Whether you have adult acne or you’re a teenager with your first bout of breakouts, getting your skin under control can feel like an exasperating journey. We’re here to help end that frustration, armed with the facts about what triggers acne, plus helpful tips for all kinds of blemishes.

Causes of Acne

Acne is most commonly triggered by an imbalance attributed to excessive oil production that builds up in the pores’ lining. When the pores are unable to release all the oil that is being produced, it begins to clog. As the clog gets mixed together with dead skin, it results in a thick, waxy accumulation of acne-triggering substances that eventually becomes a pimple. 

There are also other factors that contribute to the conditions for acne to thrive, but research has shown that a skincare routine of a gentle cleanser, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide is our skin’s most effective and proven first line of defence against acne.

How to Get Rid of Acne Breakouts

Step 1: Wash your face, but don’t overdo it. Many cleansers geared toward acne treatment contain harsh, irritating ingredients that make breakouts more inflamed and leave your skin feeling dehydrated. The key is to use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser that strikes the right balance between removing excess oil, makeup, and other pore-clogging debris without leaving your skin stripped dry. Wash once in the morning and again at night.

Step 2: Unclog pores with salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a proven exfoliator that not only gets rid of built-up dead skin on the surface, it also penetrates deeper to unclog pores to dramatically reduce breakouts. Salicylic acid has natural soothing properties that diminish the redness and irritation that often accompanies blemishes. Depending on the severity of your acne, use an exfoliating solution with salicylic acid once or twice daily.

Step 3: Apply treatments preventatively. A common mistake is waiting to spot treat a pimple once it has surfaced. A more effective method is to consistently apply acne-fighting treatments to your breakout-prone areas to stop blemishes from forming in the first place. For best results, incorporate an acne treatment with benzoyl peroxide into your daily skincare routine to squelch existing pimples and prevent future acne breakouts.

Keep in mind that sun protection is essential as well. UV damage impedes your skin’s ability to heal, which makes acne breakouts and the marks they leave behind linger longer. While old school sunscreens used to feel thick, heavy, and occlusive, today’s best sunscreens for acne-prone skin have non-greasy, featherlight formulas, so you can get the protection you need without the risk of clogged pores.

Acne Treatments for Body

The same principles for facial acne apply to the body. Do avoid bar soaps that leave a pore-clogging residue on your skin which can lead to acne breakouts on the chest and back (bacne). Instead, opt for a water-soluble body wash that rinses cleanly while whisking impurities away. Follow up with a salicylic acid acne body spray which allows you to treat hard-to-reach areas like your back. 

Learn more about acne.

Shop our range of effective acne treatment products here.  

References for this information 

Molecules, August 2016, ePublication
Clinical Dermatology, September 2004, pages 360-366
StatPearls, January 2020, ePublication
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal, April 2011, pages 430-435
Experimental Dermatology, July 2019, pages 786-794
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, December 2012, pages 357-364
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, August 2012, pages 3-17

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