A Well-Rounded Routine
The root cause of acne is when oil glands are blocked. You can prevent this from happening by using a topical exfoliant.
“Many people do not realize that a blemish may begin to form two to three weeks before it appears on the surface of the skin,” Dr. Gross said. This means you have to be on top of your acne-fighting game at all times, not just when zits rear their ugly heads. Some of my favorite blemish-fighting treatments come in the form of peel pads, such as Dr. Dennis Gross One Step Acne Eliminating Pads ($38), which uses l-carnitine to prevent pores from getting clogged. A gentle peel containing a mix of salicylic acid and AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) can also become part of your regular acne-fighting routine. I like M-61’s Power Glow Peels ($28). This no-rinse peel offers up gentle exfoliation by removing dead, skin-clogging cells.
Other topical products you can use daily include SkinCeuticals’ Blemish + Age Defense ($90). It reduces fine lines and wrinkles on aging skin, but it also contains salicylic acid to prevent breakouts and even skin tone. Salicylic acid can be a bit drying, so pairing it with a moisturizer is key. Using one with the potent antioxidant vitamin C will protect your skin against harmful free radicals (and fade dark spots!) while erasing redness left behind by breakouts. Embryolisse’s Moisturizing Cream with Orange Extract ($30) is non-comedogenic, making it ideal for anyone suffering from acne.
Incorporating a product containing retinol into your routine is something you might want to consider. Sure, we all think of retinol as an antiaging tool because it accelerates cell turnover, but that same process is helpful for preventing and reducing the effects of breakouts. It also reduces pore size. Pro-Essentials: A15 by Twinmedix ($90) is powerful enough to deliver results while gentle enough to use on acne-prone skin.
Having a good spot treatment is a necessity for your arsenal. Sulfur is a great ingredient to reach for for when it comes to banishing eruptions, because it controls that dreaded acne-causing bacteria. I’ve found Proactiv’s Quick Fix Blemish Pen ($27) and Eve Lom’s Dynaspot ($34) to be supereffective.