additionally, avoid taking hot showers and rubbing your skin dry with a towel afterward. That will only make your water molecules evaporate and leave your skin drier than it was before. But if you’re simply a fan of hot showers, applying a body lotion after bathing can soothe your skin and moisturize it.
Acid. It sounds scary, doesn’t it? But relax, salicylic acid is actually natural and pretty much harmless (well, unless you pour a gallon of the thing, undiluted, over yourself). Salicylic acid is actually one of the most widely used substances in skincare and a staple of many cosmetic products. Also known as beta hydroxy acid (or BHA), salicylic acid is used as a facial cleanser, and is especially efficient in removing dead skin cells and cleaning clogged pores.
Unlike many AHAs which are water soluble, salicylic acid is oil soluble, which helps it enter the pores clogged with skin oil (sebum) and clean them from the inside. This means that salicylic acid is, however, not suitable for everyone. People with naturally dry skin or sensitive skin will either find it ineffective or even potentially irritating. If you’re such a person, your best bet is opting for a cleanser based on AHAs. But, for people with oily skin, or skin prone to acne, salicylic acid can do wonders. Your face and your pores will thank you. The smoothness that salicylic-based cleansers provide is hard to find anywhere else. And besides, by offering a deep cleansing of your pores, it prevents the onset of acne. Perfect, right?
You don’t want dirty makeup brushes rubbing all over your face. And by dirty I don’t exactly mean what we generally mean. Let me explain. In time, even our most trusted and adored makeup brushes can accumulate random dust and bacteria on them. The problem is that some of the ingredients in makeup present a suitable basis for certain types of germs to prosper, and the exposure to air and the elements doesn’t help either. Sooner or later, you may find yourself with a surprise acne inflammation that you aren’t able to explain.
The likely, but overlooked culprit? Your makeup brushes. And sponges, and other paraphernalia. So here’s what to do. If your brushes and sponges haven’t been cleaned in a looong time, you should definitely wash them. And twice. Sponges are a bit trickier though since their structure allows them to harbor more bacteria and are much more difficult to clean well. If you have an old sponge that has no white sections remaining at all, it’s better to throw it away and get a new one.
Dermatologists and beauticians recommend that you wash your makeup brushes and sponges at least every 2 weeks. Shampoo, regular soap, dishwashing soap, and even facial cleansers will do. Just add several drops of the detergent into a cup of water, swish the brushes inside, then rinse them well. After that, squeeze out the excess water from the sponges (or pat the brushes dry) and lay them horizontally to dry. Or, you can really wash them any way you like - they’re your makeup tools. Just make sure they’re clean because your acne-prone skin loves them that way.
A while ago we tried to answer a very popular question. Does makeup cause acne? And, the short answer is “definitely yes.” All in all, makeup, especially if you’re putting on too much or using makeup products that aren’t good for your skin, can definitely contribute to the appearance of acne. But how?
Well, as we mentioned above, dirty makeup brushes, overused sponges, and sometimes even old makeup products can be a contributing factor to acne inflammation. But there are other makeup factors to be mindful of - for example, the type and quality of your foundation. It is exactly the foundation that comes into close, direct contact with your skin. So when it comes to makeup and acne, the foundation is one of the prime suspects.
The problem is that most foundations are made up of thinly crushed powder that can clog your pores, and sometimes even add grease and oil to your skin instead of removing it. But, all that can be avoided if you switch over to mineral-based foundations and other kinds of makeup. Mineral-based foundations are made of microscopic grains of silica, zinc oxide, titanium oxide, and other metals and minerals that don’t clog your pores. And not just that, they’re designed to absorb any excess oil present on your skin. Additionally, mineral-based makeup also has anti-inflammatory properties, providing additional protection against irritation and acne.
Needless to say, this makes mineral-based foundation and other types of makeup especially well suited for people with acne-prone skin. It’s basically getting foundation and cleanser together, 2 in 1. What’s not to love?
Are you perhaps wondering why you’re breaking out on your neck, cheeks, forehead, or even your back? Well, chances are your shampoo, conditioner, or shower gel have something to do with it. Shampoos nowadays try to be flashy and tempting, so cosmetics companies add all sorts of (really unnecessary) ingredients to them. Most of these fall into the category of fragrances, dyes, or preservatives, but the problem is that most such substances can irritate your skin. Or dry it up.
