If you have acne-prone skin, skin care options, "solutions," and suggestions can feel endless and overwhelming—but caring for your skin doesn't have to be. To help navigate the best products, tips, and routines for treating acne-prone skin, we put together the best ways for you to take care of your adult acne for morning and night. Acne doesn’t have to be constant or your skin type any longer!
What Is Acne?
By definition, Johns Hopkins defines acne as a quite common skin condition that's a "disorder of the hair follicles and oil glands (sebaceous glands). The sebaceous glands secrete oils (sebum) to keep the skin moist. When the glands get clogged, it can lead to pimples and cysts."
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it's the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million Americans annually, and approximately 85% of people between the ages of 12 to 24 experience at least minor acne.
Thankfully, there are options to care for and treat even the most stubborn, severe acne. The AAD says, "Thanks to advances in treatment, virtually all acne can clear with a dermatologist’s help.”
Causes and Prevention of Acne
So, what exactly causes acne? More than one thing. Clogged pores, excessive oil production, bacteria that trigger an inflammatory response, hormonal changes, and even diet can contribute to acne formation.
Because of this, it’s a "good idea" to develop an acne routine customized to your skin's needs. And while there may be no one-size-fits-all regimen, building a foundational skin care routine that can be modified to suit a person’s needs is a good place to start.
It’s also worthy to point out that it's important to keep in mind that not all acne treatment requires prescription products. A solid home skin care routine may be all you need to control milder acne.
When it comes to caring for acne-prone skin, consistency and routine are key, as is ensuring you're using the right, quality products. Below are the recommendations for your AM and PM skin care routine:
Morning Skin Care Routine
Those with acne-prone skin cleanse their face twice a day. If you have oily skin, it's best to kick off your morning skin care routine with a creamy, oil-free cleanser with salicylic acid and avoid using abrasive exfoliant sponges or brushes to minimize traumatic inflammation of the skin.
Using toner is an additional step that helps remove extra oil and impurities from the skin as well as rebalance the pH of the skin, which is normally slightly acidic (the ingredients in some cleansers may nudge the skin pH towards basic). Because some toners can be drying, if you have less oily skin, you may not need to use one.
Proper UPF protection is a key step to maintaining healthy skin. Use a sunscreen with anti-inflammatory niacinamide in it. Apply this as a base to be protected from the sun's harmful UVA and UVB rays.
The products used in this step may look different for everyone, but the morning is a good time to begin targeting new or existing blemishes. Spot treatments are helpful for zeroing in on acne bumps with products that contain active ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and sulfur.
Moisturizing your skin is an important final step in your AM routine. But why? Llipids, or fats, in the top layers of the skin help retain moisture and function to create an impermeable barrier between your skin and the environment. Skipping this step could leave the skin dry, vulnerable to infection, and/or dull in appearance.
When selecting a product, look for the words 'non-comedogenic,' which means the product is less likely to clog pores and contribute to the formation of acne papules. Now you're ready to apply your favorite oil-free, mineral-based makeup, should you so desire!
Nighttime Skin Care Routine
The best results come with consistency and compliance and that by simplifying your skin care routine, you'll make it easier to complete and increase the likelihood of repeating it each day and night. Mirroring your evening routine after the morning routine is one way to accomplish that.
Washing your face in the evening removes oil produced during the day, as well as dirt, makeup, and other impurities you have been exposed to. Those with more severe acne may want to stick with cleansers that contain active ingredients, and that alternatives to acne washes are gentle cleansers and micellar water.
As mentioned above, if your skin is oily, you can repeat applying toner in the evening, too, for an extra-squeaky-clean feeling.
Because not everyone needs or can tolerate acne medications applied to the whole face, how you medicate may look different from how another person with acne medicates. Product recommendations are typically individualized, but a gentler option is azelaic acid, derived from grains.
Azelaic acid helps to kill bacteria, exfoliate dead skin, and brighten skin complexion. While Retin-A is still only available by prescription, retinoids work to prevent acne by regulating or normalizing the process of cell turnover, which prevents blocked pores and the formation breakouts. So, without a prescription, try an adapalene gel, like Differen Gel, a retinoid that is available in stores without a prescription.
Moisturize/Apply Night Cream
As opposed to in the morning, your evening moisturizer or night cream should not contain SPF. Instead, look for moisturizers containing a retinoid derivative of hyaluronic acid, a humectant that attracts water molecules to the skin.
While this is the order of application typically used to warrant the best results, some dermatologists recommend a general rule of applying thinnest to thickest. For the most part, people with acne-prone skin should probably limit the number of products they use because too many products can cause skin irritation and aggravate acne or potentially block pores.
And, keep in mind that no acne treatment works immediately or overnight.
Adult acne may also be a symptom of other health conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is associated with irregular periods, facial hair, scalp hair loss, and weight gain. If you think your acne may be the result of an underlying condition or is not responding appropriately to over-the-counter treatments, you should make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.
Acne Skin Care Solutions
If you need to swap out your products to achieve clear skin, then look no further than Wild Naturals. Formulated for problematic skin types, even severe cases of eczema or psoriasis, our ingredients are clean, natural, and wield true results without harmful or harsh chemicals and preservatives. Everything you need to get rid of acne and follow the skin care routines mentioned above can be found in our online store. Great prices, real results!