By Maria Velve


One thing about acne is that it is always going to rear its ugly head. And when it does, anyone can be affected no matter of age or gender. Acne comes in many forms: blackheads, pimples, whiteheads, hormonal acne, cystic acne, backne, and even in recent years, maskne. However, with the right gentle skincare for acne prone skin, your skin can start feeling and looking better.  If your skin flares up quickly after exposure to acne triggers such as hormones, excess secretion of sebum, poor diets, bacteria, this post is dedicated to you.

Lady looking in mirror - Green Beauty Expert

What is Acne-Prone Skin?

You have acne-prone skin if your skin breaks out easily and gets acne regularly. Unlike rashes or pimples that pop up occasionally, acne episodes of individuals with acne-prone skin are more frequent. While it is impossible to cure acne permanently, there are actions you can take to improve your skin’s condition.  You can adopt a healthier lifestyle and improve your diet. Pay attention to what
foods are triggering the breakouts and seek the help of a naturopathic doctor or holistic nutritionist. When it comes to how you care for your skin daily, choosing gentle skincare - instead of going on the attack - for your acne prone skin can lead to huge improvements.

Gentle Skincare For Acne-Prone Skin

1) Cleansing with Oil

Cleansing your face helps to eliminate oil, buildup, and grime on your skin. For your acne-prone skin, opt for a mild, unscented cleanser that contains soothing ingredients. Stay away from aggressive cleansers that contain ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. When using these cleansers on a daily basis, you can compromise your skin barrier and dry out your skin. Also, avoid anti-acne cleansers which contain exfoliating microbeads and always use gentle hand motions on your skin.

For a gentle yet nourishing cleanse, use an oil cleanser like the Helena Lane Cleanser with red western cedar and jojoba oils which helps balance oily skin. For an unscented version, Helena's Jojoba and Calendula oil cleanser is gentle enough for the most sensitive and reactive skin types. Acne-prone skin needs to be cleansed but not starved. I find most cleansers on the market to be too harsh for acne-prone skin which most of the time is sensitive too.

Helena Lane Red Western and Lemon oil cleanser

2) Cleansing with Foam

If oil cleansing is not something you can get onboard with, try a gentle unscented water-based cleanser like Zyderma's Foaming Cleanser. This refillable cleanser provides gentle and effective cleansing without drying out your skin.  Graydon's Face Foam Cleanser also contains Willow Bark Extract - nature's salicylic acid - to fight future break outs! These cleansers gently unclog your pores and eliminate
acne-causing bacteria. If double-cleansing is something that has caught your attention, you can use it by doing the first step with an oil cleanser and the second step with a foam or cream cleanser.

3) Toning and Balancing

Facial mists aka toners are superb for acne-prone skin. They offer a plethora of functions such as hydrating the skin, deep cleansing, flushing out pores, eliminating excess sebum, and offering nutrients to the skin. If you notice frequent breakouts, use a refreshing toner that is formulated with plant extracts, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins to calm and cool the skin or do a quick cleanse post workout. Ingredients to look out for include witch hazel, licorice, neem, rose, etc. Use a super hydrating toner such as Iremia Skincare All Calm Facial Mist or the Graydon Skincare Face Food Mineral Mist to calm thirsty, tired skin.

Graydon Skincare Face Food Mist on beach

3) Chemical Exfoliation

One of the culprits behind acne is dead skin cells that are trapped within your pores. To deal with dead skin cells, you have to remove them off using an exfoliant. This doesn't mean it has to be a rough physical exfoliant. I mentioned above that it's best to avoid those especially if your acne is red and inflamed. For acne-prone skin, your best bet is a product that contains a chemical exfoliant such as lactic, glycolic, or natural salicylic acid. Glycolic acid is wonderful to start with because it’s tolerated by most skins. Start slow by using the product once a week to let your skin adjust. If all goes well, exfoliate your skin 2 -3 times a week to ensure that dead skin is off and your pores are clear.

What's the ideal product?

An ideal exfoliation hero for acne-prone skin is the LASPA Glycolic Acid Peel Treatment. This product contains the maximum glycolic acid that you can get in an over the counter product in Canada, which is 10%. It also contains witch hazel, and hyaluronic acid to hydrate and soothe.  I personally love this product as it's a fantastic anti-aging product as well.  It's easy to apply either using your fingers or the cotton pads provided to apply the product on cleansed skin.  Let it dry and then go to bed. In the morning, you can rinse clean with lukewarm water and proceed with the rest of your skincare. Chemical exfoliants such as this one should be used only at nighttime. Don't forget your SPF when going outdoors during the day.

LASPA Glycolic Acid Treatment

4) Acne Treatment

Strong acne treatments often get rid of the acne but destroy your skin.  Some treatment options that have proven to be effective are retinoids, essential oil blends, and skincare with micro silver. For retinol, I recommend a botanical retinol product such as Graydon Skincare Phyto Clear Retinol Cream. This gel cream contains two plant retinols - bakuchiol and moth bean extract.  Read more about all the benefits of retinol in my previous blog post. Cocoon Apothecary has the perfect purse-sized roller to zap away blemishes. The Spot Dabber contains witch hazel to soothe and cool the skin as well as tea tree and lavender essential oils.  This essential oil duo purifies the skin and calms redness and irritation.  The last acne treatment I want to mention is made with micro silver. This ingredient has been used since antiquity for its microbial and antibacterial properties. Find it in Zyderma's Clarifying Cream - a unique combination of skin nurturing ingredients and micro silver that helps support the skin's healthy appearance, while cleansing the skin of environmental microorganisms.

Young Asian woman applying moisturizer

5) Moisturizing

Hydration is an essential part of acne care, so you should never skip your moisturizer. Just because your skin is oily and acne-prone, it doesn't mean you skip moisturizing it.  I know that finding a suitable moisturizer can be quite a challenge for acne-prone skin. It's a fine balance.  The wrong moisturizer may clog the pores or irritate their skin further, while others experience heaviness or tightness. But worry not, because I'm sharing my suggestions!  A rule of thumb when selecting moisturizers for acne-prone skin is to check for products with labels such as fragrance-free and non-comedogenic.  You don't have to look for "oil free". I think this is the worst misconception.  The product just has to be balanced. My top picks are Graydon Skincare Super Sensitive Skin Stuff , a ceramide cream which is unscented, and PhytoClear with botanical retinol that I mentioned above. If you have acne but also sensitive and dry skin, check out Iremia's Soothing Lotion which is specially formulated to calm and clarify the most sensitive skin.

Acne-Prone Skin Sins

Avoid scrubbing your face with aggressive scrubs!
Hands off on picking on your acne!
Keep your pillows and beddings clean!
Don't use more than one active anti-acne ingredient at a time!

Final Thoughts

Your acne-prone skin can appear radiant and healthy provided you use suitable skin care
products and adopt healthy lifestyle habits. I hope you found my tips on gentle skincare for acne-prone skin helpful. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!


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