Acne treatment doesn't stop at your monthly facial.
So stop picking apart your skin in the mirror with dread. There are solutions!
These are the top tips to incorporate in your homecare routine.
Because acne is categorized as a chronic condition, there is no one-time fix. And it isn't something that can just be taken care of in a facial. There are things you can and should be doing at home in between regular appointments.
Let your skin do its job and heal!
Acne is a wound. Think of it in the same way you would treat a scratch or a scab. If you keep picking, popping, and squeezing you are reopening the wound, interrupting the natural healing process. This means the skin will take longer to clear and you increase the risk of scaring.
Be gentle with your skin.
Avoid the temptation to scrub your acne off. As tempting as it is, it can actually make things worse. This is due to the inflammatory response that happens when your body experiences trauma or wounding. Use gentle products without stripping, irritating, or abrasive ingredients. Look for alcohol-free products like astringent. Instead, try a pH-balancing toner. This will help balance the water and oil regulation. Remember, acne deserves nourishment and care too. Plus, having inflamed, dehydrated, red skin makes acne appear much worse.
Washing two to three times is excessive. And can counteract your original goal. Balancing oil. When you wash your face two to three times a day, it can tell your skin that you aren't producing enough oil which can then go into overdrive, producing even more. Or what's worse is it may not be able to keep up with the oil production and your skin is drier than the desert. The absence of oil doesn't create less acne, but it does traumatize the skin. When is it okay to wash your face multiple times throughout the day? Double cleansing at night is a great option for wanting to remove all impurities for a deep clean without damaging the lipid barrier. Cleansing again after wearing heavy occlusive, comedogenic makeup. Even after a very sweaty workout, especially when wearing a hat or helmet! Always remember to tone the skin no matter what! And if you're caught in a bind toning with a cotton round can be an alternative to cleansing after an activity that you'll want to remove from the skin.
Less is more
When it comes to treating the skin, doing the most doesn't always do the most.
Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Just like with retinol.
While it is arguably one of the most popular acne treatments, it doesn't actually treat acne as an antibacterial. Retinol works as an exfoliation accelerant. It speeds the cell turnover rate up, which increases cell production. This allows for old skin to shed and new skin to emerge. In relation to acne, it eliminates the cell buildup that can contribute to impactions and trapped acne that under the skin. Because this speaks to cell production, it's not something that should be overused. Over-exfoliation in any form is not beneficial to the skin in any way. It causes friction, inflammation, and irritation. Don't be tempted to use it in AM & PM routine, due to sun contraindications. Retinol is best used at night, gradually adding it into your routine working up to 2-3 days a week. And for most skin, this should take over the course of several weeks for the skin to acclimate.
Learn what pairs well with each other.
It's all about balance when it comes to mastering a harmonious routine for your skin. Knowing which ingredients complement each other - yin and yang. When you have an aggressive treatment product, it's crucial to know its counterpart. For example, if you are treating PIH (post-inflammatory pigmentation) with Alpha-Arbutin, a lightener. You will want to supplement Vitamin C ester, a brightener, into the routine as well for overall complexion balance. Another example can be when treating the skin with a prescription, Tretinoin will need to be met with a gentle enzyme to help eat away the dead skin that this retinol variation brings to the surface. Also, any use of chemical exfoliation, AHA, or BHA, should always be followed with hydration, but each for slightly different reasons. Alpha Hydroxy Acids have two main goals, exfoliation in the lower epidermal layers but also to encourage hydration. We think of acids as being very drying but in reality, they are quite the opposite. If you aren't keeping the skin hydrated after the use of AHA's you aren't getting the most out of them. BHAs on the other hand can be drying, and are specifically attracted to oil. This is why they are great for acne-prone skin. They target the follicle and flush out impurities that are trapped below the surface. Following BHA use with a humectant like Hyaluronic Acid is a great treatment plan. The BHA will target acne while Hyaluronic attracts hydration and replenishes the skin.