Your Acne Routine is Not Working: Here's Why
Photographed by Devin Ricks of Ariana Diccico
By Brady Pitcher
With the explosion of skincare on social media within the past few years, finding skincare products to keep your skin clear, hydrated, and healthy has become easier than ever. It is increasingly simpler to do so without seeking the help of a medical professional. A skincare routine starts for many varied reasons, but the main cause is acne. Colorado Springs Dermatology Clinic states “it is the most common skin condition, affecting roughly 40 to 50 million individuals annually”. Starting a new skincare routine, you may not notice immediate results, leaving you to wonder if your products are really working or if your skin is just bound to have acne in the crazy chaos of our fast-paced world it is good to take a step back and ask ourselves: why isn’t my skincare working? Here are a few things you should consider when you feel like your acne problems are not improving.
Your Products are too Stripping:
Picking out the right skincare products is essential for an effective routine. When you are at the store picking out products, you may feel the need to choose the product with the most acne fighting ingredients and helps to exfoliate and deeply cleanse your skin, but most of the time these products are too stripping for the skin. Pimples are a disruptor of the skin’s barrier. This disrupter leads to not only pimples forming but also issues like dryness and irritation. If we attack the skin with powerful products it is going to strip your skin leading to more acne, more dryness, and more irritation. Instead of using a product like St. Ives Apricot Scrub, which uses copious amounts of harsh ingredients like walnut shell granules, try using a product that has more hydrating ingredients. Some great examples include the CeraVe Salicylic Acid Cleanser, Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, and the COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner.
You are exfoliating your skin too often:
It is no secret that when it comes to acne, exfoliating is your best friend. Although exfoliating is essential to cleanse your pores and reduce acne, doing it too often can have the opposite effect. Exfoliants contain ingredients called actives. Actives are used in skincare products to help treat certain skin problems. Like anything else in life, humans require balance. Athletes being a prime example, if they push your limits too much, they could end up with injuries that need repairing. Our skin requires similar balance, when we use too many exfoliants in our routine, our skin is pushed to its limits which can cause more breakouts and irritation. Dermatologists recommended using exfoliants a maximum of 2 times a week to ensure your skin stays irritation free.
You are not giving your skin the hydration it needs:
A common issue that comes along with acne is oily skin. Trust me, we have all been there. Wiping off the oil on your forehead, using products that are “oil free” and lighter in texture so that our skin does not produce these oils we try to avoid. In reality, this is completely backwards. When we deny our skin the nutrients and hydration it needs, your skin thinks that it needs to produce more oils to protect the skin, leading to the oily skin we so desperately try to avoid. We can simply fix this by incorporating more hydrating products into our routines. The easiest step to do this is the moisturizer stage. For someone who has dryer skin, look for a product that is thicker in texture and packed with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides. For people with more oily skin, look for products with the same ingredients but is lighter in texture. Another place to add more hydration to your skin is by adding a hydrating serum. Hydrating serums are perfect for an acne prone skincare routine because they are light in texture but also deliver the hydration your skin needs. Some notable examples of hydrating products include the Vichy Mineral 89 Hyaluronic acid face serum and Cocokind’s ceramide barrier serum.
You are not being consistent:
One of the biggest rules in skincare is that it takes time to see the results. Many people who are insecure about their acne tend to not use their products long enough to see the benefits. When people do not notice a change in their skin right away, they tend to move on to another product. Not only is this a waste of money, but a waste of your time as well. The golden rule is that it usually takes around a month to start seeing results in your skin. Skincare products cannot change your skin overnight, it is a lengthy process of staying consistent and sticking to a routine that gets you there. Keep in mind that everyone’s skin is different. A product that works for one person may not work for you and that is okay. If you use the product for at least 30 days and see no results, then you can decide to move on to another product.
You are not taking take care your body and mind
Acne can form for many reasons, some of which include diet and stress. Diet and stress take effect on all parts of our lives, and our skin health is one of them. Recent research has shown us that acne heals much slower while a person is under stress. Your diet on the other hand can cause more acne. Foods high in sugar like candies and sodas cause a spike in your blood sugar, leading to more inflammation in your skin. To combat these, try taking steps in your daily routine to reduce these factors. If you are someone who stresses a lot, try doing things to help calm you down and relax. There are many ways to do this, including going for a walk, reading a book, listening to your favorite music, and hanging out with people who make you happy and ease your stresses. When it comes to your diet, try to stay away from foods high in sugar as much as possible. It is not going to kill you to have a delicious dessert occasionally. But try to keep most of your diet healthy, full of foods that are going to nourish your body. Nutrition and peace of mind are the foundational pieces of a happy mind and body so making sure your diet is mostly clean, and you have a healthy balance of work and pleasure is essential to keeping your skin clear.
Finally, you are not seeing a medical professional
Over the counter products and online advice can only take you so far. If you have tried all the different ways listed above to clear up your skin, and they have not worked, try seeing a dermatologist. Medical professionals, like dermatologists or aestheticians, have a higher knowledge of skin concerns like acne and the many ways to treat it. They also can provide stronger acne medications for those who suffer with severe acne. For those who have tried all they can to clear their acne, and it still will not go away, seeing a dermatologist may be best for you. Going to an aesthetician for facials once a month can also help clear your skin, as they can develop a custom routine that fits your skincare needs. Facials are great for people who have mild acne because they serve as a routine checkup. Overall, there are many different courses of action to take when dealing with acne but seeing a medical professional can put you on the fastest track for acne free skin.