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The Best Skincare Routine For Combination Skin

You think dealing with oily or dry skin is bad? Trying dealing with both. At the same time.

Combination skin is a nightmare. I know because I have it.

When I use products for oily skin, I banish the shine only to get drier cheeks. If I opt for richer formulas, my cheeks are happy, but everywhere else it’s breakout galore.

Argh! What’s a girl to do?

After dealing with it for more than a decade now, I figured out some tips and tricks to take good care of combination skin. Here’s how:

Skincare Routine For Combo Skin Cheat Sheet

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How do you recognize combination skin?

First things first. Let’s make sure you really have combination skin. Here are the symptoms:

  • Your t-zone shines brighter than a diamond, but your cheeks dry out and flake like a pie crust.
  • You hope it’ll never happen again, but you know the next breakout is just around the corner.
  • Those pores on your t-zone are getting more and more visible every day.

What causes combination skin?

Oil glands that refuse to cooperate. Seriously.

Those on our t-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) are workhaolics that produce way too much oil than your skin needs. The excess oil clogs up the pores, stretching them out and causing pimples.

Those on our cheeks are lazy. They don’t produce enough sebum (skin’s natural moisturizer). Without it, skin dries out and flakes.

So, how do you treat combination skin?

The key to say “bye bye combination skin” is to find a balance. You need to keep oil production under control on the t-zone without drying out drier areas.

Sadly, this often means using two sets of products. Those for oily skin on oily areas, and those for dry skin on dry areas. I know it’s a pain, but it works:

1. Use a gentle cleanser

Don’t be tempted by harsh cleansers. They don’t shine away for long for long and dry out your drier areas even more.

I like to use a ph-balanced foaming cleanser in the morning to get rid of the little dirt that deposited on my face during the night. They’re usually gentle enough for the entire face.

At night, I opt for cream or oil-based cleansers that melts away makeup in minutes and replenish oil as they strip it away.

Or you can totally go down the two products route and use a foaming cleanser on your oily areas and a cream cleanser on your drier areas.

Best Picks:

  • Corsx low PH Good Morning Gel Cleanser ($11.00): ph 5.5. Available at Sokoglam and YesStyle.
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser ($18.00): available at Dermstore, Look Fantastic, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice

Related: Are Foaming Cleansers Bad For Skin?

2. If You Must Use A Toner…

Personally, I’d skip it, but if you really want one for your combination skin, choose a hydrating formula rich in antioxidants to help fight the premature signs of aging.

Whatever you do, stay away from alcohol-laden toners. They only dry out your skin.

Best Picks:

  • Cosrx Galactomyces Alcohol-Free Toner ($16.00): available at iHerb, Look Fantastic, Sokoglam and Yes Style
  • Paula’s Choice Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner ($24.00): available at Dermstore, Look Fantastic and Paula’s Choice

Related: Do You Really Need A Toner?

3. Exfoliate the right way

Combination skin is the only skin type that would benefit from more than one exfoliating acid.

I’m a huge fan of salicylic acid (BHA) for those oily areas. It gets inside the pores, removing all the excess oil and dead cells that clogging them up. Bye bye pimples and blackheads! Of course, it exfoliates the surface of the skin, too.

On the drier areas, I’d stick to glycolic acid (AHA). It exfoliates the surface of your skin AND boosts hydration.

If you only want to use one, go with salicylic acid. Glycolic won’t do much for your pimples and blackheads. Or, better yet, use an exfoliant that has both. 🙂

  • Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum ($90.00): AHA + BHA. Available at Cult Beauty, Sephora and SpaceNK.
  • Paula’s Choice Daily Pore-Refining Treatment 2% BHA ($33.00): available at Dermstore, Look Fantastic, Paula’s Choice and Selfridges
  • Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment With 5% AHA ($33.00): available at Dermstore, Look Fantastic, Paula’s Choice and Selfridges

Related: AHAs VS BHA: Which One Should You Choose?

4. Use A Hydrating Serum

Hydrating serums are perfect for combination skin. They contain humectants, i.e. moisture magnets that attract moisture from the air into the skin. The most famous members of the family are glycerin and hyaluronic acid.

