So, you’ve moved beyond adolescence, and your skin has decided to betray you. Congratulations! Adult you identifies as ‘acne-prone’. There’s a spectrum, sure—but as fate would have it, you’re not the kind of person who can cleanse haphazardly with whatever’s in your friend’s shower. No. Your skin likes to misbehave, and keeping it happy is a delicate dance.
Maybe you’ve been using the same stuff for forever, and it’s no-longer serving you (it’s important to switch up your routine when your skin outgrows it). Maybe you’re using too many products. Or not enough of them. Maybe outside forces are creating the ideal environment for acne to promulgate on your lovely face. In any case, here are five things breakout-prone humans should consider when building a preventative skincare routine.
1. Are you cleansing too much or not enough?
Some dermatologists recommend double-cleansing (first with an oil-based cleanser, then with a traditional one). Some insist on cleansing morning and night, while some back cleansing less so as to not disturb your skin’s moisture barrier (we’ll be talking about that a lot here today).
The directive isn’t clear cut, because everyone’s experience of acne is different,. Experimentation is required. A few guiding principles: If you have oily skin, cleansing morning and night with something balancing should be helpful—and for evening, try something containing salicylic acid. If your face feels too squeaky or tight afterwards, it’s dehydrated, my friend. Swap it out for something less abrasive; something gentler with a more milky consistency. The longstanding and totally unglamorous drugstore wash Cetaphil is The One for these intents and purposes. Double cleansing may benefit you if you live in a grimy city or exercise a lot. No matter your approach, always follow up with a moisturizer. Which brings us to our next point…
2. Are you (unjustly) afraid of moisturizer?
Moisturizer clogs pores—or so goes the common misconception. In fact, it’s the pore’s inability to clear itself that results in a pimple, not moisturizer getting in there. And so it becomes about finding the right moisturizer for your skin, rather than ditching it entirely. And actually, acne-prone skin is likely traumatized from breakouts, making moisturizer absolutely vital in repairing your skin’s fragile barrier.
You’ll benefit from a moisturizer that’s free of added fragrance, quickly absorbs and is super hydrating. Our top picks are the cult French pharmacy fave Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrate which glides on like a silky dream (perfect under makeup) and Avène Cleanance lotion, which is specifically formulated for naughty skin.
3. Micellar water wasn’t a fad... Here’s why it’s worth your time.
Truth: Your acneic skin’s moisture barrier needs to retain its natural oils. While drying it out might seem logical, but it’s unable to heal that way.
Micellar water is comprised of micelles, which are essentially little particles of cleansing oil in soft water, making it as gentle as it is a thorough cleanser. Keep your precious natural oils while rejecting that tight, harsh post-cleanse feeling. Get your makeup off in a flash. An attractive proposition if you’re lazy/get home late, no?
4. Chemical exfoliants are not to be ignored.
Debris accumulate on your face all the time. As a person who lives, breathes and goes outside, you have debris on your face. Right now! These debris and dust and dirt particles burrow into your pores and so help you God, they must be extracted!
Physical exfoliants (the ones with actual particles that scrub) can; a) damage your delicate skin, and; b) don’t travel inside the pore. And so we’re here to sing the praises of our favourite chemical exfoliant, Salicylic Acid. There are others, but we agree with most dermatologists in saying SA is the most efficacious. It exfoliates right inside the pore to purge any gross buildup, while being gentle enough to use daily. Unsurprisingly, SA features in our KILLA patch, working alongside the fierce antimicrobial Oligopeptide-76, among other actives, to melt acne that arises deep beneath the skin.
5. Let’s end with some hygiene stuff, yeah?
Congrats on making it all the way down here! These hygiene ideas aren’t new, but they’re important. Bottom line: bacteria lives on the stuff you touch, and the stuff you touch the most is the stuff you own. The two biggest offenders in transferring bacteria to your face? Phone and pillowcases. The former is said to harbour more bacteria than a toilet seat, so we read. The latter you’ve likely heard about before, and for good reason! How often do you think you actually change your linen?! We’re not going to be prescriptive here, but news outlets keep telling us we spend a third of our lives in bed—that seems like a lot of germination. Change 👏 your 👏 sheets 👏 as 👏 regularly 👏 as 👏 your 👏 schedule 👏 allows.