Whether you’re a teenager or a full-fledged adult, no one wants to be plagued by acne. These sneaky little bumps can make an entrance at any time, with zero notice. If you are or were anything like most average teens, this is an unfortunate part of the growing up experience, and definitely normal. If you’re an adult and your pesky pimples stuck with you, or if they just make an appearance from time to time, you still know the woes of breakouts and the havoc it can wreak on your daily life and psyche.
And it’s important to note, there are a variety of reasons you could be breaking out. Hormonal imbalances are typically the number one culprit. Or you may not have a proper skincare routine to keep zits at bay. Are you removing all your makeup at night? Inflammation and genetics also play proper roles.
Part Of Your Routine
What many people fail to realize, is that face washing should be a staple of your hygiene routine and you should be cleansing your face in the morning and night. This is the first line of defense against acne and it helps with your pH balance. Washing your face at night gets rid of dead skins cells, excess oil and any dirt you’ve accumulated throughout the day. When you wash in the morning, you are getting rid of anything that decided to creep up on your face as you were sleeping.
Now you just have to find the right cleanser for your acne-prone skin, which can be a bit overwhelming. There are a variety of cleansers available to help get a handle on your breakouts, but these range from mild to aggressive, so you may have to experiment until you find the right one.
Active Ingredients To Look For:
- Benzoyl Peroxide
To clear out the bacteria that causes acne, known as P. acne or C. acne as it has antimicrobial properties to attack the bacteria under the skin
- Salicylic Acid
This will help exfoliate and remove pore-clogging debris and it will start combatting whiteheads and blackheads
This anti-inflammatory will provide some relief as it removes excess sebum from the skin
- Glycolic Acid
This alpha-hydroxy acid wipes out your dead skin cells as it also helps with collagen production
If you have highly sensitive skin, some of these products can leave you dried out, so you may need to scale back and find an option where the concentration of these ingredients is less, or look for a more mild face wash altogether. A pro tip is to never over-wash your face, hoping it will clear those spots away faster. This actually leaves your skin very irritated. If you find your skin is dry or irritated, it’s best to look for a non comedogenic moisturizer and apply after cleansing.
Acne, in a word, is an umbrella term. There are a variety of different types of acne, which is why there are so many options to purchase. So, let’s examine what kind of acne you’re dealing with and the right types of products to keep your breakouts at bay.
1. Comedonal acne:
These are those pesky little fellows who pop up on your chin, nose and forehead. This type of acne happens when excess sebum, dirt, oil, and other pollutants get trapped underneath hair follicles, causing them to become infected. The small bumps are papules that include blackheads and whiteheads most notably. These can be microscopic, or larger than average. The best cleanser for this condition will have salicylic acid because it dissolves the excess dirt, oily residue and dead skin cells.
2. Cystic acne:
Can be extremely vicious – so be strategic. These deep pus-filled pimples live under the skin and are often painful to the touch and can require a longer treatment plan. You’ll want to find something that can go deep to remove acne-causing bacteria and soothe inflammation. Keep your eyes peeled for something that unclogs pores and reduces redness.
3. Hormonal acne:
Can appear as a combination of comedonal acne in the form of blackheads, whiteheads and cysts. This can lead to more oil production so you’ll need to locate a cleanser that can keep excess oil in check. Salicylic acid is usually the key ingredient to aid in this process.
4. Acne scars:
Can appear as raised or depressed and stay long after the lesion has been healed. Atrophic acne scars are the most common and generally happen in your youth. These occur because your body was unable to regenerate needed tissue for repair. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne scars are typically caused by a variety of different factors, including inflammatory acne, cystic acne, genetics and by simply picking, squeezing, or popping zits. The best way to help your acne scars improve is to find a topical with antioxidants such as vitamin C to brighten the skin and fade the marks.
Use In Moderation
Now that you’ve been able to determine the type of acne you have and which products to look for, you are better prepared to find something to suit your needs. Remember you only want to be cleansing your face twice a day (morning and night) to avoid over-drying and irritation. You only need to use about a quarter amount of your face wash and apply to damp skin using a circular motion with your fingertips. When you feel like you’ve lathered your entire face and neck, rinse off thoroughly. Pat dry your skin with a clean towel.
Use The Right Product
Ensure that you are choosing a product to suit your skin type – whether it’s dry, sensitive, oily or combination – and a product specific to your type of acne. And don’t think you’ll have to empty your wallet for a great cleanser. There are a variety of drugstore brands that can make a significant improvement. And if you feel as though you have tried it all and you aren’t seeing progress, it’s a good time to consult a dermatologist for guidance.
Depending on the severity of your acne, you may want to follow up with day or night serums or spot treatments specific to your needs. Washing your face alone isn’t an overnight miracle. You’ll need to be diligent with this routine for at least two weeks to a month before you may start to see noticeable results. Stick with it and allow the ingredients to work.