Long-Term Acne Solutions That Get The Job Done
Because breakouts are best dealt with over time with a combination of awesome skincare, healthy lifestyle choices and smart, professional treatments.
Did you know, around 40 to 50 million Americans have mild to severe acne? So, next time you look in the mirror and wonder ‘why me?’ just remember, you’re totally normal and not alone.
That being said, a positive mental attitude won’t magically banish your breakouts. Sure, confidence and self-assurance are everything and we’re big advocates of loving the skin you’re in… but if you’re serious about maintaining a clear, glowing complexion, you’re going to need more than good vibes alone.
You see, taking care of acne-prone skin is all about the long game. Shoving toothpaste on your zit the night before a big event might help, but it could also irritate and dry out your skin. Similarly picking and squeezing a custard-filled pimple the morning of a dinner date/holiday party/lunch with the girls will get rid of that pus, for sure, but it will also increase redness and inflammation, making your pimple hang around longer and possibly scar. Not cool.
So, instead, of freaking out about our acne spots and hitting the quick fix button – which invariably won’t work anyway – start a long-term plan right now with effective skincare and a little acne knowhow.
Below, our favorite long-term solutions for dealing with breakouts…
Fight Acne From Different Angles
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), one of the best ways to fight acne is to use different ingredients in your products to work on the different causes. Acne occurs when your pores gets clogged and inflamed thanks to a build-up of oils, dirt and bacteria. So, think about tailoring your skincare routine around these dealing with these little nasties.
Retinol, for example, works hard to reduce oiliness and improve cell turnover, while salicylic acid helps keep your pores clean and clear by accelerating the natural shedding of dead skin cells. Benzoyl peroxide, on the other hand, kills bacteria, while tea tree oil reduces inflammation and boosts healing.
Of course, we’d never suggest you throw all of these ingredients at your skin at once because overloading it with too many actives could worsen your acne and cause irritation. However, you could alternate between Retinol Facial Serum and a salicylic acid treatment, or you could try our awesome Tea Tree Serum two or three times a week. This facial serum combines a balanced blend of tea tree oil, salicylic acid and retinol to work on acne from all angles and offer a real improvement in acne-prone skin.
Give Your Skincare Regime Time To Work
Heads up, people: skincare products containing active ingredients that work on a deep cellular level do not work overnight. Far from it. In fact, they need at least four weeks to work to their best ability. And the reason for this is all down to the life cycle of the skin.
As you know, your skin is constantly regenerating itself, producing new cells within the deepest layers of your epidermis which mature as they work their way up to the surface where they die and shed. Well, this cycle takes around 28 days in an average adult – NOT that you’re average, of course;). Consequently, any product that changes the biological functioning of your skin will need at least the same amount of time (four weeks) to take effect and work on every cell that’s reached the surface.
Patience. It’s a virtue.
Avoid Pore-Clogging Skincare Products
Hiding your face behind heavy, pore-clogging makeup will undo all the hard work of an awesome skincare regime. So, don’t do that. Your best bet is to leave your skin free of makeup but if you hate facing the world without a little something, make sure all your products are oil-free, non-acnegenic and/or non-comedogenic. Non-comedogenic means a product has been formulated to be less likely to cause blocked pores (comedones). Note the words ‘less likely,’ however. This is not a guarantee they hands down won’t block your pores. But it’s a good start. Ingredients to avoid include things like cocoa butter, isopropyl myristate, soybean oil and lanolin acid.
Be A Clean Freak
Keeping your skin clean is really important so make sure you cleanse every morning, every night and always after exercising. Don’t rub too vigorously at your skin, however, and avoid products that could dry out your skin. Our Charcoal Clarifying Cleanser has been specifically formulated with activated coconut charcoal to gently draw pore-clogging debris from your skin to detoxify and help control acne. It also contains aloe, glycerin and essential oils to heal, hydrate and nourish your skin without blocking your pores or causing irritation.
Equally, anything that touches your skin must also be kept clean. Think pillowcases, face towels, your smartphone and especially your hands. Wash them all thoroughly and often.
Try Light Therapy
Fancy trying something at the derm’s office? Then ask your dermatologist about LED Light Therapy – especially if your regular skincare regime doesn’t seem to be doing the job. It works by emitting light deep into the skin and can be a very effective, non-invasive treatment to try. A combination of blue and red light is often used to treat acne because blue light kills bacteria while red light activates collagen production to promote healing and rejuvenation.
A series of multiple treatments is advised for the best results and of course, these results vary from person to person, so don’t expect miracles. Speak to your dermatologist first so they can give you an indication of what to expect. Who knows, they may even advise chemical peels or extraction as better options for your particular concerns? And remember, most professional treatments work better when combined with great, at-home skincare so don’t give up your salicylic acid and/or retinol regime.
Severe Acne? Ask Your Doctor For Help
If you feel like you’ve tried everything, ask your doctor about prescription-strength oral or topical medications. Anything from stronger retinoids and antiobiotics to oral contraceptives and steroid injections have been proven to help clear up even the most severe cases of acne. The options are almost endless, so don't lose hope, people – there's bound to be something out there for you.
About Georgia Gould
Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.