Updated: Jun 26
You can be gentle and still banish pesky breakouts
For those of you who thought you could leave acne-prone skin in our teenage years—we feel you. Unfortunately, adult acne is a thing, and it happens to way more people than you think. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, adults can continue to get acne well into their 30s, 40s, and even 50s! Women also tend to get acne more than women due to fluctuating hormone levels that can lead to breakouts, especially during their periods or when pregnant.
The problem with acne and different skin types
Acne can already be a challenge to treat on its own. Throw in the fact that every single woman has a different skin type and you have an entirely different ball game altogether. It’s common knowledge that acne-prone skin tends to produce too much oil, but did you know that acne patients can also struggle with dry skin—which can be a result of over-cleansing or side effects from taking medication.
Here are some easy tips to treat acne without being overly harsh on your skin:
1. Don’t pick your pimples
The scenario is all too familiar—you see a zit on your face that’s just screaming to be popped. But hold it right there, no matter how ‘clean’ you think your hands are, they contain dirt and bacteria—and when combined with the natural oils on your fingers—can cause your current breakouts to be a whole lot worse. If a whitehead appears on your blemish, make sure your hands are sterilised before wrapping one tissue around both your forefingers and gently squeeze either side of the pimple to extract the whitehead. What’s next? Check out our next tip!
2. Don’t put acne medication on an un-popped pimple
This may come as a surprise, but instead of running to apply spot treatment when a new pimple arrives on your face, you should make sure it’s gently extracted first (tip #1). In an interview with Refinery29, aesthetician Amanda Sanzone says that using spot treatment on top of an un-popped pimple simply dries out the surface of your skin—it doesn’t even penetrate into the pore and kill the bacteria that caused the pimple in the first place.
3. Cleanse at the sink, not at the shower
At the end of a long day, it’s incredibly convenient to complete your entire routine in a piping hot shower. But when you’re letting hot water run over your entire face, especially if you’re having a bit of an acne situation. Hot water streaming down your face can lead to broken capillaries on your face, and further aggravate any breakouts that you can be having. Stick to washing your face at the sink, where you’re more inclined to use cooler water to wash your face.
4. Go easy on the application
It can be tempting to slather on copious amounts of product when you’re desperate, but that can honestly make things worse. NYC cosmetic dermatologist Sejal Shah, founder of SmarterSkin Dermatology, tells Teen Vogue that when acne treatment products are overused, it can dry or irritate the skin, causing even more breakouts. For instance, common acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, can be too drying if used in abundance—leading to skin redness and flaking. Go for something gentler like The Moisturizers Co. Ultra Moisturizing Repair Gel (it contains ultra-soothing ingredients such as Calendula, Chamomile, and Cucumber extracts) or The Moisturizers Co. Ultra Pore Refiner Anti-Blemish Night Cream with Niacinamide (get them both here), they work together to soothe irritated skin and prevent blemishes, while delivering soft, supple goodness to your complexion.
5. You’re combining the wrong products
Two (or more) is better than one, right? Not so much when it involves your skin. It may seem like a good idea to use more than one product at a go to ‘boost’ the treatment of acne, but Dr. Shah says that doing so may just cause more harm than benefit as acid ingredients could reduce the effectiveness of certain retinoids. The best way to go about it is to limit yourself to two products (E.G. One containing tea tree oil and the other containing benzoyl peroxide) and use them at different times of the day, one in the morning and one at night.
6. You’re simply using the wrong products
Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, it’s not uncommon for your skin to react to retinoids or other acne-fighting ingredients. Dermatologic surgeon at Yale School of Medicine Kathleen Suozzi, shares with Teen Vogue - to start, always make sure you do a skin patch test (applying a small amount of product on an area of your skin) and wait at least 2 – 4 days to see if your skin has a reaction. If everything’s clear, you can proceed to use your product of choice. Be sure to always round up your skincare routine with a gentle moisturiser as previously recommended (tip #4).
Of course, there are many other things you can do to help elevate your acne worries such as eating right—and clean—and drinking at least eight glasses of water every day. Stay out of the sun if possible, and always remember to not touch your face with your hands unless they’ve just been properly washed.
As always, we’re here to help you any way we can in your quest to blemish-free, clear skin. Be sure to hit us up if you’ve any questions over here.
About us: We are Skintelligence, a team focused on a 'skin-first' approach to beauty through artificial intelligence. We match products to you based on your unique skin type and needs. Results are highly accurate and personalized with AI and machine learning. It's fun, convenient, and it works. Try it here.
As featured in Her World, CLEO, FEMALE, Shape, Nuyou, Singapore Women’s Weekly, Daily Vanity, Layers of Skins.