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The Constant Contradictions Of Mild Acne Skincare

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Hey everyone,

I'm a 21 year old guy who has been fighting acne for almost two years, which I know is quite late but prior to that I only got the odd spot and it didn't bother me all that much. Now that it is worse, it is so frustrating researching about it and seeing all of the contradictions that so called acne "experts" give us. Is there any definitive light that can be shed on any of the following issues? I don't expect anybody to be able to solve all of them but even if you have any comments about one, that would help me and anybody else who has been confused.

1. Moisturising - Some people swear by it, and that it will help reduce the skin from drying out, producing too much oil and clogging pores. Others say that it actually counteracts acne treatment like BP, and that the job of BP for example is to dry out the skin and that's part of how it eliminates acne, so moisturising would hinder it.

2. Non-Comedogenic Products in general - Site after site will say "only use products with non-comedogenic on the label" and that goes for everything: cleansers, moisturisers, shaving cream etc. But other sites warn how there is no industry standard for non-comedogenic products - In other words, anyone can put the words on their product without being questioned or have to prove it.

3. Comedogenic cleansers? - This one is weird, I see cleansers claim to be non-comedogenic and I think to myself "well, duh". Why would any company go to the trouble of making a facial cleanser, that people use to clean their skin, and put comedogenic ingredients in it? Isn't that the opposite of what you'd what a cleanser to do?

4. Exfoliating - Dan of this site for example warns against using exfoliating scrubs on your face, claiming they are irritating and will worsen acne. But exfoliating removes the top layer of the skin, and gets rid of dead skin cells, a common cause of clogged pores.

5. Toners - Use a toner twice a day, once a day, just occasionally, or never? Some say it overdries the skin and isn't really necessary, others swear it's a crucial element of any skincare routine.

6. When using facial cleansers, I've been told to leave them on the face for a minute of two before rinsing off, in order to let it penetrate the pores. I've always been told to wash it straight off, so it doesn't strip the skin of its natural oils. So I have no clue what to do.

There's more but this really is long enough as it is, please share your thoughts! Even if it's only on one of the above it's going to be helpful. All I want is to take positive steps to clear my skin and it's frustrating not knowing what to do, or worrying that I'm inadvertently making it worse!

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This sounds EXACTLY like the problems I have been having mate. Im 21 aswell, I would love to offer you advice but to be honest the hours of searching ive done has left me with far more questions that answers the same as you. Every single thing ive tried to make it better has made it worse, I havent just been putting any old thing on my face aswell ive researched it thouroughly first every time, even eating a healthier diet has made my fuckin skin drier because I must be missing out on something that keeps skin hydrated or something.

Its so frustrating the continueous contradictions from one site to the next. The non-comedogenic thing is definately the worst. Its clear that there is no regulations so you could literally get a tub of butter and print non-comedogenic on the side, yet I saw a video from someone supposedly considered to be one of the best dermatologists in the world saying something like "always look for products saying non-comeogenic as this means that it wont clog pores" So if even dermatologists are giving this advice then what hope does anyone have?

Im literally not using any cleanser or moisturiser at the moment just water untill I speak to a dermatologist in a few days. Even though I dont think this will help much..

you could also look at the diet aspect and try to sort out what it is that is causing you acne in the first place if its just like inflamed spots.

sorry I couldnt be any help mate, I hope you find the right way to solve your skin problem. Ive been searching the internet to try to find a way to sort my skin out but like you have just been bombarded with contradictory, confusing advice.

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Hey, i'm not the most knowledgeable on this on the boards, but I thought I'd give my 2 cents on this.

1. Moisturising - I really believe that oily skin is not the same as moisturised skin, and I DO think people should moisturise. It should however be light and completely sink in, if it doesn't then the product is too thick/'moisturising' for your skin.

2. Non-Comedogenic Products in general - I don't know anything about a regulation industry, but there are websites you can put the ingredients into and they will tell you if they are known comedogenic or not. I'm afraid I dont know any of the sites but I'm sure a google search would do it. Eventually you will start recognising the worst culprits by sight.

4. Exfoliating - I think the problem with this is that if you have acne many forms of exfoliation open up your spots and could cause bacteria to spread. Not to mention that most acne products have mild chemical exfoliants in them so further exfoliation wouldnt be necessary. I do think it's important for skin, but it's all about how you do it thats important. Like moisturising its also about knowing your skin, you might not have to do it everyday, but someone else might.

5. Toners - Toners that dry skin have alcohol in them. A toner is the last chance to add something to your skin that is going to sit there all night/day, for that reason they can be very beneficial. They can also wipe away any film left on the skin from cleansers. I personally use diluted tea tree oil at night, and a simple brand one in the day, with NO alcohol in it. They are not an essential as stated, which is perhaps why opinion differs.