Humectants are great for combo skin because they hydrate you all over without adding extra oil. You know what that means?

No greasiness. No shine. No breakouts. Just soft, supple skin.

Bonus points if the serum has antioxidants, too.

Best Picks:

  • Niod Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Acid Complex (£25.00): available at Beauty Bay and Cult Beauty.
  • Paula’s Choice Hyaluronic Acid Booster ($46.00): available at Dermstore, Nordstrom, Paula’s Choice and Selfridges

Related: What The Heck Are Humectants And Why Should You Use Them?

5. Use Two Moisturizers

I know, I know, this sucks. But, I find it really is the best recipe for combination skin.

Dry areas need occlusive formulas that can lock in moisture, but those are usually too heavy for oily skin. Oil-free moisturizers work best there.

Oil-free moisturisers are awesome because they contain emollients that act like oil. They’re lock in moisture but without adding more oil to the oily areas.

Best Picks:

  • Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel ($52.00): available at Cult Beauty, Sephora and SpaceNK
  • Paula’s Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturiser With Retinol ($33.00): available at Dermstore, Feel Unique, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice

Related: Oily Skin? Why You Need An Oil-Free Moisturiser

6. Wear Sunscreen

I don’t care what your excuse is, you need sunscreen. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. How else are you going to protect your skin from wrinkles, sun spots, cancer, and all the damage UV rays cause?

Just choose a lightweight one, so you can use it comfortably all over the face, oily t-zone included.

Best Picks:

  • EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47 ($25.00): available at Dermstore and Walmart
  • Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection SPF 50 Sunscreen + WetForce For Sensitive Skin & Children ($42.00): available at Nordstrom and Ulta
  • Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 ($34.00): available at Blue Mercury and Dermstore

7. Use Clay Masks

But only on oily areas. They absorb excess oil, so it doesn’t get trapped in your pores and give you breakouts. Twice a week is enough.

Again (I can’t stress this enough!), avoid dry cheeks. Removing the little oil there only dries them out more.

Best Picks:

  • Elizavecca Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask ($11.25): available at iHerb, Selfridges, Walmart and Yes Style
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Absorbing Mask ($22.00): available at Paula’s Choice

Related:All You Ever Wanted To Know About Bentonite Clay

8. Blot, blot, blot

If your t-zone gets shiny throughout the day, use an oil-blotting sheet to blot the oil away. It does the job quickly without ruining your makeup. Phew!

  • Boscia Green Tea Blotting Paper ($10.00): available at Sephora

Related: The Trick To Keep Oily Skin Shine-Free In Summer

Don’t know how to fit all these products into your skincare routine? Click on the image below to subscribe to my newsletter and receive the “Combination Skin Skincare Routine Cheatsheet.” It tells you the right order for both your AM and PM skincare routine + my fave product recommendations:

Sign up to receive the best skincare routine for combination skin cheat sheet.

How do you care for combination skin? Share your routine, tips and fave products in the comments below.

Take The Guesswork Out Of Skincare Shopping

Get access to the “Pro Skincare Library” for exclusive skincare routine “cheat sheets” and tricks to help you navigate the beauty aisles jungle like a pro and immediately know what to pick off the shelves to achieve the gorgeous skin of your dreams – even when you’re drowning in an endless sea of skincare products.

“Leafy green vegetables and other brightly-colored fruit and vegetables which are rich in antioxidants and nutrients dampen inflammation and improve skin quality (studies have shown acne patients have higher oil production and lower antioxidant levels),” says Dr. Weiser. “Limit intake of dairy products, which can contain hormones and antibiotics that can worsen acne breakouts.” Other skin-boosting superfoods include eggs, nuts, legumes, and quinoa.

10. Drink Plenty of Water

Okay, so drinking your eight glasses isn’t going to magically clear your skin, but Dr. Levin does point out that “drinking water improves your overall health.” Plus, it won’t contribute to your acne struggles like the sugar and caffeine found in sodas and coffee.

