If you have struggled with acne at any point of your life, you will already know that there are a number of approaches to treating it. The approach that works for you depends entirely on your specific skin and genetic predisposition. It is really important to remember there is no such thing as “on-thing-fits-all” when it comes to treating acne.
Acne is caused by bacteria that most people have on their skin; when skin is oily and/or irritated – bacteria have an easier time of taking hold. Whether you are 30 and suddenly breaking out after having a life-time of clear skin , or a teenager with braces, hormones play a big part of the problem.
Hormones are responsible for oil production and a decreased resistance to infection and inflammation. Rosacea can also lead to breakouts. It has been long believed that the keywords for acne related skincare should be “fighting acce”. In fact, this preconceived notion that the harsher the chemical or the higher the alcohol content, the better it is at drying out acne is actually counter-productive to treating acne. The main problem with acne is the inflammation caused and with harsher products, the skin tends to flare up and this leads to a cascade of larger flareups. There is a gentler yet more effective approach to countering the problem.
So, what is the best way to sort out acne-prone skin?
Here are a few tips:
A gentle cleanser should be used both morning and night. Preferably something which is 4.5-5.5pH. Cleansing is possibly the most important step in your skincare regime. Problem skin can motivate people to constantly switch up their routine by trying out new products- however this is a mistake when dealing with acne. Consistency is key, as incorporating too many things at one time would cause more stress on your skin. Any given product can take about 6 weeks to work properly. So select with care and then give it a real chance.
Tip: When starting a new product, your skin may go through a purging period whereby it through period of getting worse before it gets better. Sometimes, it could be a question of breakouts just beneath the surface of the skin being drawn out more quickly; or that your skin is just reacting to change; therefore it is best to always remain patient.
If you have rosacea: It is advisable to consult a dermatologist
Tone-It!: Some experts argue that toning your skin is no longer a necessity as cleansers would be effective enough to provide pH balance to the skin. However, if you are living in the UK or parts of the US which has hard water, it is highly recommended that you keep the toner in your skincare regime. Toners allow us to wipe off any makeup/ grime or residues from the tap water. For those who suffer from acne especially, toning with a salicylic acid toner actually helps de-clog your pores by loosening up blackheads and whiteheads.
3. Facial Oils
Is it too oily?: We are a big advocate of incorporating facial oils into skincare regiments. Mineral oil however, causes acne and should never be part of any part of your skincare. Many natural oils are in fact beneficial for acne. There are some oils which are amazing for acne, such as tea tree oil, which in rich in anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, “oil-free” may seem like an instinctual but in fact oil is not only gentle but does a great job at cleansing and hydrating the skin.
Rebuild the barrier: Moisturisers may seem unnecessary for those with oily or acne skin, however it is in fact a crucial step in your skincare routine. Moisturisers (despite its name) is not made to moisturise the skin but in fact it acts as a protective barrier to help retain moisture and to help protect the skin from pollutants, weather conditions etc.
5. Active Ingredients
Salicylic Acid (willow bark) is considerably the gold standard in acne treatment. It is not only a powerful anti-inflammatory, has anti-bacterial (anti-microbial) properties but also helps to thoroughly cleanse the pores. The percentage of salicylic acid in a product doesn’t necessary indicate its strength, because the product strength is entirely dependant on how pH balance the product is, so higher percentage does not mean stronger and the lower the percentage does not mean gentler.
Retinol: It is a derivative of Vitamin A. Retinols and retinoids are both anti-acne and anti-aging. Retinols help the skin function, from rebuilding collagen, to increasing cell turnover. The degree of intensity varies dramatically. Retinols are considerably gentler and less potent, while retinoids are usually prescriptions such as Retin-A, Tazorac to Accutane (which is often used as a last resort for acne sufferers).