Acne affects people of all ages, not just teenagers. You can wake up with a giant red zit on your nose or a smattering of whiteheads across your cheeks even if it’s been decades since you walked the hallways of your high school. In truth, the fight against blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and cystic acne continues even after menopause. It is feasible to have clearer skin by focusing on the correct acne products and sticking to a consistent skin care program. Best Skin Care Routine For Acne Prone Sensitive Skin
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“Every day, I have folks in their 30s, 40s, and 50s come into my office with acne,” says Debra Jaliman, M.D., an assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets From a Top New York Dermatologist. “I tell them we can get it under control,” she says, “but it’s like an exercise in that you have to stick to your plan every day.”
It can be hard to limit it down to a basic, functional system with the wide number of products out there claiming to deep-clean your skin and banish acne forever. So we enlisted the help of three of the country’s leading dermatologists to break it down for you.
What is acne, and how does it develop?
Your skin contains millions of small sebaceous glands that are related to hair follicles all over your body and create a protective oil called sebum. However, a few conditions can prevent the oil from effectively exiting through the follicles. Hormones can cause the sebaceous glands to overwork, and the excess oil they generate can become clogged by dead skin cells, creating acne. According to Howard Sobel, M.D., an attending dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital and founder of Sobel Skin, hormonal acne is highly frequent in adults as well. Pregnancy, your monthly cycle, and starting or changing birth control pills can all speed up oil production, causing pimples to appear. Furthermore, when you’re stressed (and who hasn’t been recent? ), your body creates cortisol, which stimulates the oil glands and causes an eruption.
Best Skin Care Routine For Acne Prone Sensitive Skin That Will Blow Your Mind
Dr. Sobel notes that your pores can also become clogged as a result of irritation or a reaction to a substance or fabric (such as a hat or, yes, a pandemic-era face mask). An excess of yeast in the hair follicles, especially on the upper chest and upper back, can create an acne-like eruption in some situations. Acne can be caused by certain drugs, such as corticosteroids, and too much dairy in your diet, according to Dr. Jaliman. Checking up with your dermatologist is the best method to figure out what’s causing your breakouts.
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When those pores get clogged, they can lead to a number of various types of acne, including:
Excess oil and dead skin cells restrict the opening of the pore, causing whiteheads, which appear as little flesh-colored or white-colored pimples.
Blackheads are identical to whiteheads, except that when the pore-clogging substance pushes through and is exposed to the air, it interacts with oxygen and turns black.
Pimples: These characteristic red patches appear when germs, oil, and dead skin become trapped inside the pore, causing inflammation.
Cystic acne: These hard, painful pimples under the skin that feel like a marble form when oil, dead skin, and germs penetrate deeper into the epidermis.
experts’ recommendations for the finest acne-fighting skincare routine
The Best Acne-Prevention Skincare Routine
According to Dr. Jaliman, the first thing you should do is examine all of the things you use on your skin (including makeup) and hair. “”The most common mistake I see clients make with their acne routine is using too many products and not reading the labels,” she explains. Look for the terms non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic, or oil-free on the products you use, which indicate that no oily, pimple-causing substances are present, she advises.
Step 1: Gently wash your face.
According to Elyse M. Love, M.D., of Spring Street Dermatology in New York, scrubbing your face like you’re trying to scrape mud off your favorite pair of shoes can really make matters worse. “Many patients assume that acne is caused by too much dirt or oil on the skin, so they try to scrub and exfoliate the skin excessively,” she explains. “While routine washing is vital, because acne is an inflammatory condition, over-cleansing can irritate the skin and speed up the process.” “It’s vital not to overstrip the skin,” says Dr. Sobel, “since doing so undermines the skin’s protective barrier, which can lead to more breakouts, irritation, redness, and uneven skin texture and tone.”
In the morning, all three dermatologists I spoke with suggested cleansing your face with a gentle foamy cleanser. However, you have a choice: Stick with a gentle, non-medicated cleanser in the morning, such as Neutrogena Ultra Daily Face Wash for Sensitive Skin, if you prefer to dab on a spot treatment separately — or if your doctor has recommended an RX acne medication.
If you want to combine the first two stages, look for a foam cleanser with an acne-fighting component. If you have whiteheads or blackheads, search for a cleanser that contains salicylic acid, which helps to slough off the damaged top layer of skin and remove dead skin cells before they can clog your pores (try Medik8 Clarifying Foam, which also includes antibacterial and anti-inflammatory tea tree oil). If you have red, inflammatory acne, search for a cleanser that contains benzoyl peroxide, which kills bacteria on the skin’s surface (CeraVe Acne Foaming Cleanser contains benzoyl peroxide, niacinamides and ceramides, which Dr. Jaliman recommends for combination skin; or try PanOxyl Foaming Wash which has 10 percent benzoyl peroxide).
