Managing Acne – Ingredients, Products and Practices

Many people with acne-prone skin have used skincare products hoping it would elevate their skin concerns. Expectations may start out high, but often, too many of them end up in disappointment. Especially when the products worsen their skin conditions either immediately or shortly after using them.

The key question then is how can you identify which products will cause your skin to break out with pimples or blackheads and which ones can help? To help you save some time and money, we collated a few details and ingredients to look out for and why they may be good or bad for your skin. Read on to find out more.

What is “Non-Comedogenic” and Does it Help?

Firstly, we should start with a big disclaimer. Commonly seen labels like "non-comedogenic" or "non-acnegenic" are outdated and not the most useful. These terms were coined back in 1972 under test conditions that are no longer applicable. There are also no approved authorities that provide definitions for those terms and how products should be regulated or tested to earn that claim. 

Hence, like most of the beauty advice from the 1970s – such as tanning trends, anti-sunscreen agendas, and the use of lemon juice for freckles – we feel it is time to retire this whole concept of "non-comedogenic” as it is not backed by data research to treat pimples or blemishes and may be very misleading. Trust us, we’ve been through the bad breakouts that resulted from using these “non-comedogenic” products.

Healthy Guidelines to Shop the Right Products

Now that that is out of the way, here are a few tips that will help you initiate the process of finding the right products. While not everyone’s skin is the same, following these general guidelines may just lower the possibility of getting blemishes and clogged pores:

1. On Textures 

  • Try to avoid products with thick, overly creamy textures, or any products that come in a stick form. The ingredients used to formulate products with such textures are more likely to clog pores, creating a perfect environment for blemishes to take root.
  • Oils of any kind do not actually clog pores, but they do make your skin feel oily and heavy. That adds to the excess sebum your skin already produces, thus exacerbating the environment that leads to more blemishes.
  • Avoid abrasive scrubs or stiff-bristled cleansing brushes. These cause micro-fissures in skin, hampering its ability to defend itself against the ravages of acne while potentially triggering more breakouts at the same time.

2. Ingredients

  • Be wary of products that contain any kind of harsh or skin-aggravating ingredients as they will not only make skin dry, flaky, tight, and red, but also inadvertently encourage more sebum production inside the pore by stripping the skin of natural oils. This list of ingredients will include SD or denatured alcohol, menthol, peppermint, eucalyptus, camphor, lemon, grapefruit, or lime, as well as natural or synthetic fragrances.
  • Active ingredients that promote skin-renewing benefits have to be quickly absorbed into the skin, thus, gels, light serums, liquids, or thin, fluid lotions are the textures of products you should be using more of as they glide on smoothly and are easily absorbed.

Star Ingredients to Fight Clogged Pores

If you are struggling with breakouts and clogged pores, then you absolutely should start trying skincare products that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid (BHA). These two ingredients are the gold-standard ingredients for mild to moderate acne and breakout prone skin. Decades of research has proven how brilliant they are for diminishing breakouts and the residual redness or clogged pores. Considered the first line of defence against acne, check out our range of AHA and BHA products that can help you get one step closer to clear skin and reduce pimples.

After all, while these ingredients are truly amazing for skin, if the product’s formulation also contains the skin-aggravating ingredients mentioned above, then it may still trigger more breakouts, which is just the opposite of the desired effect, so do keep a lookout and shop from trusted brands.

The Issue on Sunscreens

As much as we know, the uncomfortable feeling of greasy sunscreen may also be the reason for more pimples, there is just no way around it. Even if you are battling breakouts, you still need to apply sunscreen daily to minimise sun damage, reduce the risk of early signs of ageing, and prevent skin cancer. The frustrating concern is that all sunscreen ingredients, whether pure minerals or synthetics, can trigger breakouts. Furthermore, the ingredients and formulation that keeps the sunscreen’s active ingredients together can also be tricky for acne-prone skin.

A possible resolution is to do what Paula does and use a foundation with a coverage of SPF 30 or greater. If you decide to go this route, then just like any sunscreen, you must apply it liberally. Unless you enjoy full-coverage makeup, this wouldn’t be the best option for you. Hence, we offer an alternative of layering a sheer application of foundation with SPF over your daytime moisturizer with sunscreen.

Another option is to use the most effective, lightest-weight sunscreen you can find. It will take much experimentation and many trials to find the one that feels best on your skin, but you can start by giving our CLEAR Ultra-Light Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 30+ a go.

Patience is Everything

Nothing of high value comes easy and it may take a lot of work and time until you find products that work for your skin type. However, patience is everything. This is especially so for those who tend to breakout, get clogged pores, and struggle with oily skin. Following our recommendations and guidelines may help a great deal, but it also takes effort on your end to find the ideal products for your specific skin type, concerns, and personal preferences.

Learn more about acne and find out more ways to deal with it on Paula’s Choice Singapore’s website. Whether you wish to find your new favourite mask to fight pimples or products that can treat body acne, we have you sorted. If this has gotten you curious about our line of products and you would like to get a feel of them, drop by our retail store outlets to have a look or contact our helpful crew of representatives for more information.

Shop award winning anti- acne skincare from Paula’s Choice.

References for this information:

Journal of Dermatological, March 2016, supplemental, pages s4-13
Journal of Drugs Dermatology, January 2016, issue 1, supplemental, pages s7-10
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, March 2006, pages 507-512
Archives of Dermatology, December 1972, issue 6, pages 843-850

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