I might be the last person someone might go to for beauty advice, but thanks to my acne and scars, I am pretty dang good at making my skin look flawless, however I still get acne and it's totally okay. Combating acne is a lot of work and takes a lot of trial and error but after all these years I feel like now I can now freely share some acne skin care tips because of my experience.
I have always loved to watch other gurus show me their tips and tricks, and they inspired me to create my own channel. I have been stuck at around six hundred subscribers for a while, but I still love it. I might not have the best camera or editing skills, but what I do have is a lot of experience with acne and skin care.
My acne skincare tips will include makeup up and general skin care advice, starting from the most basic tips to some more lifestyle focused ones, and even makeup tips for acne depending if you want to wear makeup.
1. Wash Your Face Gently And Thoroughly
First of all, clean your face every night, but don’t be overly aggressive. There are other ideas and methods out there of not washing your face, or only splashing water which I noticed made my acne worse and I felt like I ended up with clogged pores for weeks. The secret is to be thorough, and not scrub too harshly. Removing all the makeup, oils, sweat, and pollution on your skin from the day, helps prevent clogged pores so your skin can breathe and repair at night. Try double cleansing if you haven’t, especially if you have oily or combination skin. The first cleanser is usually an oil based cleanser that can break down the oils, product, and sebum on skin. A lighter oil is usually better. Next, use a gentle foaming cleanser to thoroughly remove the oils. Trying not to rub your face too much during the day helps too. But this does not stop here! I've noticed double cleansing with the right mix of cleanser
2. Don’t Use Water That’s Too Hot When You Wash Your Face
Heat can irritate and dry out skin. Heal also increases inflammation which is something we want to avoid especially with acne.
3. Moisturize after cleansing.
Acne can benefit from hydration since many acne treatments tend to strip skin’s oils and natural moisture, so you will be replenishing your skin with a moisturizing cream. Try to pick a moisturizer that isn’t too heavy, and a little goes a long way. If you have sensitive skin, avoid moisturizers containing heavy fragrance or dyes.
4. Prevent Skin Damage With SPF
Prevention is better than curing. You may have probably heard of this overused adage for ages yet you still skip on the sun protection. Times are aging and the ozone layer is depleting. That's why you need it more than our ancestors that lived long before us. If you do now, you deserve an applause because you'll definitely prevent premature skin aging, skin discoloration, and yes, skin cancer years from now. If not, do it today and thank me later. Look for products with SPF 30 or higher and with both UVA and UVB protection. Apply your SPF during the day, even if it’s an overcast day. Some sunscreens have a PA+ rating, which is a rating telling you how much protection it gives against UVA rays which are the rays you can’t see or feel, but cause damage deep in your skin layers.
4. Exfoliate twice a week
I support exfoliating our skin at least twice a week. You should exfoliate with a chemical exfoliating product if you are acne prone. Exfoliants usually contain a type of acid like lactic acid, glycolic acid, mandelic acid, or salicylic acid. Abrasive scrubs are usually too harsh and can make acne worse. With exfoliation, you loosen debris in pores, remove dead and dry skin that will inevitably block pores to prevent new acne from forming and to help bring up the already clogged pores to the surface faster.
5. Get Enough Sleep.
Time heals all wounds, even acne! No skincare routine can make up for lack of sleep. It is the only time when your body gets to repair itself. Sleeping too late or not getting enough sleep can affect our hormones leading to more acne. Lack of sleep also impairs our immune system function which can worsen acne. So put your phone down and get your rest!
6. Don’t Dry Your Face With An Old Towel
Towels hanging in the restroom are usually moist and have debris from the last time you used it, creating an environment for bacteria to grow. The goal is to have our faces freshly cleansed, but if you wipe your face with the same towel, you may be adding the bacteria back into your skin. Therefore, keep a stack of freshly washed face towels to use each time, or you can use a soft paper towel each time to dry your skin. Alternatively, you can even let your skin air dry as it is better for the environment and will only take a minute.
7. Changing your Pillowcase To Prevent Acne
When we sleep every night, the oils and dirt on our face get on our pillowcase and the next night we put our face on the old bacteria, oils, and dirt from the previous nights. Bacterium builds up and acne may occur more often. I noticed this was true because I usually sleep on my right side and acne occurred more on the right side of my face. Therefore, when I started changing my pillowcase every two to three days, the acne on the right side of my face started clearing up. Silk pillowcases could be something to try too, you don’t need to wash them as often because silk is not a very absorbant material. Silk also creates less friction which can improve acne.
8. Exercise to Reduce Acne
Exercising has to do with acne because it helps us manage and reduce stress. The more stress you are under, the more cortisol hormone your body can release which can make acne worse and increase sebum production. If you are under chronic stress, which honestly most of us are nowadays, studies have shown that people who exercise more are able to adapt and respond to stress better.
9. Be consistent in your routine
Without consistency, you won’t get the results you are looking for. A consistent skincare routine is especially important for acne prone skin, since our skin type needs extra care to help us manage the inflammation in our skin. This will also help you determine whether or not a product is working for you so you won’t dismiss a product too soon, or continue using a product that isn’t giving you benefits.
