If you ask us, washing acne-prone skin is the most challenging, frustrating and most of time totally neglected step in your skincare routine.
Is cleansing good for my acne prone skin? Which cleanser is right for acne prone skin? Should I double cleanse? Should I wash my face in PM or just AM? Should I wash my face at all?! Oh, I feel your frustration!
We’re often told that washing our skin will lead to clearer skin, but as we find out, that’s not always the case. Regardless of whether you have hormonal acne, cystic acne, or no blemishes at all, one thing’s for sure – proper cleansing is the key!
If you're new to the whole acne-prone skin thing, or just in need of some new tips, here are my tips for how to wash your acne-prone skin and keep your skin looking good and vibrant.
1. Which cleanser is right for my acne prone skin?
When looking for a cleanser, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, look for a cleanser that says ultra-gentle, mild, non-irritating or non-drying. Check out the ingredient list, and look if you can find the pH value of the product. As we wrote in this blog post Acidic or alkaline - which skincare products are important?:
The biggest threat to your acidic mantel is your cleanser. The feeling of dry, tight and flaky skin after cleansing is a sign that your acid mantle has been compromised. Even some soap falls between the range of 8.0-11.0 on the pH scale - this is why it's really important to check the pH of your products before you use them on your face.
Whilst it may be tempting treat your blemishes harshly in the hope of getting rid of them faster, in fact the opposite will happen as drying, harsh products will only irritate your skin and make it worse in the long run. With that in mind, it’s best to treat your acne-prone skin gently, to treat it effectively.
We especially recommend only using cleansers which use salicylic acid, such as the System Akvile Cleanser with 2% salicylic acid. This is because, salicylic acid is an antimicrobial and gentle skin exfoliant, which is particularly effective in controlling acne-prone skin!
Our cleanser also includes aloe vera extract, leaving the skin feeling smooth and soft, instead of tight and dry.
Another thing to bear in mind when looking for that perfect cleanser is to only use cleanser that has been specifically formulated to be used on the face. Using hand or body soap on your face will only dry your skin out and make it feel tight.
Also avoid cleansers with exfoliating beads, or ground fruit pits. Whilst it might feel super satisfying to scrub away at your skin, that’s a job best left for your exfoliant. Using harsh scrubs on your skin, especially in the midst of a breakout, can create micro tears in the skin and make your healthy pores break out too, making the problem worse.
2. Should I wash my acne prone skin more than twice per day?
Many people still believe that blemishes are the result of dirty skin. If you never go to bed with your makeup, we're here to tell you that that simply isn't true. You cannot cure pimples and blemishes with a cleansing alone. Acne-prone skin is the result of hormones, genetics, and clogged pores, not from not washing your face enough.
In order to keep skin clean and clear, many people with acne-prone skin wash their face at every chance they get. This can also be detrimental and over drying to your skin and can even make breakouts worse. So if you're washing your face four or five times a day, we recommend cutting it back to twice: once in the morning and once before bed, which is easy to do with our System Akvile cleanser.
3. Are you removing your makeup properly?
You have every right active in your skincare routine but you are still breaking out? We ask you - do you remove your makeup and cleanse properly? Just keep in mind that cleanser is not a makeup remover, and that cleansing always works most effectively on bare skin, so take time to take all of your makeup off before cleansing.
Especially if you wear heavy makeup or sunscreen, it’s so important to remove your makeup first, and then start the cleansing step.
You can use a gentle micellar water or makeup remover wipes, as they're quick, easy, and convenient, but you may have your go-to makeup remover that you've been using for years, especially for tough eye makeup. Whatever you like using best, use that! If you want, you can use one pump of our Cleanser on a wet cotton pad. Remove your makeup gentle and start the cleansing. Pay more attention to the areas where you breakout most - chin, around nose or forehead.
4. Is hot water good for acne prone skin?
There's nothing quite like coming home on a cold day and hopping into a hot, steamy shower. Unfortunately for you, though, hot water is not your skin's best friend. And, no, your pores will not open more.
Using hot water to wash your face encourages the dilution of blood vessels and can cause delicate tissue to break up. It also strips the skin of its natural oils that help to protect your skin. Removing these oils can dry out your skin, leaving it tight, flaky, and itchy.
When it comes to washing your face, lukewarm water is the way to go: warm enough to be comfortable, but not too hot so as to damage your skin.
5. Don't reuse that washcloth!
Adding extra laundry to your laundry pile is the last thing anyone wants. However, when it comes to your face, a little extra laundry can go a long way towards clearing up your skin.
If you use a washcloth to wash your skin, you should only use it once before throwing it in the laundry. While this might seem like a minor thing (I mean, it's just a washcloth, right?), you want to wash any cloth that comes in contact with your acne-prone skin regularly in order to prevent the spread of bacteria.
As well as washcloths, this also includes pillowcases, towels, clothes, hats, sweatbands, etc.
Do your skin a favor, and throw in another load of laundry!
6. Pat dry
Finally, once you've washed your face, gently pat your skin dry with a towel. Don't scrub or rub your skin dry, as this can irritate your skin even more and spread infection to healthy pores.
When using a towel to dry your face, use a separate towel from the one you use to dry your body when you step out of the shower. Just like it's beneficial to use a fresh washcloth to wash your face, using a separate towel can prevent the spread of bacteria to your face.
Treat your skin gently, pat dry, and you and your freshly washed face will be ready to take on the world!