It’s crucial to remember that the way you clean your skin matters just as much as the product you use, so get rid of any scratchy washcloths, sponges, or other irritating materials. Dr. Jaliman suggests applying the cleanser with a cotton pad or a baby washcloth, but it’s important to use a fresh washcloth every day to avoid wiping old dirt back onto your face. Dr. Love recommends just using your hands and splashing on enough water to rinse the cleaner away. However, she advises just using lukewarm water, since hot water can irritate the skin – but a sprinkle of cool water afterward can help balance, tighten, and rejuvenate the face, according to Dr. Sobel.
Step 2: Use a topical acne treatment.
If you used a gentle cleanser in step 1, now is your chance to spot treat with something more potent. After you’ve washed your face, pat it dry gently with a soft towel rather than rubbing it, and then apply an over-the-counter acne treatment like CeraVe Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment Gel or La Roche Posay Dual Action Acne Treatment.
According to specialists, it can take at least six weeks for an over-the-counter therapy to work; if you’re still not seeing benefits after that time, you should see a dermatologist, who can prescribe a stronger drug, such as Dapsone gel. Dr. Love offers the following sound advice: “If you live in an area where a dermatologist appointment is a three-month wait,” she advises, “schedule the appointment as soon as you start using the over-the-counter drugstore topicals as a backup plan.” “If you don’t need it, you can always cancel!”
Step 3: Moisturize with an oil-free moisturizer.
When it comes to oily skin and clogged pores, moisturizers may appear to be unneeded, yet the contrary is true: “Moisturizers assist keep the skin’s oil production in equilibrium,” explains one dermatologist “Dr. Love agrees. “It also aids acne sufferers in tolerating drying acne drugs. The trick is to use non-comedogenic, oil-free moisturizers.” La Roche Posay Double Repair Face Moisturizer is a favorite of Dr. Love’s. Dr. Jaliman suggests using a noncomedogenic aloe-based moisturizer with hyaluronic acid, which protects collagen. Fresh Rituals Aloe Vera Moisturizer is one that fits the bill. Cetaphil Gentle Clear and Aveeno Clear Complexion are two other noncomedogenic choices that contain salicylic acid. Check out our list of the best moisturizers for acne-prone skin for additional top-tested choices from the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab.
Step 4: Don’t forget to put on sunscreen.
Dr. Jaliman recommends EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF because it contains anti-inflammatory niacinamide, which lowers redness and protects skin from UV damage. If you have acne-prone skin, choose a sunscreen that won’t clog pores or exacerbate breakouts, advises Dr. Jaliman. Another lightweight sunscreen recommended by the GH Beauty Lab experts is La Roche Anthelios SPF 60 Dry Touch Clear Skin Sunscreen.
Step 5: Cleanse once more in the evening.
Dr. Sobel advises a gel-based, surfactant-free cleanser like Vichy Normaderm Phytoaction Daily Deep Cleansing Gel, which contains salicylic acid and is a favorite of the GH staff, to gently remove the makeup, oil, and debris that have accumulated on your face during the day. If you want to use a toner as a follow-up, make sure it’s oil-free, like the ones on our list of the best toners for acne-prone skin, advises Dr. Jaliman. Meanwhile, Dr. Love suggests performing a double cleanse, beginning with micellar water (try Avene, Garbier, or Bioderma’s), and then finishing with your cleanser.
Step 6: Before going to bed, use a retinol product.
There’s one last thing you should do before going to bed to achieve clear skin: apply a retinol product. What exactly is retinol? It’s an over-the-counter form of Retin-A, a vitamin A derivative that minimizes wrinkles and unclogs pores, which is important for acne control. “For adults, retinol is an excellent multi-tasking acne therapy “Dr. Sobel agrees. “It promotes cell turnover and regeneration while exfoliating keratinocytes, the cells that make up the skin’s outer layer. It also helps to clear pores and keep skin looking young by reducing fine lines and wrinkles and preventing them.” Differin Adapalene Gel, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Adapalene Gel, and Sobel Skin 4.5 percent Retinol Complex Night Treatment are three products worth trying. Any retinol product should be started carefully, according to Dr. Sobel. “Try it one or two times a week to build tolerance and avoid irritation,” he advises. “Build up to four times a week gradually, and then daily if necessary.”
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If you’re a woman over the age of 25 who wants to reclaim her life inside the body she DESERVES, you should check it out for yourself.