And we know what’s happening after our skin gets dried up, right? It bounces back by turning too oily - and bringing acne in tow. So, what is one to do? Well, at the very least, you can try making some changes in your taste for shampoos and shower gels. You’ll have to check their labels and make sure the product doesn’t contain any parabens, perfumes, and so on. If you have a choice between a clear-looking product, and a colored one, chances are that the colored one has more stuff added to it. So, try changing up your hair care routine with new products that are fragrance-free and don’t contain parabens or preservatives.
This is basically the most important tip for keeping your face clean and free of acne. But I feel it needs to be said time and time again. Just stop touching your face, please. You put your hands literally everywhere. We touch everything with our hands, from our food, to the toilet paper, to the keyboard, to the seats in public transit. If you think you can always keep your hands clean after every interaction, that’s impossible.
So what happens? Our hands (or to be more specific, our fingers) collect all sorts of dirt, dust, gunk, grease, bacteria, and other assorted filth. But that’s fine, and that can’t be avoided. It’s the job that our hands have. The problem happens though when you touch your face. What do you think happens then?
Well, all that dirt, grease, filth, dust, bacteria, and so on from your fingers get transferred onto your face. And as I mentioned in the earlier sections, adding material to our skin ends up clogging our pores, and results in acne. And don’t get me started on trying to pop pimples - that’s a strict no-go. It can damage your skin, it can spread harmful bacteria around, it can cause you to have more acne, and finally, it can leave you with long-lasting scars.
Do you want that? Of course you don’t. So, refrain from touching your face or popping zits.
This is even worse if you have sensitive skin, or oily skin, or your skin is just prone to acne. Be very, very mindful of any urges to touch your face during the day. If you absolutely need to, take a short tour to the bathroom, or the nearest sink, and wash your hands first. But if you want to have clear skin, remember: don’t touch your face. This is especially important for people with acne-prone skin.
While science has yet to provide a definitive answer to the question does dairy cause acne, there have been numerous cases where there appears to be a significant correlation. Many skin professionals suspect that some components in dairy, especially milk, are related to testosterone and other hormones. The problem with that is that those components affect our body too, and make our skin produce excess amounts of skin oil (sebum). And we know what excess sebum leads to, right?
So, what can you do? This is not a tough call for people who are already not huge fans of milk and cheese. But for everyone else, getting rid of dairy products won’t be that simple. After all, there is some veeeery tasty cheese out there! And don’t get me started on all those articles comparing cheese to a cocaine addiction and so on.
So, giving up cheese is not that easy man. But here’s what you can do. You can try cutting out milk and cheese (and other dairy products) for a limited amount of time. Let’s say you stop eating dairy for 2 weeks. Wondering what will happen and how your skin will react? Well, the only way to answer that is to try it for yourself. You don’t have to follow a dairy-free diet (although it can be good for you), but the least you can do is stay off the cheese, Louise.
Let’s be clear - it’s always better to use a noncomedogenic product that a comedogenic one. For a product to be noncomedogenic, it means that whatever it contains, it won’t clog your pores. And who wants their pores clogged, right?
Right. But how well-substantiated are those claims? And just what is the difference between a comedogenic product, and a noncomedogenic product? Well, it turns out that it’s difficult to tell. Even the FDA doesn’t have an official definition regarding the noncomedogenic label. In other words, the ability of a given product, or a substance, to clog your pores, hasn’t been scientifically and objectively established.
So what gives, why are then so many skincare companies putting out products that boast of being “noncomedogenic”? Well, they go by a simple rule of thumb: most oils are comedogenic, i.e., they become sticky when dry, and therefore clog your pores. So chances are if a product is noncomedogenic, it is also oil-free. However, the world being what it is, this is not always the case.
So, if you want to make your acne-prone skin less prone to acne, your best bet is looking for products that don’t contain oils, i.e. oil-free. Additionally, you should be on the lookout for products that are also free from additional (but often irritating and unnecessary) ingredients, such as preservatives, dyes, and fragrances. So, always go for the natural, oil-free options. After all, they are the best, and least harmful, options for sensitive, acne-prone skin.
This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances, and its goal is to offer a general view of the subject. In case you are suffering from a severe case of acne, you should consult with a dermatologist or a certified medical professional.