So much of life comes down to luck. We all have our crosses to bear, as some would say, and that’s as true for your skin as it is for everything else in life. Everyone has their own challenges when it comes to their skin, whether it’s dryness, aging, redness, or, yes, acne. Or heck, maybe it’s an unfortunate combination of several of them.
If you happen to have acne-prone skin, finding the skin care routine that works best for your skin is the ideal way to stay on top of your acne. But where do you begin? You begin with some tips from our pros, of course! Check out these skin care routine suggestions and start putting the old trial-and-error approach to work.
A Morning Routine for Acne-Prone Skin
A diligent skin care routine takes time in the morning and in the evening (as well as any time you’ve gotten sweaty or dirty, like after a solid workout). For starters, let’s look at the basic steps your morning skin care routine should include if your skin is acne-prone.
Step 1: Cleanse
You probably know that debris on your skin like excess oils, dead skin cells, and so on will lead to clogged pores and then the dreaded breakout. So, to keep acne at bay, you need to keep your skin clean.
You want a cleanser that’s specifically made for people with acne. It should be thorough and effective, but it shouldn’t be too harsh because if you’re prone to acne, you’re likely to be prone to inflammation too. Try the iS Clinical Cleansing Complex for example.
View & Shop: iS CLINICAL Cleansing Complex
Step 2: Moisturize
Some people assume that because acne often stems from having excess facial oil, that oil will hydrate your skin so moisturizing isn’t a concern. Au contraire, mon frere. Dry skin can be acne-prone too, especially if you’re using a particularly thorough cleanser. Choose an oil-free moisturizer or, if you want something even more lightweight, an oil-free hydrating serum like Revision Hydrating Serum .
View & Shop: Revision Hydrating Serum
Step 3: Protect
Sun exposure is no one’s friend. While it’s true that sunlight can actually benefit acne to a degree, you get enough exposure for that benefit by going outside wearing sunscreen. Skipping the sunscreen can backfire instead. For that reason, your routine every morning should involve an oil-free sunscreen like EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 Tinted .
View & Shop: EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 Tinted
An Evening Routine for Acne-Prone Skin
The day is done and you’re ready to head under the covers and call it a night. Before you do, you need to play a bit of defense against acne. Follow these steps for your evening skin care routine.
Step 1: Cleanse
Just as you did in the morning, it’s time to use a gentle but effective cleanser to wash away the sneaky new debris that has popped up on your face throughout the day. To avoid irritation, it’s often best to keep it simple by using the same cleanser at night as you did in the morning.
Step 2: Exfoliate (On Occasion)
Exfoliating can make a tremendous difference for acne if you’re doing it right. It removes the surface debris and dead skin cells that are stubbornly hanging around and just waiting to slide into your pores and clog everything up.
Here’s the catch, though: if you over-exfoliate (i.e., you scrub too hard or you exfoliate too often), you run the risk of drying out your skin. That can actually make acne worse by making your skin flakier.
The solution? Find the happy medium. It’s usually best to exfoliate two to three times per week. Make sure you’re using an acne-friendly exfoliant like the Obagi Professional-C Microdermabrasion Polish Mask .
View & Shop: Obagi Professional-C Microdermabrasion Polish Mask
Step 3: Apply a Retinol
Most people know retinol as the general hero of anti-aging. And it’s true: retinol is an exceptional tool for increasing cellular turnover and reducing fine lines and wrinkles. But even if you aren’t one to worry about crow’s feet, retinol should be part of your skin care routine because of its acne-fighting powers.
In addition to combatting aging, retinol is an expert in unclogging pores, so it should be a recurring character in your nighttime skin care routine. Keep in mind, though, that it can be harsh on skin. Start slowly by using it once a week and gradually working your way up to using it every night or every two nights. Make sure it’s a high-quality product like Phyto-C Retinol.
View & Shop: Phyto-C Retinol 1%
Step 4: Moisturize
Remember that note about how acne-prone skin that’s too dry becomes even more acne-prone? It’s just as true at night as it is in the morning. For that reason, you should wrap up your evening skin care routine with an oil-free moisturizer before you settle into bed. In the interest of simplicity and avoiding skin irritation, it’s usually best to use the same moisturizer in the morning and at night.
Optimizing Your Acne Control Skin Care Routine
Acne is a particularly frustrating skin care problem because it tends to be so persistent, and it just grows more frustrating as time goes on. But by starting with the skin care routine outlines above and using trial and error to see which products work best for your skin, you have a good chance at getting your acne under thumb once and for all.