10. Try Using a Toner or Essence
Another acne skin care tip is to use a toner or essence. You can apply directly onto skin, or apply to a cotton pad and swipe across skin. They work to prepare your skin for your next steps by balancing PH and adding some dampness into your skin so they will drink up the treatments, or other skincare product you put on next. This can increase the effectiveness of your skin care ingredients to help your acne. A good general routine is cleansing, toner or essence, a treatment, and moisturizer.
11. Stop Consuming Dairy
There’s more and more evidence that acne is connected to diary. For many people dealing with acne, eliminating dairy from their diet significantly improved their acne. Some of the reasons why eliminating diary could help with acne could be that diary is one of the main allergens and a large percentage of people are lactose intolerant. Some theories of why dairy causes acne is that it can spike insulin levels, it creates a hormone called IGF-1 when we digest milk proteins which cause acne, or just the extra hormones in milk throw off our hormonal balance in our bodies which lead to hormonal acne. If you haven’t tried completely eliminating dairy, give it a try and see if your acne clears up!
12. Mask Once A Week
Acne prone skin may need some extra help with a face mask. A great face mask for acne prone skin is a a clay mask as this helps to draw out impurities and really deep clean our pores. You can get clay masks from most skincare ranges. The one I really love is the Activated Charcoal Clay Masque from Banish. You can incorporate a face mask into your skin care routine once a week just right after cleansing.
13. Wash your face after working out
Remember our first step about cleansing thoroughly? If you’ve been sweating due to a workout or a hot day - try to wash your face thoroughly as soon as you can. The premise is that as you sweat, bacteria could get trapped in your pores so cleansing can prevent acne from forming after a workout.
Next, I’ll share some of my makeup tips for acne prone skin. Sometimes, we want to look a little extra put together for an event and although it is a myth that makeup causes acne ( it doesn't ) certain kinds of makeup formulations could irritate our already sensitive acne prone skin and trigger more acne breakouts.
14. Use A Prime Before Applying Makeup.
One thing I have learned is that primer is going to be your savior. There are so many different primers out there for different skin types. They have pore fillers, oil control primers, hydrating primers, and much more. There are tons to meet your exact needs. I recommend oil control primers or primers that are silicone free. They not only help my skin look healthier, but they also help my makeup last all day and create a barrier between the makeup products I’m applying and my skin.
15. Concealers to cover acne scars
If you want to go for extra coverage, use a concealer next. There are excellent choices of concealser for both drug store and high end. When I have the worst breakouts, I always go for my Wet and Wild Photophocus concealer, it conceals ANYTHING. Also, Hard Candy's Glamoflauge concealer is excellent for covering up scarring.
The best high-end concealer I have tried is the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer. This concealer doesn’t make my acne worse and doesn’t cause breakouts for me. I recommend it for acne prone or oily skin. It has very high coverage for acne scars too.
16. Choose A Matte or Water Based Foundation
Pick a foundation Foundation will bring your whole look together. Just like primers, there are many foundations that will cater to everyone's needs. Because of my acne and scarring, I always go for a full coverage foundation. Luckily, there are full coverage foundations at the drugstore and at higher end places. As a general guide, if you have oilier skin look for a matte foundation formula. If you have dry acne prone skin, try to find a water based foundation formula.
Some of my favorite foundations at the drugstore for acne include the following: Milani Foundation and Concealer Foundation, Maybelline Fit Me Foundation in Matte and Poreless (they also have one for dry skin), Loreal Infallible Foundation, and Wet and Wild Photophocus Foundation. These foundations are great for scarred skin and acne filled skin. I have tried every single one.
My favorite high-end foundations for acne prone skin include include the following: Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation (current favorite), Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation, and Clinique Foundation and Concealer. Also, my Mom's ride or die foundation is the Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation, but I have not tried that one.
Powder foundations also work well too. I recommend the Mac Studio Fix Foundation. When looking for a foundation, avoid ones that have the ingredient bismuth oxycloride in the ingredient list since it has been linked to cystic acne.
17. Lastly, Customize A Routine That Works For You.
Every individual is created differently. That’s why some products may work for some but for you it won’t – even if it is the “most effective” product or beauty tip or technique.
Let’s take the oil cleansing method as an example. For some they may notice oil cleansing is making their acne worse - it could be the type of oil cleanser they are using is not compatible for their skin or maybe they are not following up with proper foaming cleanser to remove the oil. Another tip was tea tree oil clears up acne, it does work for a lot of people, but every time I’ve tried a tea tree oil product, or tried incorporating diluted tea tree oil, my skin would get worse which was disappointing, but at least now I knew what ingredient not to include if I wanted my skin to improve.
Our acne journey most probably be the same as mine – trying one product to the next and adjusting your lifestyle one step at a time. But I guarantee you, it will happen. It will get better, and even if it never really goes away it will at least get better so don’t give up yet.