Acne can be a complicated thing. I think we all know that the cause of acne can be related to many different factors such as stress, hormones, hygiene, and even genetics.
Identifying what is causing your acne is important in finding the right way to get rid of it. It may be as simple as changing your foundation or as complex as the medication you take needing to be changed. There are many different things that someone can do if they are plagued by acne, but I want to talk about some effective things that worked (and work) for me.
When I was a junior in high school, I suddenly developed really bad acne. There were a bunch of little bumps all over my face so that my skin texture was like a deformed orange peel. In addition to the small bumps, I had cystic bumps that never came to a head and hurt really bad. I spent a lot of time picking my face, which just made things infected and then made everything worse. Of course, that led me to packing on the foundation to hide all the marks and bumps.
I tried a lot of things back then but nothing seemed to work. I tried BC pills, a crazy apple-only diet, over-the-counter acne creams, acne face washes, infomercial acne systems, and even a low dose of blood pressure medicine—all with little to no success. I knew that I really needed to make some big changes because, as I am sure you know, acne is depressing.
That is why I am sharing with you my secret regimen and products to getting rid of acne.
So let’s start with the basics: Your at-home routines
1. Personal Hygiene. Be Clean. - If you never wash your face or you use the smelly hand towel to dry it, there’s a good chance that this is a contributing factor. You should be washing your face (at least at the end of the day) and making sure that everything that comes in contact with your face is clean. As you get rid of your acne you can be a little less strict in this category, but in the beginning be as clean as you possibly can. That means clean hands before you touch your face. Use a clean face towel that is only for your face. Clean your cosmetic tools before each use. Change your pillow case regularly, etc.
2. Products - The products that you use on your skin can create more acne. For example, maybe you are using an acne face wash, and what it is doing is drying out your skin—which increases oil production leading to more acne. So you really need to choose quality products that are gentle and non-comedogenic. There’s a big difference in cheap products and professional-grade products. Here is a small list and quick access to products that I use and recommend to my clients:
3. Clean up your diet. - It’s true that your skin is the biggest organ you have and it’s usually one of the first things that shows symptoms of how well you have been treating yourself. Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water every day (2 liters at minimum) and cut out as many processed foods as possible. Eat a lot of green leafy vegetables.
4. Reduce Stress. - Stress has a big impact on our skin, as well as our overall health. So make a conscious effort to reduce things in your life that cause stress. Make sure that you are exercising, meditating, and giving yourself a break.
Maybe just by taking care of the basics you will eliminate your acne, but most likely you will also need to treat your acne. Again, there are many different things that you can do and I actually found a post that covers some other really good options. Of course I don’t use all of those, but they are all reliable. I wish I could go into everything and all possible options but the purpose of this post is to share what I specifically do for clients and myself, not every possible option out there. So let’s talk about some effective treatment options that I use:
A. Small surface type pimple(s). They may have a head, they may not. They typically do not hurt, and are not accompanied by a lot of swelling or tenderness. They may be in a patch and create a bumpy texture on the skin. These are usually called whiteheads or blackheads.
This is what you will need: Clearasil Daily Clear Vanishing Acne Treatment Cream (Benzoyl peroxide 10%) : this is going to dry out the acne. Some people say the Benzoyl peroxide is too drying, if so, you can replace with salicylic acid. I prefer the benzoyl as it is more effective for me. And Equate Triple Antibiotic First Aid Ointment.
Application (before bed): On clean skin, after witch hazel has dried, apply the topical antibiotic cream and rub into the affected skin. Then apply a dot of the benzoyl peroxide cream, do not blend it in but keep in dot form for concentrated amount.
B. Deeper pimples than the ones mentioned above, are larger headless pimple(s). There may be some inflammation, tenderness and/or redness. They are typically identified as papules.
This is what you will need: Cream that contains sulfur. I personally use and highly recommend the Pro-Activ Refining Mask.
Application (before bed): For 2-3 nights, (on clean skin), after witch hazel has dried, apply a layer of the sulfur mask on the affected area so that you cannot see the skin beneath. Make sure you allow it to completely dry before you go to bed or it will all end up on your pillow. After a couple of days, and/or when you notice the swelling going down then use the topical antibiotic cream and rub into the affected skin just as mentioned in A. Apply a dot of the benzoyl peroxide cream, do not blend it in but keep in dot form for concentrated amount. You may need to switch back to the sulfur mask if papule is not dry by day 4. At this point, I typically will use an even thiner layer of the sulfur mask, allow to dry, and then put a dot of benzoyl on top.
C. For cystic, no head pimple(s). They usually hurt, are deep, and inflamed. They are typically called pustules. They are not easily treated with the above techniques.
This is what you will need: - Cosmelan 2; This is a depigmentation treatment. If you have a very dark complexion I recommend caution. I came across the effectiveness on cysts by chance when I was treating some of my hyper-pigmentation. But the kojic acid really helps them go away fast!
Application (on a day off): On clean skin, after witch hazel has dried, use a q-tip and apply a dot of the Cosmelan 2. Do this for 3 days or nights. The cream takes quite awhile to dry and will be all over your pillow case, so I recommend doing a thinner layer and allowing to completely dry then repeat. After a few days, If you still have inflammation due to the cysts (and not dry skin), continue to use the Cosmelan 2. Once the pain from the cyst is gone and the peeling has started: if there is no bump, use only the antibiotic cream at night. If there still is a bump, then follow the instructions in A or B.
By developing a good regimen, switching out your products, and using the treatments I recommended you will be on the fast track to clear skin in no time!
What have you found works really well for your acne? Let me know in the comment box below!
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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and the information in this post is not to serve as a medical diagnosis and/or treatment for medical conditions.
I am a professional makeup artist and licensed cosmetologist. I absolutely enjoy sharing hair and makeup tips to help others enhance their natural beauty. (Trust me, you're gorgeous.)