Skin Care Routine to treat acne – step by step.
Before you start – Work out your skin type
This skin care routine helped hundreds of men and women to rid of acne and pimples. First, you need to check your skin type here; it’ll help you choose the right product for your skin.
Before you start using new products make sure you patch test every new product first, to see if it causes irritation, an allergic reaction, or a breakout.
Where you test depends on what you want to know.
- To see if you’re allergic- Behind the ear
- To check for irritation- The area where you’re most sensitive
- To check for clogs or acne- The area in which you experience this the most
Patch test area should be large enough for you to notice if something goes wrong, but small enough that if something does go wrong then you’ll be able to deal with it quickly.
Don’t start using tons of different products at once; if you have a rush or breakout you won’t know which one caused it. Better to use one for a week minimum before starting using the second one.
The Routine to rid you of acne and pimples
If you’re overwhelmed looking at all these steps: just do steps 1 and 4. You can ignore the others for now.
If you wear makeup, remove it in the PM before Step 1 with makeup remover of your choice.
Step 1. Cleanse
It’s recommended you clean your face with a cleanser at least once a day, in the PM. If your skin tends more toward dry or dehydrated, you can wash your face with water in the AM. If your skin is more oily, use a cleanser in the AM as well.
Please note that your skin isn’t supposed to feel dry or tight after cleansing. If that is the case, your cleanser is too harsh for your skin and it’s recommended you try a more gentle one.
Step 2. Exfoliate (optional)
You may think of exfoliation as harsh scrubs that physically remove dead skin. ScA recommends chemical exfoliation to physical exfoliation. Physical exfoliation is often overly harsh, does not remove dead skin evenly, and can actually encourage acne in the long run by damaging your moisture barrier. If you do want to include some physical exfoliation in your routine ScA recommends konjac sponges, microfiber cloths, or products containing jojoba beads.
Chemical exfoliation is great for evenly getting rid of dead skin and cleaning up dirty pores. It’s not a vital step in a routine, but it can be useful for improving skin tone, battling acne, and getting rid of closed comedones. AHAs such as glycolic acid or lactic acid work by loosening the bonds between dead skin so that it can shed more quickly and reveal brighter skin. BHAs, which mainly refer to salicylic acid, are lipid soluble and able to penetrate deeper to break up sebum.
If you are going to use a chemical exfoliant, start at around 2 times a week and slowly build up the frequency. If your skin starts to look dry or irritated, reduce the frequency again. Please note that if you’re going to use an AHA, you need to add sun protection to your routine first. Due to the way they encourage skin turnover, AHAs make your skin more sensitive to the sun, increasing the risk of sunburn, wrinkles, and pigmentation spots.
If you are new to chemical exfoliation, start with a low percentage product and work your way up. Don’t mistake a higher percentage for automatic higher efficacy or faster results. You could damage your skin and cause more issues to deal with long-term.
Step 3. Spot treat (optional)
Spot treatments can be very useful for dealing with active pimples. You can use a spot treatment either over or under your moisturizer, whichever your preference is.
Step 4. Moisturize
A vital step in a skincare routine. Preferably, moisturize any time you’ve cleansed your face. When you cleanse away grime or makeup you are also removing the moisture that your body naturally produces to maintain your skin, and it’s important to replace that. Skipping moisturizer, especially if you are using actives such as chemical exfoliants, benzoyl peroxide, or retinoids, can cause dry, dehydrated, sensitive, or dull looking skin. If your skin is oily, try a gel moisturizer to prevent shininess.
Step 5. Sunscreen (optional, but highly recommended)
If you’re using an AHA, benzoyl peroxide or retinoids, you absolutely need sun protection in your routine (since these products make your skin much more sensitive to sun damage). There are also some oral prescription medications that will increase sun sensitivity; be sure to check the prescribing information / patient information leaflet of your medication.
However, even if you’re not using photosensitizing products, using sunscreen every day is still a good idea. Sun exposure causes long-term damage, increases your risk of skin cancer, and is one of the chief factors that cause the skin to age prematurely, even when you’re not getting a sunburn. Proper sun protection is the best anti-aging and anti-wrinkle treatment you can provide your skin in the long term. PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) can also be worsened by sun exposure. Make sure your products have an SPF rating of 30 or higher, and that they provide adequate UVA protection.
Remember you need to use around 1/4 tsp (US size) for your face and neck to get the advertised protection. Sunscreen is tested for its SPF rating at 2 mg/cm2. Given the size of the average face, this comes out to about 1/4 tsp. If you’re also applying it to your neck, use an additional 1/4 tsp for that area. ScA highly recommends that you measure this out to get a feel for what it really looks like. Reapply after two hours of sun exposure, or after you’ve been in the water.
What your routine looks like is highly dependent on your skin issues, budget, and personal preference. The routine below is only an example of what it could look like.
- Wash with water/cleanser
- Wait until moisturizer dries
- Remove makeup
- Wait until exfoliant dries
- Spot treat (also possible after moisturizing)
Skin care for different types of skin
Of course, skin care routine for oily skin would differ from the one you use for dry skin. Check out our Success Stories page to see all different routines these people used for acne at home.