Beauty for beginners: Dealing with acne-prone skin

If you're a makeup novice, it's easy to overdo it and wind up looking like, shall we say, a woman of ill repute. Or Bozo the clown.

The best way to not overdo your makeup is to feel comfortable enough in your skin that you don't have the urge to whip up a pancake and serve it on your face. If you, like me, have dealt with breakouts, the urge to hide ALL THE SKIN is familiar.

What works for me, and might for you:

Deep cleansing. Before I bought my Clarisonic, I tried the Olay spinning brush.  It was a pretty nice option for daily exfoliation, with soft bristles and a small shape that I preferred for getting into tricky areas like around the nose. That said, I know of no person who has regretted purchasing a Clarisonic. It is stupid expensive, with an ongoing cost to replace the brush heads, but when I don't use it for a few days, my skin gets dull and ziteous. Buy a spinning or sonic face brush in whatever price range works for you. Your skin will be transformed. Any cleanser you use, even the most plain drugstore formula, will work much better, and moisturizer will absorb into your skin like never before.

Cleansing before deep cleansing. On heavier makeup days, I try to wash or at least wipe the makeup off with a baby wipe before I get the Clarisonic going. I find that getting a good amount of the gunk that's on top of your skin off will help your cleanser/brush/washcloth/whatever reach deeper to get rid of the impurities in the skin.

Lush face masks. Brazened Honey is my holy grail. The others I've tried are OK, but they don't make my face sing hymns. They are inexpensive, and you can get more than the alleged three uses from one tub. Incorporating face masks into your routine is excellent for when your daily routine isn't doing enough.

Moisture. Moisture! Scaly pimples = gross coverage, with foundation getting caught in little patchy crevices and every pore looking like a gaping crater. Plus, moisturizing with something light that won't clog your pores will keep your skin from overproducing sebum, which leads to breakouts. (Check out this xoVain article for a more articulate scientific explanation.) I'm loving the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel because it melts into the skin. All women can benefit from a hydrating serum that doesn't sit greasily atop the skin, and then combine that with a moisturizer that addresses your skin type needs — remember that it's possible to have skin that's dry AND acne-prone, so experiment to find what your skin needs most.

Also, remember that while all you see are your breakouts, a greater percentage of your skin is likely perfect and deserves just as much care and attention as your pimples. So MOISTURIZE!

Skipping unnecessary steps. I've never understood toner. It doesn't do anything but dry out my skin. Just because something comes in a nice little kit with other products doesn't mean you have to use every step in a regimen if it doesn't work for you. 

Switching between salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. My skin is a fickle brat about medication, and will stop responding to active ingredients. So I keep multiple options ready to try to reason with my complexion.

Cortisone shot. Here's an example of me being a moron. I once got the most abominable cystic pimple on my chin. I'd never had one of those before, and this was so giant, red and painful that I went to the urgent care center for antibiotics. It helped it go down a bit, but for the next year — yes, year — I spent so much money on medication and concealers and all sorts of crap because the evil creature would not go away completely. I'd whine and cry and complain that my face was ruined forever. Then I FINALLY went to a dermatologist, got a cortisone shot, and the nightmare was over within a week. The shot didn't hurt and took seconds. Suck it up and pay the $120 for a shot if you have the worst pimple of your life, because it might not go away on its own.

One thing that doesn't work: playing dermatologist. This is hand-in-hand with the above paragraph. I get post-acne hyperpigmentation. I've messed around with drugstore bleaching creams to lighten the dark spots, and they did nothing but cause noticeably lighter spots that draw more attention to the hyperpigmentation. The moral of the story: take care of the basics of skincare and consult the pros for your more perplexing concerns.

Focus on your canvas, and our future makeup lessons will be a delight!

1 comment :

  1. Actually a naturopathic doctor told me toners closes and tightns the pores, and it should be used before mosturizing, cause mosturizers cause us to produce more oils.. and the proxydes and thos stuff, dries out our skin then produces more oil cause our body tells us to produce more oils couse now we have dry skin...dont get it? sorry, I'm not really good at explaining stuff :)