This Is the Skincare Regimen You Need to Clear and Prevent Acne

We’ve all had a pimple—or a colony of them—every one as unwelcome as the last. Sometimes they’re fleeting, a result of poor post-gym hygiene, while other breakouts are chronic, a result of genetics or stress.

Regardless of the origins, or if you’re already panicking about the appearance of the next ones, you can make an effort to maximize your skin health. But, with so many mixed messages it’s hard to know what works and doesn’t, including the most effective products for warding off breakouts.


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That’s why we sourced unbiased experts—a pool of board-certified dermatologist, actually—and asked them for the best products that round out an anti-acne regimen, be they preventative, reactive, or both. Here’s the regimen you should put into practice immediately. You’ll notice long-standing, skin-clearing effects some 2-3 months down the line—as well as far fewer breakouts and remnants along the way.

Start with the right cleanser—and cleanse 2x per day

Salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and benzoyl peroxide: These are three ingredients you should memorize. Each one is effective at preventing and minimizing breakouts.

“An effective salicylic acid wash (such as CLn Acne Wash) is a great way to start the day,” says Rhonda Klein, M.D.

Salicylic acid and glycolic acid work to dissolve dead cells that might clog pores.

“And a benzoyl peroxide 2-5% wash is a great anti-acne evening cleanser (such as PanOxyl),” she adds, since it fights the bacteria that take residence in your pores during the day.

The lower grades, around 2%, are good for your face, and the higher grades, nearing 5%, are good for your body.


The Best Minimalist Skincare Regimen, According to Dermatologists

Kassie Gaitz, M.D., suggests benzoyl-peroxide cleansers in particular to her patients who suffer from acne breakouts on the back, chest, and shoulders.

You might hear about benzoyl peroxide topical creams that can be worn overnight. Speak with your dermatologist about whether or not this is a good route for you. They tend to be high grades that can dry out your skin, plus they bleach your towels and pillowcases, which can make it an expensive habit.

There’s another overnight solution anyway, one that nearly every single dermatologist recommends; we’ll get to that later down the list.

Only use scrubs preventatively

Marisa Garshick, M.D., warns that scrubs will only aggravate acne. They should instead be used cautiously on skin that’s already clear—preventatively, that is—and you should rely on the other products on this list to minimize existing breakouts.

Use a non-comedogenic moisturizer

If you are prone to acne, then you might want to avoid oil-based moisturizers, says Jennifer S. Kitchin, M.D. They are comedogenic, meaning they clog your pores and lead to one-off pimples or bigger breakouts. Instead, stick with oil-free, non-comedogenic products (look for that term), like Olay Complete Lotion All Day Moisturizer With SPF 15.

Use retinol products overnight

Retinol is the miracle cream. It’s universally accepted as the best defense against signs of aging, and an essential pillar of a minimalist skincare regimen. It’s also going to be your key defense against acne, since it minimizes pores, balances the skin, and even reduces deep acne scars that otherwise take months to get rid of. It’s important to use them overnight for a couple reasons: 1.) They work with the body’s regenerative cycle to expedite healing and improve your skin. 2.) They make you sensitive to light and are deactivated by UV exposure. (So you need to cleanse thoroughly and use an SPF–packed product the next morning.


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Kimberly Jerden, M.D., recommends speaking with your dermatologist first and foremost, to decide if a prescription-grade retinoid is best for you. That being said, “aside from my favorite prescription retinoids, I am picky about buying over the counter retinoids because many aren’t strong enough or not proven to convert,” she says.

But there is one she endorses wholeheartedly: PCA Intensive Clarity Treatment 0.5% Pure Retinol.

Do a mask once per week

An at-home face mask feels incredible, and that’s because it’s doing good to your skin: It absorbs all the grease and gunk that accumulates in your pores—deep from within the pores, that is—and gives you a very clean canvas from which to start your week. Dhaval Bhanusali, M.D., warns against doing masks too often though.

“Masks are strong. They often have salicylic acid, which, given the occlusion of the mask, really helps get the acid into the oil glands of the skin,” he says. “This then decreases oil production.”

In a bad way, since your skin’s oil is what keeps it hydrated. It’s merely the excess oil you want to eradicate. So, limit yourself to once a week on deep-cleaning masks in order to avoid excessive drying.

However, you can’t really overdo the ultra-hydrating masks, since they have a different and pro-nourishment objective.) Precede a cleansing mask with an actual cleanse, follow it with a rinse, then a moisturizer (or a retinol if it’s the end of the day). Have a look at our favorite masks, as well as the favorites of our dermatologists.


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The post This Is the Skincare Regimen You Need to Clear and Prevent Acne appeared first on Men's Journal.

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Back Acne: What You Need To Know To Prevent And Treat Breakouts

Let’s talk about back acne. You know, those breakouts (consisting of pink pimples and clogged pores) that you know are there but can’t see?

Addressing bacne starts with treating the skin on the neck, shoulders and back with the same caution and concern as the skin on the face, according to board-certified dermatologist Jessica Weiser.

A gentle, well-balanced regimen will yield better results and avoid damaging the skin in the process,” says Weiser. Simple steps such as bathing after working out and avoiding skincare products with harsh irritants and fragrances are key.

To feel super confident when baring our backs this summer, Weiser told us everything we need to know to beat bacne. Here’s what to do and what to avoid.

Shower immediately after exercising. “Never leave sweat-soaked clothing on the skin surface,” says Weiser. Sweat, exercise, tight-fitting clothing, non-breathable fabrics and other forms of surface occlusion (like a backpack) are some of the main causes of bacne. Use a pH balancing body wash, salicylic acid/benzoyl peroxide cleanser or a sulfur-based soap to remove excess oils, debris and bacteria from the skin surface before they clog pores and cause acne breakouts.

Don’t forget to exfoliate. “Unlike the face, the pores on the back are much larger and significantly more prone to congestion so they can tolerate an exfoliating cleanser two to three times a week to improve cell turnover and keep pores free of dead skin cells and debris,” says Weiser. Just be sure to avoid scrubbing the skin too vigorously, as the dermatologist says it can damage or scar the skin and over-dry the skin surface, which stimulates oil production that triggers further acne flares.

Reconsider using scented laundry products. According to Weiser, fragrance detergents can cause increased irritation and dryness on the skin surface, which triggers inflammation. “Waxy coating on dryer sheets and fabric softener can also cause clogged pores and acne flares,” she says.

Choose your beauty products cautiously. “Shampoo, hair conditioner and styling products contain a variety of comedogenic ingredients including sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate,” says Weiser. These ingredients along with sunscreens and skin care products containing lanolin, petroleum/petrolatum and silicone derivatives may also cause breakouts and skin irritation.

If acne is unresponsive to at-home treatment and over-the-counter medications, visit a doctor. Early intervention is the best form of prevention against scarring. “The same in-office procedures that apply to the face can also be successfully applied to that back — try microdermabrasion, antimicrobial glycolic acid chemical peels, blue light or red light treatments,” she adds.

Do you struggle with back acne? Have you found successful ways to clear up and prevent breakouts? Tell us in the comments section.


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