7 February 2012

HOW TO // Clear / Improve Acne

For a long time now I have been a sufferer of Acne, if you suffer yourself you will know how horrible it can be. It sometimes feels that you clear one patch of skin from the pesky spots your skin decides to have another breakout. I suffered most in my teenage years and dealt with it through using Acne face washes and cleansing pads but over the last year I've had really bad breakouts. No matter what I tried, nothing would work. I first came across this method of clearing skin from Wayne Goss (gossmakeupartist) on YouTube, you can watch the video here for a detailed description. 

The method:

1. Make Up Remover
If you wear a little or a lot of make up, it's important to thoroughly take it all off before you start to clean your face, this is probably really obvious but I thought I would write this point anyway ha. It doesn't really matter which brand or type you use, as long as it does the job.

2. Cleanser
A cleanser that cleans your face but doesn't irritate it is important, if you're suffering with Acne the last thing you want to do is aggravate it anymore. I tried Avene Cleanance Gel Soapless Cleanser but personally didn't see much difference in my skin. This product is designed for Acne prone skin but I think it's more for keeping Acne at bay than to clear it. Once my skin has cleared up properly I will go back to using the rest of the Avene Cleanser. Avene could work for you, it's all about finding what works and helps your skin, everyone is different. I now use Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser which I love, it leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean and in no way irritates it. I would recommend Cetaphil to anyone trying to clear their skin.

3. Toner
Again, probably an obvious step but here it is ha. Any Toner that you find suits your skin is fine. Personally, I use Boots Essentials Cucumber Toner and find that works fine for me. As well as suffering with Acne I have sensitive skin so anyone with the same sort of skin I would advise only using a Toner in the night to start with if you don't already. Toner takes out any remaining impurities out of the skin so I only Tone at the end of the day. Like I have said before, your skin could be different and this post is based on my experience with this method.

4. Exfoliating and Salicylic Acid 
Acid on my skin? Yes, that is what I thought! Now, I'm not going to give you a detailed description of why it works and pretend I know what I'm talking about because if I'm honest, I don't. All I know that two key products to clearing Acne are Salicylic Acid and Benzonyl Peroxide (which I will explain below) but I have no idea why. I know, that is very helpful haha. St. Ives Apricot Scrub is probably one of the oldest scrubs there are, I remember using this when I first had Acne as a teenager. Apricot Scrub is a blemish fighting exfoliator for oily or blemish skin. It is oil-free and contains one of the key ingredients, Salicylic Acid. I find this scrub to be a lot less abrasive than it used to be but some people find it to still be a little to rough on their skin, so if you do use this scrub, please go easy with it! I personally love this scrub, it makes my skin feel soft and smooth and takes away dry patches. If you're not a fan of the St. Ives scrub you can use any exfoliator and use another product that contains Salicylic Acid. I know that Neutrogena do a range of Acne products you just need to check the ingredients.

5. Benzoyl Peroxide - What clears Acne.
Another product that sounds like it shouldn't be anywhere near you skin. This is the product that clears the Acne. You can get this in a cream/gel form product called PanOxyl and Oxy10 and are available in different strengths. It is always advised to start with a weaker strength and build up depending on how severe your Acne is. Benzoyl Peroxide is very strong and can dry up your skin in just one application. I use Oxy10 and I stupidly didn't use a moustiriser straight away so my skin took longer to heal as it was dry and flaking. You ALWAYS need to read ALL of the instructions that come with either products as they are so strong.

6. Moisturiser and Sun Cream
As I said, Benzoyl Peroxide is very strong and will dry out your skin. This is how it clears Acne. You need to use a strong moisturiser with this product as soon as you start using it to avoid the same mistake I made. A lot of lotions are not strong enough to deal with the dryness that Benzoyl Perozide causes so sometimes depending on your skin it's good to use a Suncream. As I've been using this product a while I now just use a normal Nivea Soft lotion but if I notice dryness I switch back to Sun Cream.

Other Tips:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid lots of junk food, sugary fizzy drinks etc
  • Don't wear make up if you don't need to
  • Take make up off as soon as possible
  • Try not to touch your face (germs you have on your hands are being transferred to your face)
Links for products:

My skin is not yet completely clear but has improved around 90%. I still get the odd breakout and have Post-Inflammatory Hyper-pigmentation (scars/red marks under the skin caused by Acne) so my skin is not 100% yet. I am really pleased with the results so far and only have a few tiny pimples at the moment.