For years, I struggled with "adult acne" and the frustration that comes with not understanding it.
Where does it come from? How can I treat it? Are there ways to prevent it?
I wanted to share what worked for me and hopefully help others avoid some of the mistakes I made!
HELPFUL SKINCARE TERMS
(that I wish I had learned sooner)
In skincare products, this term is used to qualify ingredients which may be less likely to clog your pores.
You can search most beauty / skincare shops for this term to pull up products that fit this description; however, please keep in mind that not every non-comedogenic product is a guarantee, but it's usually a safer bet.
I like to use this website to look up products and determine if they are safe for my skin, based on the ratings of the ingredients: SkinCarisma
Simply enter the name of the product you're considering into the search, select your product, and scroll down to view the ratings.
In skincare products, this term is used to qualify ingredients which may be less likely to cause or trigger acne.
Similar to non-comedogenic ingredients, non-acnegenic is not a guarantee, so you'll want to check the ingredients but also make note of what works for your beautifully unique skin and what doesn't.
I like to use this website to look up ingredients for a product before using it: AcnegenicClinicNYC
Simply look up the product on the brand's website or on Sephora and copy paste the list of ingredients into this page.
CYSTIC / HORMONAL / BACTERIAL ACNE
Understanding what type of acne you're suffering from will help you to identify the root cause as well as steps to potentially prevent and treat it.
Do you suffer from hormonal / cystic acne? This may develop from the chemical makeup of your body or the timing of your menstrual cycle or various phases of puberty, just to give a few examples. This, at times, can be treated through diet and supplements.
Do you have bacterial acne? This will often need to be treated with a medicated topical.
What kind of acne do you have? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322322#summary
I discovered that I struggle from:
* hormonal cystic acne, and
* VERY sensitive skin (i.e. sensitive to pore-clogging ingredients and harsher materials).
For years, I thought I was doing the right thing by a) experimenting with new products all the time, and b) buying expensive skincare and makeup. I. WAS. SO. SO. WRONG. Most "high-end" makeup includes things like fragrances and preservatives which were actually making my skin far worse and triggering acne, which I then covered up with "high-end" concealers and foundations and masks, just making it worse and worse.
So, I did a lot of research and paid close attention to how my skin reacted when I made changes. Here is what helped me:
I needed to clean up my diet to help with my hormonal cystic acne.
I actually found that dairy is an acne trigger for me! If I eat dairy, my chin will break out within the week. So now I eat dairy-free.
Additionally, around my cycle, (as hard as it may be at times), I avoid super greasy foods like potato chips / French fries because I know that my body is already on oil-production overload.
While I still get the occasional monthly cystic acne, these steps have helped a lot and it's usually not as deep / doesn't last as long!
NON-COMEDOGENIC AND NON-ACNEGENIC PRODUCTS
I switched out my products to ones that are less likely to clog pores and simplified my routine. I cleanse, use a serum, and moisturize.
As for makeup, I still spot conceal as needed but have eliminated foundation from my routine.
MOISTURIZE LIKE CRAZY
This one sounds like the opposite of what one would assume if you're struggling from acne. But this is a common misconception! When your skin is dry, it will actually go into overdrive to try to produce more oil, which may result in clogged pores. Go figure!
So I moisturize religiously (morning, night, plus in the middle of the day when I remember, and maybe more during the winter!)
WASH OFF YOUR MAKEUP BEFORE YOU SLEEP
...and before working out for that matter.
I know this one may seem like a no-brainer, but it's worth mentioning. There were times in my youth when I prioritized "looking cute" over my skincare, and I'm wishing someone had told me at that age that washing your makeup off every single night, no matter what, is so vital to the health of your skin!
And don't wear makeup when you work out. It will clog your pores. And, the one I often forget, is to wash your face immediately AFTER working out. It makes a huge difference. And I'm not talking about those face cleansing wipes. Toss those! Wash that face and moisturize it, baby. You'll thank me later!