Skin Care For Acne Prone Skin At A Glance
- Best Results4 to 12 weeks
- Treatment RecoveryNA
- Procedure TimeNA
- Skin SpecialistYou, at home
- Duration of ResultsLong lasting
- Back to WorkImmediately
Skin care For Acne Prone Skin
A simple but effective daily skin care regime is important for everyone, but especially so for those who have acne. Using correct products for your skin type can make a huge impact on control of your acne. Getting the balance is important- too much scrubbing and over cleaning can strip your acne prone skin of protective oils and cause skin irritation.
FactsAcne Skin Care Tips
- A simple but precise skin care routine can help fight acne
- Acne treatments take 4 weeks or longer to work
- Understand your skin’s sensitivity before buying a heap of products
- Skin care for acne prone skin start with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide washes
- Add retinol a few nights a week
- Moisturise more if you have skin irritation
- Consider Niacinamide if you have sensitive skin
- Add Ascorbic Acid if you have resistant skin
- Never dismiss the efficacy of the acne diet
What type of cleanser should I use?
First of all avoid soap or acne washes which contain beads (such as exfoliants or scrubs). Soaps, scrubs and exfoliants are too harsh for acne prone skin. Dermatologists recommend a non-abrasive cleanser that does not contain alcohol.
A good cleanser contains salicylic acid. This is a beta hydroxy acid, & can reduce blackheads & white heads. Use once a day to start with as it can be irritating.
Another option is to wash with BPO or benzoyl peroxide. This should not be used with salicylic acid washes as skin irritation can ensure.
How often should I cleanse?
Take note of the saying ‘wash your face twice a day helps keeps the blemishes away.’ Do not cleanse more than twice a day, as too frequent cleansing can strip the protective oily layer from the skin’s surface. If you are using actives like BPO & salicylic acid, start once a day. The other cleaning session is with a bland cleanser.
What water temperature should I use to clean my skin?
Use lukewarm water to rinse your skin, hot water can damage your skin and dry it out. Thoroughly rise away any cleansers.
What skin care ingredients should I look for?
Retinol: Start off with a good 0.5 % formulation. Use 3 nights a week, & increase as tolerated. Increase to 1.0%. If you live in the U.S (or for super-resourceful Aussies), Differin or Adapelene can be bought online.
Niacinamide: is a vitamin B2 ingredient. This is an anti-inflammatory. Useful for inflamed zits & pustules. This can be used 30 minutes before or after retinoids – retinol.
Ascorbic acid should be used with caution, as this can be irritating. Use in the am, as it is also an anti-oxidant. Probably not a good first choice if your skin barrier is compromised due to active acne. Vitamin C can repair collagen & decrease spots from acne.
Acne spot treatments: are useful for outbreaks. These contain salicylic acid, or are hydrocolloid dressings.
For an in-depth treatment guide, goto 101.skin or browse the skin care section of this website.
Why is it important to moisturise?
Using the correct moisturiser is important to the health of your skin.
Moisturisers protect the surface of your skin and help prevent water loss and excessive oil production. Moisturisers also ‘rehydrate’ your skin and can reduce the irritation from acne creams.
What types of moisturiser should I use?
Many moisturisers can worsen acne, so choose carefully. Products labelled as Oil Free or Non-Comedogenic have been certified not to clog pores and worsen acne. Oil free products won’t leave a heavy greasy feeling on your skin. If in doubt read the label of your moisturiser- aim to get a moisturiser labelled as ‘oil free, non-comedogenic.’ If you feel that a cream is still too heavy- aim for a moisturising lotion. Lotions are lighter than creams.
View our Treatment Gallery
Should I avoid moisturisers that contain exfoliants?
Some moisturisers contain exfoliants or scrubs in their ingredient list- these include ingredients such as Salicylic acid or AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids).
These can be helpful in improving mild acne- especially the blackhead acne and clogged pores. The flip side is that salicylic acid and AHAs can also be very irritating if patients are also using prescription creams such as Differin , Duac or Epiduo. As a general guide, keep your moisturiser as simple as possible.
How often should I moisturise?
Depending on your skin type, it is advisable to moisturise at least twice a day. Apply a moisturiser on top of your morning or evening acne medications. You can find a great range of cosmeceutical moisturisers here.
What are the best moisturising tips?
- Use a moisturiser with a sunscreen if you are going to spend time outdoors
- In the evening, use a stand-alone moisturiser to dry areas. If you have sensitive skin, you will need to moisturise more, especially if you are on prescription medications and acne creams. The best time to moisturise is directly after a shower.
- If you develop skin irritation from acne creams, use a simple non-comedogenic moisturiser 30 minutes prior to applying your acne creams.
- Keeping showers quick and cool will also decrease dehydration to your skin
Is my makeup causing pimples?
