Many people develop acne as a teen. For some it even sticks around even in their twenties! I’m just quietly raising my hand here. Luckily I have finally found a routine that works for me. My dear Acne Prone Friends: in this blog post I will share my acne prone skincare routine with you!
A small disclaimer before we begin: everyone’s skin is different. What works for me might now work for you. It’s a process of trial and error.
Let’s talk about acne in general for a bit. It’s a bitch. B I C T H.
but don’t worry. I got your back! Down below you can read about the main things I have learned about acne that really helped (read: saved) my skin.
- Why you should avoid most acne cleansers
- Why you need to moisturize, even if your skin is an oily mess
- Why you should not put DIY-projects on your face
- Why you should not use makeup wipes (please!)
- Why you should stop depending on toner to remove the last bits of your makeup
- Why you should stop scrubbing your face
- The basics of a good skincare routine
- My routine
Why you should avoid most acne cleansers
When cleansing your face with an acne cleanser, you’re most likely stripping away too much of your natural oils. The result? Your skin will create more sebum to compensate, leaving you with oily and, in many cases, acne prone skin. Many people with oily skin actually have dehydrated skin without even knowing it!
Try a cleanser that is not overly striping, like the cleansers from CeraVe or Simple. I especially like the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser. This one is gentle, but still tackles acne because it contains salicylic acid, which gently exfoliates the skin.
Why you need to moisturise, even if your skin is an oily mess
Just like how it can be problematic to strip your skin of it’s natural oils too much by using an acne cleanser, not moisturising can have the same effect. If you’re not providing your skin with enough moisture, it will try to moisturise itself and become oily.
Still worried about moisturisers clogging your pores? Try a gel moisturiser instead of a cream. You could also use the website CosDNA to check your potential moisturisers. This website is great, because it will tell you if there are any ingredients in your moisturiser that might trigger acne.
Why you should not put DIY-projects on your face
You might be surprised by the fact that I wrote this. After all, I write a lot about thins related to green, natural, sustainable, zero waste, etc. However, I feel different when it comes to skincare: simply because there’s vitamin c in a lemon does not mean you should squeeze the juice of said lemon on your face! Skincare product are formulated by experts in such a way it’s save for the skin. And a lemon, well.. That’s just a lemon. Put that on your face and you’ll probably irritate your skin and make it more sensitive to the sun, resulting in hyperpigmentation and other undesirable consequences.
Not all DIY tricks are bad for your skin, but you should be really careful about what you’re putting on your skin. Why take the risk if you can use professionally formulated skincare products instead?
Why you should not use makeup wipes (please!)
Makeup wipes. My past lover and my current enemy. Let’s not fool ourselves. Makeup wipes are popular and for a very good reason: it’s an easy way to remove your makeup wherever you are. Right? No! Put. Those. Wipes. Down.
They do not remove your makeup well. You’re mostly just smudging your makeup around. Besides that, they irritate the skin due to A) its texture and B) the rubbing motion you have to perform to remove your make-up. Oh, and let’s not forget the environmental effect of these one-use wipes.
Instead of using makeup wipes, consider using cotton pads (tip: use reusable cotton pads) and micellair water. Really soak the pads and gently wipe your makeup away (or just use your hands to gently wipe the micellair water on your face!). You could also try oil cleansing! I have yet to find an oil cleanser that does not break me out, but I know it’s out there. Someday I’ll find it…
Do use a cleanser after removing your makeup with micellair water or a cleansing oil. These products are to remove your makeup and sunscreen, not to cleanse your face. That’s what a cleanser is for!
Why you should stop depending on toner to remove the last bits of your makeup
I grew up thinking that toner was meant to remove your make-up and/or cleanse your face. Well, it’s not – and I doubt I’m the only one who (used to) think that. The bottom line is: if there is still makeup coming off of your face when you are using a toner, you are not removing your makeup well enough. You should reconsider your makeup removing routine.
A toner used to be used for bringing moisture back into your skin, as cleansers were very drying back in the day. But nowadays toners are used for various reasons: hydrating, treating hyperpigmentation, exfoliating, etc. I see it as a light serum. Anyway, it’s not an extra cleansing step, and it’s also not a necessary step.
Why you should stop scrubbing your face
Physical scrubs, the ones that you have to massage into your face (you can feel the grains when you do this) also used to be one of my skincare sins. I would really avoid these type of scrubs now: they can irritate and damage your face.
Instead of a physical srub, try a chemical exfoliant. It sounds scary, but it’s really not.
A popular chemical exfoliant is Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. This one can be used as a toner, so after cleansing your face and before putting on a moisturiser. The one I’m currently using is The Ordinary’s AHA 30% BHA 2% Peeling Solution. This one is a mask: you apply it about twice a week for 10 minutes and then you rinse it off.
The basics of a good skincare routine
No matter what skin type you have, below you can see what the basics of a good skincare routine are:
- Makeup/sunscreen remover (if you have worn either that day)
- SPF in the morning (why use SPF?)
You can add products you want or need, depending on your skin type and what you want to tackle. Things you might want to add are: a vitamin c serum and an exfoliant.
I think I have been dealing with acne ever since I was 15 years old. I didn’t get into skincare until I was 20, which sucks, because I lived in Japan for a year when I was 17 and could really have bought some amazing asian skincare products!
Anyway, now that I’m older and possibly wiser, I have noticed my past mistakes (literally every single on of the “dont’s” of this article), have learned from them, educated myself and… can proudly say that my skin is better than ever.
My morning routine:
- Cleanse with CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser (cleanses gently while also exfoliating the skin)
- Serum: The Ordinary’s Alpha Arbutin (helps with my hyperpigmentation)
- Moisturise with The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturising Factors + HA
- Any spot-treatment I can get my hands on: I have not found a favourite yet.
- SPF: Isntree Sensitive Balancing Sun Protection SPF50+
My evening routine:
My evening routine is almost the same as my morning routine. I’m a fan of simple routines. In the evening, however, I focus a bit more on “helping” my skin and in the morning I focus more on “protecting” my skin.
- If I am wearing makeup or sunscreen I use micellair water to remove it
- Cleanse with CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser
- 3 times a week: tretinoin 0.05% (prescription)
- 1-2 times a week: exfoliate with The Ordinary’s AHA 30% BHA 2% Peeling Solution
- Moisturise with The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturising Factors + HA
- I sometimes put vaseline on my lips or extreme dry areas as a side-effect of tretinoin
What does your routine look like and what are your favourite products?