Oh, acne, you pest! It’s as though we’re never too old to get a breakout… regardless of how well we care for our skin (and body). Since acne seems to be inevitable for a vast majority of us, we must learn to learn to live with it rather than fight it.
Here, a helpful list of do’s and don’ts of acne:
DO moisturize every day. The idea that acne-prone skin doesn’t need moisturizer is a myth. In fact, if you skip the moisturizer, you’re likely adding to the problem. Instead, choose a very gentle, oil-free cream that hydrates without adding any active ingredients that could irritate the problem.
DON’T overload on the drying ingredients. For most acne, harsh ingredients like sulfur, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid can actually be too aggressive, irritating, and drying, especially when using all three in different forms (one in your cleanser, one in your moisturizer, and one in your treatment). If you’re feeling oily or acneic, opt instead for a simple skincare routine and use the tough stuff as a weekly or bi-weekly treatment, like a face mask.
DO spot treat. So you have a big blemish making it’s way to the surface. OR (gasp!) you just went to town on your skin. Instead of smothering your face with the aforementioned drying agents, spot treat just the problem area. We’re huge fans of zit creams that can we worn during the day, thus they double as concealer.
DON’T switch up products too often. Keep your skincare routine simple: Cleanser, toner (one without alcohol), moisturizer, spot treatment, repeat. That’s it! Again, we cannot stress this enough: Leave the active ingredients aside and stick with your simple skincare regimen long enough to get your skin used to it. During this time, skin may freak out, thus breaking out. But the more you introduce new products into the routine, the more likely you are to cause the breakouts.
DO wash your face last. When it comes to bathing, many of us use conditioner as the last step. For acne-prone skin (including acne), this is one of the worst things we can do. Conditioner leaves a filmy substance on skin that will cause sensitive, acneic types to breakout before you can say End-Zit! Therefore, cleansing the face – and back – should be the last thing you do before turning off the water. Make sure to keep long hair away from face and back by wearing t-shirts that cover the back and pulling hair into a ponytail for sleep. Also, cleanser face and back with a simple, non-active cleanser that won’t dry out the skin, but will remove all dirt, grime, and conditioner.
DON’T Pick. Duh. Easier said than done. But if you do…
DO treat the scab. Picking happens, so be prepared with a treatment to get that scab off withoutscaring. Here’s what we’ve found to work: Neosporin applied directly onto the scab, followed by pure vitamin E oil (again, directly onto the scab, applied with a cotton swab). This combination will help heal the skin and treat the likely scar (vitamin E is a powerful anti-scaring ingredient).
DON’T exfoliate. Another myth is that scrubbing the sh*t out of your face will make the zits go away. False! In face, a deep scrub can actually spread the bacteria, irritating the skin and creating more breakouts. Instead, opt for a non-abrasive, enzyme-packed wash two times a week to remove dead skin (which, yes, can clog pores). And steer clear of abrasive scrubs!
DO change your pillow cases every other day. This may seem ridiculous (and like a hefty load of laundry by end of week), but it could be the difference between acne-free skin and one that is broken out like a pre-pubescent teen. Why? Because oils in your hair (and any hair product residue) resides on the pillow case, which is where your face spends 6-8 hours a day. Clean pillowcases equal clean skin. It’s that simple.