6. When using facial cleansers- a lot of facial cleansers strip natural oils...thats sort of the point, as people with acne tend to have too much oil. I assume you are talking about the skins acid mantle, in which case you can get skin PH cleansers. Leaving the cleanser sitting for a few seconds is aimed at letting the active ingredients sink in. This site and many people on it recommend using a gentle cleanser, hence with no active ingredients (like salicylic acid) so letting the cleanser sit would be unnecessary.

Maybe that helps a little. Good luck!

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I'm totally biased from my own personal experience, but I think most acne, even mild acne, is an internal or hormonal problem. If you've got anything bigger than blackheads, I would look at your diet and lifestyle and see what's going on. My husband's mild acne clears when he stops eating dairy and sugar. See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/do-milk-and-sugar-cause-a_b_822163.html

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The principles of mainstream skincare products are complete rubbish and does little to nothing for people with acne. Trust and follow every information in The Regimen and it is best to use acne.org products with the instructions since they have a high-quality formulation that promotes a featherlight touch.

I've had mild to moderate but persistent face and body acne for more than a decade now but The Regimen and fish oil+zinc supplementation have been the only things that are clearing me and I've only been on it for 4 1/2 weeks with a 1-week break in between both week 1-2 and week 3-4 because I couldn't handle the itchiness and flakiness of the benzoyl peroxide at first (Please don't be an idiot like me and use too much when starting)

I wish I had known about The Regimen ages ago. Would've saved myself the loads of scars I have to deal with now.

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"Need solutions" - Yeah it's frustrating isn't it, how people say opposite things. As for your comments on diet, I think diet plays a big role in the formation of new acne and I've changed mine a couple of months ago and can report an improvement. I have cut out all sorts of junk food but the most important has been sugar. Sugar creates a bump in insulin levels and I've read in several places that increased insulin = oily skin = more chance of acne. As for hydration, well to be honest the best advice I have is just drink more water, and avoid caffeine. Caffeine really dries out your skin. Nobody argues about these two things so that's a good sign!

"ClearDreaming" - You have indeed helped, thanks for answering so many points. The facial cleanser I use does have salicylic acid in it (as the last ingredient), so do you recommend leaving it on the face to give it a chance to work?

"Green gables" - Very interesting article, and I don't doubt the milk-acne connection. Seeing as hormones are known to cause acne, putting more hormones into your body would seem like a bad idea. I'm sure some people can drink gallons of it and have no problem but those people are not acne prone! This goes for dairy products in general too of course.

Darthreven - I am with you on the zinc and fish oil supplementation. Even if it isn't helping (and I think it is) there's no harm in taking it anyway. Also I recommend vitamin b5 (Pantothenic acid), that comes in a supplement too. The regimen I don't really want to comment on because I haven't tried it yet.

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Yeah its very frustrating! and yes I have cut out most sugar too due too the reasons you state, I already drink alot of water and that.

With the salicylic acid thing I have managed to find out how to use it best, although I cant at the moment because it dries my skin out and I havent got a clue what moisturiser to use because of the reasons we have already said aha.

Apparently you need to use something that you keep on your face instead of it just been in a face wash because it needs time to work properly. Also if you left the face wash on for ages the other bad ingredients in the face wash would be on your skin longer also and this would cause damage/irritation. Also it must be at the correct ph to work effectively.

Nearly everyone seems to agree that "paulas choice 2% BHA liquid" seems to be the best formulated leave on product with just salicylic acid in and just a few other ingredients that help it penetrate the skin better.

There is a cream and a gel version aswell for dry and normal skin but these seem to contain a lot of other ingredients that could be a problem so the liquid version is considered the best. I have actually bought this but I still have absolutely no clue on a safe moisturiser to use.

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With the salicylic acid thing I have managed to find out how to use it best, although I cant at the moment because it dries my skin out and I havent got a clue what moisturiser to use because of the reasons we have already said aha.

On the regimen part of this site, Dan wrote a bit about what ingredients to look for in a good moisturiser, so maybe have a look for something on the store shelf with those in. Or maybe buy Dan's own moisturiser? Seems a safe option. Unfortunately though, it might well be down to your individual skin as to what the best one will be. For me in the winter I use a thick one, because my skin dries out, but in the summer i use a light one. As of right now I'm using Eucerin DermoPURIFYER Hydrating care which you can get at boots in the UK. Got no complaints.

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I have tried everything under the sun to treat my mild but persistent acne for the past seven years. Things work for awhile, then they stop working. Or it cleared up the majority of my acne but I continued to get pimples here and there. I have now been on The Regimen for three months and my skin is completely acne free AND the tone of my skin is amazingly soft and even! Here is what I do:

Morning: wash with Cetaphil cleanser, treat with Dan's BP, moisturize with Neutrogena Oil-free Moisture for sensitive skin.

Night: wash with Cetaphil cleanser, treat with Dan's BP, apply Dan's AHA

For the first 2 months of the regimen I used Dan's moisturizer instead of the AHA because he said to wait until your skin gets used to everything before adding AHA. My skin got clear prior to the AHA but it wasn't until I added it that the tone of my skin evened out and was super soft and glowing! The AHA is definitely a must!

Hope this helps!

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