Medications, Skincare

My Acne Treatment Routine

*Note: This acne treatment routine worked for me for a while, but this is no longer the skincare routine I follow. For my current skincare and acne treatment routine, ready my post about how I finally got rid of my acne

One of the best things you can do to calm your acne is to develop a consistent, daily acne treatment routine.

However, the trap I see a lot of acne-prone people falling into is the overuse of really harsh skin products. Over-the-counter acne products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid may help dry out current breakouts, but using them multiple times a day or even once a day can sometimes do more to exacerbate your acne than clear it up.

I’m a big fan of Korean skincare products, because they tend to be much gentler and soothing than the Western skincare products I’ve used.

I’ve found that by combining a Korean skincare routine with a few acne treatment products, I’ve been able to create a daily skincare plan that targets my acne, without irritating the skin around it.

Keep reading to learn more about my daily treatment routine.

My Skincare Routine

As I mentioned in my post about my history with cystic acne, my skin is severely broken out right now thanks to a supplement I was taking.

Even with my decade of experience treating my acne, I’ve found this breakout to be one of the most challenging I’ve ever had.

Thanks to a combination of over-the-counter and prescription products, my acne is starting to calm down. However, thanks to the damage I did to my skin in taking those supplements, it’s going to be a long time before the texture and hyperpigmentation from this breakout subside.

For the time being, I’m only focused on clearing up my active acne and preventing this current breakout from continuing. Once I have that under control, then I can start to think about treating my acne scars, but let’s take it one step at a time.

Here’s my current skincare routine for treating acne.

In the Morning

The focus of your morning skincare routine should be to cleanse your skin and remove any products you put on before going to bed the previous night.

Here’s what I do:

  1. Wash with a cleansing oil. Right now I’m using the Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil. Apply it to your dry skin and massage it in, then splash your face with warm water to turn it into a lather and wash it off.
  2. Wash with a gentle acne treating soap or cleanser. I use the Noble Formula Zinc Soap. Work the soap into a lather on your hands and apply it to your skin. Then wait about 30 seconds and wash it off. Your skin will feel kind of firm and “squeaky” when you do so.
  3. Use a gentle toner. I use the Etude House Wonder Pore Freshner. Apply the toner to a cotton cleansing pad and gently wipe it across your skin in upward motions. Do not rub the pad back and forth over your skin, as this is more likely to damage your skin and can encourage wrinkles. Just wipe it gently across your skin in a few upward strokes.
  4. Apply an essence. I’ve been using the Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence Mist and I love it. Most essences come in a watery liquid form, but I really like that you can just spray this one on your face and pat it in.
  5. Moisturize. Whether you have oily skin or dry skin, moisturizing is important to keep your skin healthy. The one thing you need to be careful of is using a moisturizer that is too heavy, as overly creamy moisturizers can cause small cysts called milia to form. This started happening to me when I was using Equate’s Naturally Beaming moisturizer so I switched to CeraVe’s Moisturizing Cream. I prefer the packaging with the pump because it’s a little more hygienic than dipping your fingers into the same jar of moisturizer over and over again.
  6. Apply SPF. Whether you have acne or not, you should be using SPF every day if you want to take care of your skin. Rather than applying SPF and then foundation, I’ve been killing two birds with one stone and use the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint Broad Spectrum foundation. It’s a tinted, full-coverage sunscreen with SPF 30. I’ve been using the shade “Finland” and it does a good job of covering up my scars and hyperpigmentation. Plus, since it’s a matte product it does a good job of making textured skin and active pimples a little less noticeable.

As part of the acne treatment plan I’m on right now, I also take a prescription antibiotic twice during the day between meals.

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Getting on antibiotics is one of the few things that seems to clear up my cystic acne, but you can never stay on them long so they’re really only a short-term solution to the problem.

However, given the severity of my acne recently, my dermatologist (from prescribed me an antibiotic, as well as a topical cream, which I only use at night.

Which brings us to…

My Evening Skincare Routine

The focus of my evening skincare regimen is to basically remove all the makeup and dirt from my skin. In many ways, my evening routine is the same as my morning routine, but with two alterations.

Here’s my evening routine:

  1. Wash your face with your gentle oil cleanser. I use the Klairs cleanser in both the morning and the evening. It’s fabulous at removing all the makeup from your skin. The only makeup it doesn’t fully remove is eye makeup, which I usually wipe off with Equate’s Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover.
  2. Double-cleanse with a foaming facial cleanser. I’ve been using the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser for years and it’s never aggravated or bothered my skin.
  3. Tone. Use the toner just as you did in the morning.
  4. Apply an essence. Apply your essence just as you did in the morning.
  5. Moisturize.
  6. Apply any topical acne medications you’re on. I wait 30 minutes or so after moisturizing before I apply any acne treatment products to my face. Right now I’m on Trentinoin again, so I apply that right before I go bed.

And, in terms of my daily acne treatment routine, that’s pretty much it.

A few times a week I also like to use a sheet mask, which I find generally relaxing and which seem to help brighten my skin and reduce redness. Many Korean skincare enthusiasts also recommend doing a clay mask once a week or so, too.

While my evening and morning routines may seem like a lot, they really only take about 15 minutes or so to complete, assuming I’m in no hurry whatsoever. I think that’s pretty manageable.

What’s your favorite skincare routine? Tell me in the comments section below.

Also published on Medium.

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