11. Have a Cup of Tea

Try sipping spearmint tea. According to Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, dermatologist and founder of Epionce Skincare, having two cups a day could reduce acne by 25%! Dr. Levin explains this is because spearmint tea has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and reduction in testosterone levels in some limited studies. “While it’s unclear how it works, and it’s important to note that there are no standardized studies, it is encouraging data that spearmint may have potential as a natural adjunct treatment for hormonal acne,” she says.

12. Change Your Pillowcases

Unwashed sheets and pillowcases lead to cross-contamination which leads to pimples. Aim to wash your bedding once or twice a week to prevent bacteria from building up and affecting your complexion, suggests Dr. Papantoniou. If that seems overboard, at least aim to wash your pillowcase once a week since that’s where your face rests while you snooze (and dream of flawless skin).

13. Keep Your Phone Screen Clean

Think of how many times a day you touch your phone — that thing gets pretty germy. To stay in the clear, clean your screen daily with an alcohol wipe. And when possible, Dr. Papantoniou recommends using the speaker option or headphones so your phone isn’t resting on your face as often.

14. Wipe Down Your Headphones

Sneaky everyday habits could secretly be doing a number on your skin. Even something as seemingly harmless as wearing over-the-ear headphones could be the culprit to breakouts around your temples and jawline. “This is especially the case when you wear them during and after a workout, or if you keep them on for long periods of time,” says dermatologist Dr. Debra Luftman. “Sweat and moisture collect on and around the headphones, compressing the skin and therefore encouraging bacteria and yeast to multiply,” she says. Gross, but true. Use an anti-bacterial wipe to quickly disinfect your headphones.

15. Stash a Heal + Conceal Stick in Your Locker

If a midday zit pops up, swipe it with concealer loaded with blemish-shrinking ingredients. This way you can cover it up and treat it in one step. ZO Skin Health Offects Correct & Conceal Acne Concealer Stick will do the trick.

16. Try to Keep Your Hands Off Your Face

One of the most basic tips for how to get rid of acne is simply to keep you hands to yourself. Your hands aren’t always clean, and dirt under your fingernails and improper squeezing can cause acne to spread or lead to further infection, Dr. Hammerman says. Plus, popping can lead to pitted scars, which stick around much longer than that pimple would.

17. But If You Must Pop a Pimple, Do It the Right Way

Even though every dermatologist ever will tell you not to pop, we get it: sometimes you just can’t resist squeezing it, especially when it’s ready to blow. So, if you are determined to take matters into your own hands, these are the doctor’s orders on how to go about it: Start with clean hands, use cotton tipped applicators or a comedone extractor, and apply antibiotic ointment post-popping. (Get more tips on how to pop a pimples properly.)

18. Ice Your Acne to Bring the Swelling Down

If you really must do something about your pimple beyond washing your face and spot treating, ice or a cold compress can help reduce inflammation. Wrap an ice cube or the compress in a soft tissue or cloth and apply it to your zit for 20-30 seconds at a time, a few times a day. In case of an emergency (like, prom), you can also see a dermatologist for a cortisone injection, which can help shrink the cyst down quickly in a day or two.

19. Don’t Irritate Your Acne with Toothpaste or Rubbing Alcohol

Sure, we’ve all heard that toothpaste or rubbing alcohol can help dry out a zit, but many DIY treatments aren’t solutions for how to treat acne. In fact, applying toothpaste or rubbing alcohol are more likely to cause irritation and dryness than treat the actual pimple. Instead, stick with topical over-the-counter and prescription spot treatments with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide that are specially made to target pimples, says Dr. Hammerman. For an all-natural spot treatment, she suggests dabbing tea tree oil on the area a few times a day with a cotton ball.

20. Combat Hormonal Acne with Birth Control

Sometimes, your gynecologist can share insight into your acne, especially when it comes to deciding if birth control could help your breakouts. The FDA approves of Estrostep, Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Yaz to combat acne, but the trick is to be patient, as it can take up to four months to start seeing results. “This plan of attack works best when paired with whatever topical treatments you’re already using to treat your acne, like Proactiv, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, etc,” advises dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi.

