Caring for your face when you have acne

There are a few key steps to good skin care, which is important for everyone with acne. Using the right skin care products can make a big difference in your acne control, promote skin health and help keep your skin looking young. Because there are so many different skin care products available from department stores, pharmacies, supermarkets and on the internet, choosing the right product for you can be very confusing. At Auckland Dermatology we are all specially trained in this area and can offer you sound advice on a simple, effective and reasonably priced skin care regime.

The key steps in your skin care regime are:

  • Cleanse
  • Treat
  • Protect

Many are familiar with the principles of “cleanse, tone, moisturise”. While it is important to cleanse the face twice daily, use of a toner is completely unnecessary and may irritate acne prone skin further. Toners do not “tighten pores” or “adjust the pH of your skin”. At best, toners only remove excess make-up your cleanser has failed to remove – at worst they can irritate facial skin and waste your money. A quote from an Australian dermatologist is pertinent: “Only printers and photocopy machines need toner.” Moisturisers should be used only under dermatologic advice if you are suffering from acne. More often than not, use of a moisturiser during the day is not necessary and can actually worsen your acne by blocking pores. Some people may require a gentle moisturiser at night. Facial moisturisers should be oil-free and non-comedogenic. Despite an abundance of advertising suggesting that moisturisers are anti-ageing, the primary function of a moisturiser is to prevent moisture loss from the skin. The very best anti-ageing product you can apply to your skin is a facial sunscreen SPF30+ or higher – every day!

Cleansing

We recommend a water-soluble, soap-free, rinse-off facial wash that is free of abrasives and alcohol. Avoid creamy cleansers or facial wipes as these leave too much residue on the skin. Avoid all grainy scrubs and/or facial exfoliants. Floors need scrubbing – faces do not! Scrubbing or exfoliating causes significant irritation to acne prone skin.

We like:

  • Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
  • Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser
  • Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash
  • Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser
  • QV Gentle Wash

Treating

This includes any topical acne preparation you have been prescribed by your GP or dermatologist or any treatment product recommended by our Cosmetic Therapies Specialist. Be careful to follow the instructions for applying these products and avoid sensitive areas such as around the eyes and lips. Don’t use too much of your treatment product. More is not better and can irritate the skin.

Protecting

Sunscreen

This step includes daily use of a sunscreen (SPF30+ or higher) and make-up if required.

Look for products labelled “oil-free” and “non-comedogenic”. You may have to try a few products before finding the one that suits you. Daily use of sunscreen is vital to your overall skin health. Some acne treatments increase the skin’s susceptibility to the harmful effects of sunlight. Acne scars are particularly sensitive and prone to the harmful effects of ultravioletA light. Without good UVA protection, the scars can rapidly ‘photoage’, losing their elasticity and collagen support resulting in loose, sagging facial skin. Newer sunscreen ingredients have been developed that provide a better, longer lasting broader spectrum of protection against the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. They are also safer to use and have passed a high level of safety testing. The latest sunscreens won’t clog pores, are very unlikely to cause allergy, are non-irritating and provide very good protection.

We like:

  • Sun Sense Daily Face Matt Formula
  • Sun Sense Clear Mist
  • Piz Buin 1 Day Long Lotion
  • Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer SPF 85

Make-up

Less is best with acne-prone skin and this especially applies to the use of make-up.

While it is very tempting to want to totally cover up the skin irregularities and angry-looking pimples, using concealers and heavy foundation will potentially worsen your acne. A light oil-free liquid foundation won’t cover everything but it will give your skin a much more even looking colour and tone. Using a mineral make-up powder with a large brush applicator will also help even out your skin tone without blocking pores.

We like:

  • Jane Iredale Mineral Make-up – available from BodyTech Spa, Normanby Road, Mt Eden.