Severe Acne

The fight against acne is often an uphill battle, especially if you have stubborn to severe acne. But, thankfully, for most people, even severe acne can be improved with skincare products made for the treatment of acne.

We’re proud to say our Paula’s Choice Skincare CLEAR Regular and CLEAR Extra lines areis an excellent placesplace to start if you experience mild to severe acne breakouts. The CLEAR systems (both the regular and extra strength) are formulated around two superstar ingredients that research has shown are the best way to help diminish acne: salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.

Both products—regular and extra strength—are also formulated to be extremely gentle: No irritating ingredients allowed, because that would only make skin worse! Rather, our CLEAR products nourish skin with soothing ingredients that have proven benefits when it comes to diminishing the look of redness and sensitivity. After all, acne is red, and anything that makes skin redder is not a good idea.

Must-Know Adult Acne Tips

Following are essential tips you must know if you want to improve any type of acne, including stubborn to severe acne:

  • Keep your skincare routine as simple as possible and follow it religiously. (It takes patience and consistency to improve breakouts.)
  • Use a gentle, but effective, water-soluble cleanser twice daily, with a soft washcloth for extra cleansing. (Drying, harsh cleansers, many cleansing brushes, and scrubs only make matters worse.)
  • Looking for a new face wash? Avoid bar cleansers even if they claim to be soap-free. (The ingredients that keep bar soap in bar form can clog pores.)
  • Once or twice a day, use a product with salicylic acid (BHA), such as facial cleansers or face washes suitable for acne. This will help diminish the appearance of redness, gently exfoliate the skin’s surface and inside the pore to improve oil flow, and improve skin texture. Paula’s Choice Skincare CLEAR Line has two options for you to consider.
  • For stubborn to severe acne, use a BHA exfoliant twice per day, morning and evening.
  • Apply a product containing benzoyl peroxide to disrupt the causes of acne, but be sure the benzoyl peroxide product you choose contains no irritants such as menthol or denatured alcohol, as both increase redness and inflammation, making everything worse. Paula's Choice Skincare CLEAR line offers two benzoyl peroxide – based solutions for you to try.
  • If you have stubborn to severe acne, be sure to use the benzoyl peroxide–based product twice per day, morning and evening, after applying the BHA exfoliant.
  • Never use thick moisturizers (especially creams) in areas where any type of acne occurs, as they can clog pores. Instead, stick with lightweight options with liquid, gel, or serum/lotion textures. If you have both acne and dry skin, we have solutions in our articles.

Painful Pimples Or Cystic Acne?

There are a few types of acne, with the most severe form of acne being cystic acne. Cystic acne can occur along with mild to moderate acne. Surprisingly, most research indicates that it is caused by the same factors as mild to moderate acne, but cystic acne lesions are far more painful, larger, and more damaging to skin. If you are wondering if you have this type of acne, here are some of the signs:

  • Lesions are usually felt beneath the skin before they become visible.
  • It appears on the surface as raised, swollen, red pimples that also extend deep under the skin.
  • Lesions usually don’t have a “whitehead” showing, although sometimes they do. No one knows why this occurs only sometimes.
  • These “pimples” are almost always painful to the touch, or even when not touched—these bumps just plain hurt!
  • It presents a high risk of scarring, especially if left untreated or if improperly treated.

If you’ve been suffering from painful pimples, you might want to consult a dermatologist to determine if cystic acne treatment is needed. This is because over-the-counter anti-acne products usually are not enough. Especially if you have acne and some cystic acne, you can ask your doctor if salicylic acid- and benzoyl peroxide–based products are a good place for you to start. After you’ve tried these options, you and your dermatologist can determine if prescription options are the next step to help you achieve the results you want for your cystic acne, when used with a great anti-acne skincare routine. 

The road to recovery for severe acne may be a long and winding one. With the right treatment options and anti-acne products, however, having blemish-free, clear skin will be well within your reach. 

Learn more how to get rid of cystic acne quickly.about the types of acne and solutions here.

Shop Paula’s Choice globally loved range of anti-acne skincare.

References for this information:

Clinics in Dermatology, March–April 2017, pages 173–178
Journal of Infection and Chemotherapy, June 2016, pages 426–429
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, December 2012, issue 6, pages 357–364