21. Don’t Overlook Amazing New Technology in the Drugstore Aisle

If saving babysitting money for a year still won’t make a dent in the funds you need to get a fancy laser treatment that will blast away acne scars, don’t be discouraged. Thanks to the geniuses behind drugstore brands like La Roche-Posay, there’s a new class of products that feature smart technology and better-than-ever ingredients to help treat dark marks and acne scarring — at an affordable price. “La-Roche Posay’s Pigmentclar line is unique in the way it combines exfoliating lipohydroxy acid (LHA), phe-resorcinol, and ferulic acid, which are both strong brightening ingredients, all together to form a topical product that’s seriously effective,” says dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Instagram/@gabriellacetrulo

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Tips for Taking Care of Your Skin

Sun and Skin

We all know we need to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Of course, it’s impossible to avoid the sun — who wants to hide indoors when it feels so great to get outside? And the sun’s not all bad, anyway: Sunlight helps our bodies create vitamin D. So follow these tips when you’re outdoors to help manage sun exposure:

  • Wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, even if it’s cloudy or you don’t plan on spending a lot of time outdoors. If you sweat a lot or go swimming, reapply sunscreen every 1½ to 2 hours (even if the bottle says the sunscreen is waterproof).
  • Choose a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Look for the words “broad spectrum protection” or UVA protection in addition to the SPF of 15 or greater. Select a sunscreen that says “nonacnegenic” or “noncomedogenic” on the label to help keep pores clear.
  • The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so reapply sunscreen frequently and take breaks indoors if you can. If your shadow is longer than you are tall, then it’s a safer time to be in the sun (you should still wear sunscreen, though).
  • Apply more sunscreen (with higher SPF) when you’re around reflective surfaces like water, snow, or ice.
  • We all know that the sun can damage skin, but did you know it can contribute to eye problems, too? Protect your face and eyes with a hat and sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection.
  • Some medications, such as prescription acne medications, can increase your sensitivity to the sun (and to tanning beds). So if you’re taking medication, increase your sun protection.
  • If you want the glow of a tan, try faking it with self-tanners. Avoid tanning beds. They still contain some of the same harmful UV rays as the sun.

Cold Sores

Cold sores usually show up as tender blisters on the lips. They are caused by a type of herpes virus (HSV-1, which most often is not sexually transmitted) so they are contagious from person to person. Once you get this virus it stays in your body, meaning you’ll probably get cold sores every now and then throughout your life.

Here are ways you can help prevent cold sores from making an appearance (or reappearance if you’ve had them in the past):

  • Avoid getting cold sores in the first place by not sharing stuff like lip balm, toothbrushes, or drinks with other people who might have cold sores. The virus that causes cold sores is transmitted through the nose (in mucus) and the mouth (in saliva).
  • People who have the virus know that cold sores can flare up from things like too much sun, stress, or being sick. Just one more reason to lather on that suntan lotion, eat well, exercise, and get plenty of sleep!

If you do have a cold sore, here are some tips for keeping yourself comfortable:

  • Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen if the cold sores are painful.
  • Suck on ice pops or cubes to ease pain and keep cold sores cool.
  • Stay away from acidic foods (like oranges, tomatoes, and lemonade) and salty, spicy foods, which can cause irritation.
  • Don’t pick at cold sores while you’re waiting for them to go away. They may bleed or become infected with bacteria or you could spread the virus.

Usually, cold sores go away on their own after a week or two. But if you get them often or they’re a problem, talk to your doctor or dermatologist, who may be able to prescribe medication to alleviate symptoms and shorten the amount of time cold sores last.

Eczema

Eczema is a condition that causes skin to become red, itchy, and dry. If you have eczema, you might notice that you are prone to getting itchy rashes — especially in places like where your elbows and knees bend or on your neck and face. The symptoms of eczema can vary from person to person.

