TABLE OF CONTENTS:
BASIC SKIN-CARE ROUTINE
LEARN MORE ABOUT SKIN-CARE
BASIC SKIN-CARE ROUTINE:
Below are basic tips recommended by WebMD, Paula Begoun, Dr. Amy Wechsler and others.
Do not use a bar soup, as they are usually alkaline and can leave a film on your skin, clog pores, and block other ingredients from absorbing (1). Choose a water soluble cleanser (2). The cleanser should be fragrance-free and should not include drying ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate. You can remove it with a soft washcloth, but do not pull at your skin. I'd like to add a note to this: Apply the cleanser in circular motions for at least 20 seconds so that the cleanser has time to do its job, break down oils, etc. 20 seconds of rubbing hands with soap is what the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends when washing hands, so why not apply this logic to your face (3)?
Use a gentle, water-based toner. Avoid those with alcohol, astringents like witch hazel, menthol, citrus, or fragrances (4).
Salicylic acid (BHA) (2) reduces inflammation, swelling, and redness, all of which can help the skin heal. It can also kill acne inducing bacteria, and it exfoliates deep into pores. Use at least .5%, but 1% or 2% is better, and the formula should have a PH between 3 and 4 (4). If you cannot use BHA, you can try an 8% AHA.
Recommended by WebMD for acne (2) and stated to kill bacteria (5), BP is the most effective over-the-counter choice for going deep into the pores and killing acne causing bacteria (1). You can start with a 2.5% concentration and move up from there (4). Dr. Amy Wechsler recommends trying BHAs for 3 weeks before trying Benzoyl Peroxide. She recommends cleansing once a day with a 10% BP solution, if you can handle it, and for the occasional blemish, she recommends spot treating with the lowest strength possible (6). Rinse thoroughly, as residue of BP can bleach fabrics and hair.
If BP doesn't work for you, consider tretinoin (Retin-A), which encourages cell turnover and helps stop new acne lesions from forming (5). It's also fabulous for anti-aging! Do not use Retin-A with BP at the same time, as BP will inactivate Retin-A (1). My note: BP can cause irritation, so I recommend it only as a temporary use. Retin-A should only be used at night and should be washed off in the morning followed by the application of a full-spectrum sunscreen.
Be sure to use one that's formulated for your skin's type, and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen during the day. For sunscreen, I recommend an oil-free moisturizer (if your skin is oily) with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (for safety reasons, make sure the nanoparticles of these are greater than 30nm (7) so as to not risk being absorbed through your skin).
ABSORB EXCESS OIL
You can use oil-blotting paper or absorbent masks to help with excess oil such as a clay mask or even Phillip's Milk of Magnesia works well as a mask.
TEA TREE OIL
Tea tree oil is another option for killing bacteria (2).
Look for pH balanced products that contain antioxidants, skin-repairing ingredients (like niacinamide), anti-irritants (like green tea), and cell-communicating ingredients (like niacinamide and retinols). They should be free of skin-irritants (like lavender), fragrances and dyes.
Check out reviews of your current products at the below sources.
Beautypedia's Product Evaluations
Consumer Search: Health & Beauty Reviews
Acne.org User Reviews
About.com Skin-Care Product Reviews
If your products aren't listed, you can check out their ingredients at the below links. If you know of other good sources for this, please let me know:
Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary
Ingredients that Cause or Exacerbate Acne
Glossary of Cosmetic Terms
DHC Skin-Care Glossary
Concerned about the safety of your products?
EWG's Cosmetic Safety Database
Note: I prefer all-natural products, but because I have yet to find a well-formulated, natural product without skin irritants, I have chosen to use synthetics for facial care. However, I use all-natural body lotions (fragrance-free), etc.
Anti-acne product recommendations by Paula, Dr. Amy Wechsler and Acne.org:
Beautypedia - Best Anti-Acne Products
Get Flawless Skin - Dr. Amy's Skin-Care Treatment Guide
Acne.org Acne Products
LEARN MORE ABOUT SKIN-CARE:
Dr. Oz Skin-Care Articles, Q&A, etc.
Have to put in a diet plug here as well. Avoid dairy and choose a low-glycemic diet (8). Avoid meat and saturated fats (10). Many people are allergic to gluten, so consider gluten-free foods. Choose foods that are anti-inflammatory, such as whole, unprocessed plant-foods (10), and I can't recommend more highly the addition of daily blended greens (click here), which are in my opinion, essential for healthy skin.
Fish oil (or a DHA oil), Vitamin D, probiotics, and a food-based multi-vitamin are all helpful and recommended for basic health as well.
Making healthful changes for your skin, especially if doing a mostly whole, plant-based diet, will also help keep your body free from diseases like cancer, heart-disease and diabetes, according to Dr. T. Colin Campbell, who did the most thorough study on nutrition ever done when he conducted The China Study (9).
Check out this article from Paula Begoun: 5 Anti-Aging Superfoods for Younger-Looking Skin
Don't pick at your skin, don't get hair products on your skin, wash off sweat, avoid prescription drugs, get adequate sleep, exercise, and find time each day to de-stress. Don't let acne rob you of love, joy and compassion in your life. Acne is annoying, but taking the focus off of yourself and focusing on love and compassion towards others can help. Besides faith (for me), nothing will bring you more happiness than a heart full of compassion, just ask Roko Belic, director of the movie, "Happy!" (11)
(1) Best Acne Fighting Products
(2) WebMD. Acne Home Treatment
(3) CDC. Handwashing
(4) Do I Need a Toner?
(5) Cornell. Acne Treatment (topical, systemic)
(6) Get Flawless Skin - Dr. Amy's Skin-Care Treatment Guide
(7) Towards a definition of inorganic nanoparticles from an environmental, health and safety perspective
(8) A Clear Connection? Most dermatologists tell their patients diet plays no role in acne. New research suggests that's wrong.
(9) The China Study
(10) Acne Vulgaris: Overview and Risk Factors
(11) Culture of Empathy
Edited by *`*~ABG Fairy~*`*, 19 December 2011 - 03:55 PM.