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Are you constantly trying new skincare products in hopes that they help clear up your acne? Does dealing with acne leave you frustrated and downright broke? Is your skincare routine for clearing acne just simply not working?
You scour the skincare aisles for the next acne fighting product to try in hopes that it finally works. But with the thousands of products that claim to treat acne, how the heck do you know which products to try? They all seem the same!
I personally have created this skincare routine for acne-prone sensitive skin because that’s what I have, but the steps will all be the same no matter what skin type you have. This skincare routine will work for hormonal acne, oily, acne prone skin and even dry skin.
I’ve included product recommendations for every skin type, so be sure to scroll through all the products!
If you’re wanting to learn how to take care of your acne prone skin, then keep on reading for the ultimate (but simple!) acne-prone skincare routine.
Skincare Routine For Clearing Acne
When it comes to a simple and easy skincare routine for clearing up acne, there are really only 3 key steps you must have. Sure, you can add extras in like serums or masks, but if you want the most basic and effective routine, make sure you have a gentle cleanser, a good acne treatment and a great moisturizer. That’s it!
1. A Gentle Cleanser
Using a gentle cleanser is key in an acne fighting skincare routine. Many people gravitate towards cleansers tailored to fight acne, but what they don’t realize is many of those cleansers actually have ingredients in them that can make acne worse.
These irritating ingredients will strip and irritate your skin and lead to even more acne.
When it comes to acne, gentle is better. You need to avoid any kind of irritating ingredient like sulfates, fragrance, essential oils or alcohol. Stick with a basic, sulfate and fragrance free cleanser like these:
2. Acne Treatment
Don’t make it complicated here, you only need one maybe two products targeted at fighting acne. These treatments should be the only products with active ingredients in them. Otherwise, you risk over-exfoliating and irritating your skin.
Here are some great ingredients to look for in acne treatments:
- Salicylic acid
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Azelaic Acid
- AHA’s (Glycolic acid, Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid)
One of the things that makes creating a skincare routine for acne so difficult is that there are so many ingredient options available, it’s hard to know which one to pick. What really helps acne? What products get rid of acne? What ingredients should I look for?
In general, everyone can benefit from a retinoid like retinol or adapalene. Retinoids can help with all types of acne, whether it’s inflammatory (cystic, pustules) or non-inflammatory (close comedones, blackheads).
If you’d like to start using a retinol, check out my guide on how to use retinols correctly so that you don’t further irritate and damage your skin (which leads to more acne!).
If you have sensitive skin, azelaic acid, mandelic and lactic acids are great options for treating acne on sensitive skin.
When you’re trying to get clear skin, a good moisturizer is so important! Many people think that if their skin is oily or breakout-prone, they don’t need a moisturizer, but that’s completely false! If anything, a moisturizer for acne-prone and oily skin is one of the most important steps in your skincare routine.
Acne products can be drying and irritating, so you need to replace that moisture in your skin, otherwise your skin will not be happy. And if your skin is not happy, it can lead to more acne and extra oil production. Anytime you’re creating a skincare routine for oily acne-prone skin, you MUST have a good moisturizer.
Skincare Routine Steps For Clearing Acne
Now that we’ve gone over the basic skincare products for acne, now how the heck do you create a skincare routine for acne? I’m going to show you how to layer your skincare and order your skincare products the right way so that your acne routine works best.
Morning Skincare Routine For Acne
1. Cleanse/Splash With Water
Most people think they have to cleanse twice a day, but honestly, most people can get by with only cleansing at night! In fact, many people find their skin improves after stopping their morning cleanse.
I personally stopped my morning cleanse years ago and haven’t looked back. My skin is less oily, acne-free and feels and looks better because I’m no longer over-cleansing and stripping my skin.
All I do in the morning now is splash my face with water and continue on with my routine!
However some people do still need a cleanser in the morning, particularly if you have very oily skin. If not, you’re probably good to stop cleansing in the morning.
2. Treatment (optional)
This step is optional, depending on what acne treatments you are using. Some acne treatments, like retinoids should be used only at night. Some people also prefer to split up their treatments. For example, you could use a BHA in the morning and azelaic acid at night.
Finally, you always need to moisturize day and night! No exceptions! I don’t care if you have the oiliest skin in the world, you still need to moisturize! Find a good moisturizer tailored to your skin type and use it 2x a day.
Not only does moisturizing help your skin barrier stay healthy and strong, it can actually help acne.
4. Sunscreen (optional)
Yes, I know I said sunscreen is optional. But hear me out. I honestly think the sunscreen bandwagon has gotten over-the-top and ridiculous. I know everyone says you need sunscreen all the time, even indoors and even in the winter! But, come on, if I am outside for maybe five minutes, it’s not going to kill me.
Now don’t get me wrong, I always wear sunscreen when I will be out in the sun for a while. But right now, I’m working from home and the only time I’m outside for more than a minute, I’m standing on my covered porch waiting for my dog to come back inside. I’ll be fine without sunscreen.
If you don’t feel the same way, then go ahead and wear your sunscreen! You do you, girlie. It’s a personal opinion.
Anyway, rant over, wear sunscreen if ya wanna, ok?
Evening Skincare Routine For Acne
If you’re wearing makeup or sunscreen (or both) you have to double cleanse! No question about it. The first cleanser (usually oil based) will dissolve any makeup and sunscreen and the second cleanser will actually cleanse your skin and remove any leftover dirt, oil, etc.
Here is where you would use your acne treatments at night! Generally acne treatments will always go after cleansing because they have active ingredients in them, so the work best on clean skin without any other product.
If you use a retinol or AHA, always use them at night because they can increase your sensitivity to the sun, and retinols will degrade in light, so they won’t be as effective!
Finally, add your moisturizer on top and you’re done! You can use the same day moisturizer, or a different one. Many people like to use a heavier moisturizer at night, especially if using drying acne products like retinol.
A Super Simple Skincare Routine For Acne
When I say simple, I mean simple. This is a bear-bones skincare routine for acne. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be effective! I personally saw a huge difference in my skin when I stopped using so many products. Just stick to the basics!
These steps will work for sensitive skin, oily skin, really any skin type that struggles with acne. The only thing that will change is the products you use! Make sure you’re using skincare products tailored to your skin type. For example, don’t use a gel moisturizer formulated for oily skin if you have super dry skin.
This simple acne routine will definitely help you be able to nourish your skin and clear up acne without spending a ton of money and time on skincare.