Though you can’t cure eczema forever, you can take steps to prevent it from flaring:

  • Stay away from things like harsh detergents, perfumed soaps, and heavily fragranced lotions that tend to irritate the skin and trigger eczema.
  • Because hot water dries by quick evaporation and over-washing with soap may dry skin, take short, warm showers and baths. If you’re going to have your hands in water for a long time (like when you’re washing dishes or your car), try wearing gloves. Detergent can dry and irritate skin.
  • Soothe your skin with regular applications of a fragrance-free moisturizer to prevent itching and dryness. Creams generally moisturize a bit better and last longer than lotions for most people. Creams work best if applied when the skin is slightly wet, like just after bathing.
  • Be careful which fabrics you wear. Cotton is good because it’s breathable and soft. (But if you are exercising, some of the newer synthetic materials actually keep you drier and are better for you than cotton.) Try to stay away from materials like wool or spandex that may cause irritation or allergic reactions.
  • Keep stress in check. Because stress can lead to eczema flares, try activities like yoga or walking after a long day to keep your stress levels low.
  • If you wear makeup, look for brands that are free of dyes and fragrances that can aggravate eczema.

If you’re having trouble managing your eczema, talk to a dermatologist, who can suggest ways to better control it.

Other Skin Problems

Warts are tiny skin infections caused by viruses of the human papilloma virus (HPV) family. There’s no way to prevent warts from occurring (other than avoiding contact with people who have them). But if you do get them, don’t rub, pick, or scratch them because you can spread the virus and get new warts.

Some over-the-counter medications containing special acids can help get rid of warts, but it’s always a good idea to see your doctor before trying one. If you find warts in your genital area, you should see your doctor, who can recommend the best treatment method for that sensitive area.

Another type of wart-like viral infection is molluscum contagiosum. (It’s not as scary as its name sounds!) Like warts, it can be transmitted through scratching and sexual contact.

Fine white or purplish lines on the skin called stretch marks are pretty common in most teens. Stretch marks are formed when the tissue under your skin is pulled by rapid growth or stretching, like during puberty. Stretch marks usually fade on their own over time. Talk to a dermatologist if you’re concerned about them.

Because our skin is the most visible reflection of what’s going on in our bodies, people equate healthy skin with beauty. But healthy skin is about more than just good looks; it’s essential to our survival. So keep your skin glowing with the right skin care techniques and by eating well and getting lots of exercise.

Reviewed by: Patrice Hyde, MD Date reviewed: June 2014

Tips to take care of acne prone skin

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Do you have acne-prone skin? It is the worst kind of skin and the hardest to take care of. You do not know which product in your routine is causing breakouts, you can’t wear makeup regularly, your skin gets oily too much, sometimes when the weather changes you don’t know how your skin goes from oily to dry and then you need to change your products according to that and so on. So, here are a few tips to take care of your acne-prone skin and I hope they work for you as well as they have worked for me.

  • Cleanse Properly and Effectively: the first step to take care of acne-prone skin is to cleanse properly and to choose the right kind of cleanser. For acne-prone skin, you can use two types of cleansers, first is oil-based so that it removes all the makeup and impurities and the second one is water so that it hydrates your skin properly. Cleanse your face at least two times a day and especially when you feel oil or sweat getting stored on your face. You can also remove the oil on your face using blotting paper. It should always be in your handbag.
  • Avoid Using too much Makeup: try to use as little makeup as you can. Instead of using many products, try replacing them with one product which suits your skin as well as solves the purpose of makeup. Try not to use makeup when you are home or try to use makeup for the least amount of time because as makeup sits on your face, it produces oil on your skin cells and sometimes if you don’t use the right product, makeup also damages your skin cells. So, that is why try using the least amount of makeup products on your skin and for the least amount of time.

Also Read: Things To Keep In Mind To Have A Healthy And Glowing Skin This Season

  • Keep your Skin Hydrated: try to drink as much as water as you can. Drinking water keeps your skin hydrated and keeps your skin glowing. Hydrated skin is also less prone to acne. Try to drink at least 10-12 glasses of water in a day as it is the right amount of water that your body needs to stay hydrated and function properly. Speaking of hydration, you can also keep your skin hydrated by using a water-based moisturizer and cleanser. Drinking water and using the right kind of moisturizer is the key to prevent pimples and acne.
  • Never Pop Your Pimples: no matter how much pain your pimple is causing or no matter how much you want to pop your pimple, control your temptations and don’t try to burst your pimple. When you burst your pimple, the germs and bacteria spread to the neighboring skin and thus it tends to grow more pimples and acne. So, the key line is to control temptations and let that pimple dry out. It will slowly dry and will disappear. Try to avoid products that may burst the pimple and most importantly be gentle on your skin and use gentle skincare routine. One more important step is avoiding the step of scrubbing from your routine.

