If you’re prone to pimples, the right acne skincare routine can really help. Learn how to care for your skin so you can put your best face forward.

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The Best Skincare Routine For Acne-Prone Skin

Your current skincare routine is no longer cutting it with your acne-prone skin. In fact, you think it could be making things worse. If you're ready to switch up your regimen in pursuit of clearer-looking skin, try the acne skincare routine below.

Table Of Contents

Signs Of Acne-Prone Skin

A woman with acne-prone skin

Not everyone has acne-prone skin. If you're not sure if you do, look out for a few telltale signs:

  • Excessively oily skin (especially in the T-zone)
  • Frequent breakouts
  • Clogged pores and blackheads
  • Chronic redness
  • Large pores

If your skin exhibits any of these symptoms, it may be acne-prone. While no one likes to hear that they're more likely to get pimples, being aware of your skin type can help you take the best care of it.

Once you’ve identified that your skin is acne-prone, use the routine in this article to keep breakouts at bay and give your skin some much-needed TLC.

Goals For Your Skincare Routine

Of course, switching how you care for your face isn't a magic wand. You likely won't notice changes in your acne overnight. But in time, you should accomplish these four things.

1) Remove Excess Oil

Unwanted shine can make you look and feel greasy. A proper acne skincare routine can help remove excess oil without over-drying your skin.

2) Keep Your Face Clean

A woman washing her face

Dirt and bacteria can easily clog your pores, leading to breakouts. Keeping your face clean is a primary goal of any skincare routine. But for acne-prone skin, this step is even more critical.

3) Treat Existing Acne

To experience more good skin days, you must treat any existing acne. Treatments vary depending on the severity of your breakouts, so we'll go into more detail below.

4) Prevent Future Breakouts

Finally, your acne skincare routine would only be complete with a plan to prevent future breakouts. Otherwise, you'll be right back where you started before you know it. And getting stuck in what seems like a never-ending cycle of pimples and treatment is frustrating!

The Best Acne Skincare Routine

Now that you know what to aim for, let’s get started. Here are six steps to include in your acne-fighting skincare routine.

1) Choose Your Products Carefully

The worst thing you can do for your skin is buy and use any and all skincare products that catch your eye. Not all products are created equal, especially when dealing with acne-prone skin.

Instead, read the labels to see what you're slathering on your body or face. Then, look for products specifically designed for acne-prone skin. Ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can help clear pores and reduce breakouts.

You'll also want to avoid products with fragrances, dyes, and oils that can irritate or clog pores. These can make breakouts worse.

2) Wash Gently

Clean your skin twice daily with a gentle, non-irritating cleanser, like our Sensitive Skin Moisturizing Body Wash. The goal is to remove dirt and other debris without harshly scrubbing or drying out your skin.

When washing, make sure you're using lukewarm water, not hot. Hot water can strip away your skin's natural oils and lead to irritation. And regardless of how tempting it may be, resist the urge to scrub with a washcloth or loofah.

You cannot scrub away pimples. But it’s possible to damage your skin and worsen breakouts by being too rough. Instead, use the tips of your fingers and a light, circular motion as you clean.

3) Spot Treat

Young woman applying spot treatment as part of her acne skincare routine

Once your face is clean, it's time to target any existing breakouts. Spot treatments can help clear up acne faster.

Look for products containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. You’ll find several options available over the counter if you don't need a super strong treatment. However, if your acne is severe, you may need a prescription-strength product from your dermatologist.

Apply the spot treatment to individual pimples and blackheads, not your entire face. Also, be careful around your mouth or eyes, as the skin in these areas is more delicate.

And remember that it takes time to see results, so be patient!

4) Apply A Good Moisturizer

When you think of acne-prone skin, the last thing on your mind is probably moisturizing. But even if you have oily skin or active breakouts, keeping your face hydrated is essential. Choose a product specifically designed for acne-prone skin to avoid irritation and pore-clogging.

You'll want to apply your moisturizer at least once each day after cleansing. And if your skin seems extra dry, don't be afraid to use a bit more than usual.

5) Be Sun-Smart

While a little bit of sunshine is healthy, it’s easy to get too much sun quickly. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin and worsen any existing acne.

That’s why sunscreen is essential for acne-prone skin. Choose a broad-spectrum product to protect against UVA and UVB rays.. While comparing products, look for a formula that is lightweight and non-comedogenic so it won't clog your pores.

Then, use these tips to ensure your sunscreen is applied correctly:

  • Apply daily (even on cloudy days), and reapply every two hours.
  • Cover any exposed areas of your skin, not just your face.
  • Choose a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher for the best protection.
  • If you're going in the water, look for a water-resistant formula.

6) Be Proactive

You are not a victim of your skin type. Little tweaks to your everyday routine can help you take control of breakouts and get the clearer-looking skin you deserve.

The key is to be proactive and stick with a consistent skincare routine. Here are three more things to try to reduce breakouts:

Keep Your Hair Off Your Face

A woman putting her hair into a ponytail

Your hair contains natural oils that can lead to breakouts. So, when possible, keep hair off your face, especially when it's oily. Also, get in the habit of pulling back your hair when exercising or sleeping so it doesn't touch your skin.

Wash Your Bedding

Dirt and oil accumulate quickly on pillowcases and sheets. That's why you should wash your bedding at least once a week.

When tossing your linens into the washing machine, use hot water instead of cool. This helps reduce bacteria and any oils built up on your sheets.

Avoid Acne Triggers

Like many skin conditions, certain foods and products often trigger acne. Sometimes, stress and hormone levels can even play a role. Avoiding your triggers can help keep your skin looking clearer.

To help with this, pay close attention to what you put in your body as well as on it. Some studies have shown possible links between the food you eat and breakouts.

For example, you may want to avoid processed and fried foods, dairy, sugar, and greasy products. These can lead to an increased risk of breakouts. But before you make any significant dietary changes, a visit with your doctor is always wise.

And, if you're often feeling stressed, try to find natural ways to relax. This could be anything from meditation, yoga, and listening to music to taking a warm bath.

When To See A Dermatologist

A dermatologist examining a patient’s back with a magnifying glass

If your skin doesn't respond to these tips, it's best to see a dermatologist. They can offer personalized advice and create a tailored treatment plan for you.

A dermatologist will note what type of acne you're currently dealing with. They can also verify that your condition is acne, not a look-alike condition, such as perioral dermatitis or acne inversa.

While at the doctor, you'll want to share your current skincare routine. Your provider may suggest using different products with ingredients specifically targeted for your skin type.

Depending on the severity of your acne, you may also receive a prescription for a topical solution or oral medication. And if you're dealing with hard-to-treat acne, your doctor may recommend in-office treatments, such as light therapy or a corticosteroid injection.

Consistency With Your Acne Skincare Routine Is Key

A young woman applying face cream as a part of her acne skincare routine

Now that you know the basics of an acne skincare routine, it's time to commit. Keep up with your routine consistently, and over time, you should see improved skin.

To help you reach your goal, remember to switch to skincare products that support your journey toward better skin days. The gentle formula of our Sensitive Skin Moisturizing Body Wash makes it a helpful addition to your routine.

But no matter what products you use, you don't have to let acne dictate how you feel about yourself. You can achieve clearer-looking skin with a little effort and determination!


American Academy of Dermatology Association
Environmental Protection Agency
University of Michigan University Health Service

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