Make up can be your BFF, but on the other hand using the wrong type could clog skin pores and worsen acne. Sure, covering pimples is high on the list, but choose a make up that is non-comedogenic. Non comedogenic make up does not contain materials known to clog pores.
What to look for in make-up for acne prone skin?
All of your make up series from your eye shadow, blush, and moisturiser should be non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic (doesn’t cause allergies), and oil free. Mineral based make ups contain added minerals such as zinc, titanium and silica with out the talc and parabens of other make ups.
Mineral make up has soared in popularity over the past few years, and can be the make up of choice for acne or rosacea type skin. The majority of brands are talc and paraben free, and most importantly non-comedogenic. Switching to mineral make up can reduce your skin irritation, however is not a reliable method of improving acne.
What are the best make up tips?
- Never sleep in your make up- make it a habit to remove all make up with a gentle cleanser before going to sleep
- Let your skin breathe when possible- try and go make up free a few days a week, this ensures that your pores can take a breather every now and then. Even your skin needs a break.
- Choose powder based make up instead of liquids. Though liquid based make up gives better coverage, some contain an oil base. Powders are lighter on your skin with the added advantage of absorbing excess oil.
What’s the trick to concealing a break out (without squeezing your zits)?
Well written by Angela Palmer, Skin Care Educator-
A few simple hints can assist you to reduce the appearance of acne, while you wait for your acne treatments to kick in!
- Start with a cleansed face. Thoroughly cleanse your face to remove excess oil, and apply a light moisturizing lotion. Moisturizing helps diminish the look of dryness or peeling that sometimes occurs with acne treatments.
- Apply your base makeup. If desired, apply your liquid or cream-to-powder based makeup now. Put on your base makeup using light strokes to avoid irritating breakouts. If you use mineral makeup, apply it at step 5.
- Apply a green concealer to any red breakouts. Here’s a little color theory 101: Opposite from red on the color wheel is green, which means red and green cancel each other out. Dab green concealer (available wherever makeup is sold) on breakouts to tone down the angry red color. Do not rub; rather, pat gently with your finger or clean makeup sponge to blend. The green color should be blended out thoroughly.
- Apply concealer in your skin tone. Dot concealer over any areas covered by the green concealer. Concealers in pots or tubes give better coverage than stick-type concealer. Pat gently to blend.
- Choose a concealer that matches your skin tone, or one that is just slightly darker. Darker colors recede, making larger breakouts appear smaller.
- Lightly dust entire face with powder. Translucent, or loose powder sets the concealer and gives the skin a matte appearance without adding extra color to the face. They also help absorb oil throughout the day. Mineral makeup can be used in place of translucent powder, if preferred.
- For more staying power and better coverage, let the concealer set for five to 10 seconds after application and before blending.
- Be certain to thoroughly remove all makeup you’ve applied before going to bed for the night.
- Don’t just settle for covering up blemishes. Start on an acne treatment to help heal them too. If over-the-counter treatments aren’t working, see a dermatologist for help.
What You Need:
- Makeup sponge or applicator
- Liquid or cream-to-powder makeup
- Green-based concealer liquid or cream
- Concealer cream in your skin tone
- Translucent or loose powder in your skin tone
What type of sunscreen should I use?
A light oil-free sunscreen is best for acne prone skin.
I recommend La Roche Posay sunscreen. Ask your dermatologist what they personally use!
Should I use a toner?
Toners that contain alcohol which can strip your skin of essential oils. Toners may also irritate inflamed acne prone skin. I acknowledge that newer toners are more gentle on the skin, however we will get back to that…For more information on toners, see the skin care section of this website.
Davin’s Viewpoint On DIY Acne Skin Care
Most cases of acne can be treated at home with a helping hand. Skin care for acne prone skin starts off with the basics– salicylic acid wash, a good moisturiser & a retinoid. Do not overcomplicate things. A basic starters guide is as follows-
- Take baseline photos, this will give you an objective viewpoint on how your treatment is going
- Start on the acne diet- eat healthy, consume less sugar & milk.
- Wash your face in the am with salicylic acid 2%.
- Use a good moisturiser if dry.
- Apply a retinoid (Differin) or a good formulation retinol
- Moisturise as required.
- Take another photo is 4 weeks, then in 8 weeks & compare with baseline.
The main point to understand is that the above will work for 70 to 80% of patients, if you have sensitive skin/eczema/ Seb derm/ rosacea, it can get complex as topicals may cause irritation. If you do not improve, consult a medical dermatologist.
Disclaimer: I am a procedural dermatologist, my work is surgical, laser, deep deep peels & injectables. I do not consult medically. My colleagues @cutis_dermatology can assist if you have acne. Shop skin care for acne prone skin.
Join the conversation
Join Dr Davin Lim on Instagram to stay up to date