Also Read: Human Body – A Marvellous Machine

  • Follow a Regular Skincare Routine: don’t change products frequently. Stick to your regular products and follow your basic skincare routine. Try to involve natural products in your skincare or the products that have natural ingredients in them. All in all, choose the right product for your skin. If any product has many bad effects on your skin, stop using it immediately and consult a dermatologist. Sometimes your skin is allergic to certain ingredient, try to find that out and use products which do not contain that ingredient.
  • Moisturize Thoroughly: when you regularly use acne preventing products, sometimes your skin tends to become dry. So, to avoid that situation, you need to moisturize your skin properly. Try to use water-based moisturizers as they hydrate your skin and you can also use matte moisturizers as they don’t make your skin oily and keep your skin moisturized for a long time. Also, always use sunscreen because acne-prone skin is sensitive and reacts to UV rays which can damage your skin cells. Sunscreen provides the necessary protection to your skin and keeps your skin moisturized.

Also Read: Tips For A Healthy Body And Mind

  • Watch Your Pillow Covers: always use clean pillow covers. Try to use satin pillow covers as they also prevent hair damage. Change your pillow covers regularly as sometimes when you sleep, the dirt on the pillow covers stick to your face and thus germs also get transferred causing the pimples and acne to grow. That is why always use clean pillow covers and this applies to your cell phones also. Try to keep your cell phones clean as when you use your cell phone the dirt sticks to your face causing pimples to grow.
  • Detoxify: detoxify your body as much as you can as sometimes your body gets filled with inappropriate toxins. To pass those toxins out of your body, you need to detoxify your system. Detoxification helps your body in numerous ways such as it helps keep your digestive system in proper regulation and thus it keeps regulates your hormones which is one of the causes of the acnes. You can detoxify your body by drinking lukewarm water mixed with honey and lemon after waking up in the morning. This drink detoxifies and cleans your system.

Also Read: Everyday Essentials For Women

  • Use a Toner: Toners are used to treat the open pores. Toners get absorbed in your skin and help you to get an even skin. There are many types of toners with different fragrances available in the market. Use can just pour the toner on a cotton pad or a tissue paper and dab it on your skin and wipe your face with it. This step in your skincare routine needs to be done right after cleansing and it should be done before applying the moisturizer on the skin.

So, These are the few tips that will help you to reduce and prevent your acne from growing and spreading to the other parts of your skin. I wish that they help you to manage the acne-prone skin.

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8 Skincare Routines For Acne To Do Differently, According To A Dermatologist

If you suffer from frequent breakouts, you probably know you have to take extra caution when dealing with your acne-prone skin versus clear skin folks, who can wash their face once and be done. You have to go the extra mile when picking the best cleansers and soaps for acne to use for your bedtime ritual, as opposed to someone whose skincare routine for acne is nonexistent.

Understanding the difference between creating a skincare regiment for acne-prone skin versus one for clear skin is the first step in creating a system that will help heal blemished skin. I reached out to dermatologist Dr. Kally Papantoniou, MD, FAAD, to get to the bottom of the differences between the different skin types.

Dr. Papantoniou told me, “An acne skincare regimen will be centered on these four goals: cleansing, exfoliating, controlling bacteria, and maintaining a healthy skin barrier with good emollients.” She said, “Normal skin provides more flexibility with product types and skincare habits, and revolves around the type of skin you have: oily, dry or combination, or if you are looking to rejuvenate or reverse sun damage.” Dr. Papantoniou was able to give me some insight on what you steps you can take before bed to get rid of acne.

1. Cleanse Deeply — Adding Sulfur To Your Regiment Purifies Pores

Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Masque, $27, Amazon

A sulfur mask will dry out skin and clear blemishes. It also helps prevent future breakouts by using ingredients like eucalyptus oil. The mask will exfoliate your skin, getting rid of dead skin cells and absorbing excess oil which will ultimately help unclog pores. Aloe will smooth the skin and stop over-drying. Use the mask two or three times per week for best results!

