There are a ridiculous amount of products on the market, it really is enough to confuse anyone out there who is just trying to get their skin healthy with a decent basic routine. Minimising the amount of products and keeping them nice and light strikes a good balance for this eruption prone skin type.
So following on from the basic AM and PM regime that suits almost anybody, here are a list of the hardest working products I can find – with a few different budget options.
Congested, breakout prone or oily skin
What I have struggled with since my teenage years, skin that tends to break out with minimal provocation is my speciality! Gentle, but sufficient cleansing and exfoliating is key for reducing breakouts, while hydration is important for maintaining oil balance and keeping skin glowing. I have only listed products I have actually tried out in this section, and they are in no particular order of preference – many of patients have different favourites.
- Cleansers: Obagi 360 Exfoliating Cleanser, Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel, Alumier MD Purifying Gel Cleanser, Kiehl’s Ultrafacial Cleanser. Please note, cleansing only happen after you remove your makeup with some sort of oil based cleanser.
- Toner: My homemade ACV toner is always my first choice, but if you need a bit extra decongestion (or you skin appears to be having an extended acne crisis) always Pore Therapy. I can’t find one to beat it, or even come close.
- Exfoliant: Nip and Fab pads ( the regular ones, not the extreme) are handy if you’re not sensitive to glycolic acid, as is the Pixi Glow Tonic (although I find the Pixi tends to irritate skin more than N&F) Bright and Clear is gentle enough for most skins, although it can cause irritation like the previous one, just nothing as often.. Obagi Exfoderm Forte packs a serious punch and basically leaves you with brand new skin (after a bit of flaking) but you might want to come see me first to make sure you’re using it correctly.
- Hydrating spray: any of the ones from the pharmacy, and you might even have some lying around the house.
- Hydrating serum: Dermalogica’s hydrating booster is a handy size for air travel, Alumier’s Ultimate boost serum is lovely and light and this one from the Ordinary is a budget friendly option.
- Moisturiser AM: I choose either a hydrating sunscreen, like Sheer Hydration, and skip the moisturiser altogether after the serum step, or I use a moisturiser that has a proper amount of sunscreen in it like Hydrafactor.
- Moisturiser PM: If I’m using a lot of active ingredients like retinol, and my skin has dried out a bit, I’ll reach for Hydrate, but 90% of the time I use either Hydralight, this Gel from Neutrogena, or this one from the Garnier Moisture Bomb Range. Another excellent option if you’re really prone to breakouts and you have super sensitive, dehydrated skin is this super star from Lancôme.
That is my basic routine (to be honest, I can’t keep track of all the bells and whistles I add to my routine, so I don’t expect you to either), but I always bring it back to this.
If you’re having more breakouts than usual make sure:
- You’re cleansing properly, with a clean facecloth every day. You can also clean you phone and change your pillow case twice a week (extra points for a silk one).
- You’re using a salicylic acid like Pore Therapy every day (reduce if skin becomes red, and only apply to breakout areas in this case).
- Add in a retinol (vitamin A – not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding), this will help reduce oil production. EASE into it – start with 2 nonconsecutive nights a week, and increase by one night a week unless skin becomes excessively dry and flaky. Stop 3 days before sun holidays, peel, micro-needling, in clinic treatment with lasers or energy based devices or if you have an event and are shedding all over the place.
- Diet and lifestyle play a massive part in hormonal acne in particular – cutting out dairy and using a supplement specifically designed to target acne can be life changing ( and have been for many of my patients), as can making sure you get enough sleep, and keep stress levels at bay.
This list clearly does not cover every product in the market (and I haven’t quite had the chance to try everything in existence), but you can alwasy check the ingredients and compare them with what you have – you might find the culprit to your breakouts in you bathroom cupboard! And if you’re stuck, you can always book a one to one with me.