2. Never Skip Toning, And Bring Vitamin C Into Your Bedtime Ritual, Too

Art Naturals Vitamin C Hydrating Facial Toner, $13, Amazon

Vitamin C helps prevent pore clogging and does so all while reducing inflammation, which the acne you already have may be causing. A vitamin C toner is a great option, as it goes an extra step in cleansing your skin that your face wash may not do. Toners provide a deeper clean than some cleansers. This one is all-natural and includes witch hazel, so your skin won’t be irritated.

3. Lightly Exfoliate Dead Skin Away

Philosophy Clear Days Ahead Overnight Repair Acne Treatment Pads (60 count), $33, Amazon

Dr. Papantoniou told me that if your roommate is using a cleanser or exfoliating pads with glycolic or salycylic acid, you should definitely test it out. She said, “They provide the added benefit of brightening up your complexion and removing dull dead skin cells.” So, split the cost with your roomie and splurge on a treatment pad that has both glycolic and salicylic acid. Your skin could start to look brighter, and dark spots will begin to fade.

4. Remove Oil From Your Bedtime Routine

EltaMD PM Therapy Facial Moisturizer, $33, Amazon

“If you suffer from acne, you should be looking for oil-free skincare products and make-up,” says Dr. Papantoniou. A moisturizer that is ceramide-rich can help maintain a healthy skin barrier. This moisturizer is specifically designed for nighttime use, as it uses a controlled release of ingredients as you sleep, and its Niacin amide and antioxidants improve skin tone.

5. Use A Spot Treatment With Acne-Fighting Ingredients

Acne Spot Treatment Drying Cream, $16, Amazon

You could try all the acne products in the world on your skin, but if they don’t have the right acne-fighting ingredients, they won’t help. Dr. Papantoniou says to look for ingredients like salicylic acid, zinc, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, retinol, and vitamin C. This spot treatment combines three of those ingredients (salicylic acid, zinc, and sulfur) to not only fight stubborn pimples, but also help clear up dark spots that may be left behind from them.

6. Choose A Cleanser That Works Best For Your Skin

If you have milder skin, you may want to use a gentler cleanser. If you have very oily skin, its important to use a face wash that draws out that oil.

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser, $10, Amazon

For those with normal-oily skin, reach for a cleanser that is gentle and replenishes the skin in one quick step. CeraVe’s foaming cleanser is great because it won’t dry out or irritate your skin. Plus, you can share it with a roommate or partner who may or may not suffer from acne.

Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser, $26, Amazon

If you have have oily-combination skin and suffer from severe acne, a wash that removes excess oil and makeup (without drying out your skin) is what you should be looking for. This one’s conditioning formula (including sunflower seed oil and aloe leaf extract) will balance and calm your sensitive skin.

7. Take Off Makeup Before Bed

Bioderma Sensible H2O Micelle Solution , $12, Amazon

Dr. Papantoniou told me, “If you take the time to really take care of your skin at night, it allows your skin the evening hours to respond and repair during the restorative hours of sleep…Never sleep with make-up.” Removing makeup is important because you don’t want your pores to be clogged overnight, as this is the prime time to help fight acne. Use a solution that will gently cleanse and remove both your face and eye makeup. This one is hypoallergenic and suitable for both sensitive and acne-prone skin.

8. Don’t Just Grab Any Makeup — Non-Comedogenic Is A Must

Bare Escentuals BareMinerals SPF 15, $18-$31, Amazon

While putting on makeup is likely not a part of anyone’s pre-bedtime skin care regiment, it’s still a vital step to fighting acne, and it makes caring for skin come nighttime significantly easier. Dr. Papontoniou said, “You should read labels carefully and check to see that it says non-comedogenic, meaning it does not cause acne or clog pores.” When you’re tackling oily skin and prefer powder to do so, check out this non-comedogenic powder fit for most skin tones and types, with colors ranging from Fair to Golden Dark.

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle’s editorial and sales departments.

Images: Fotolia (1); Amazon (9)

A Simple Skin-Care Routine for Acne-Prone Skin Types

Two equally satisfying things: simple skin-care routines and a blemish-free complexion. Sound far-fetched? It’s not. A daily skin-care routine can help to remove excess oil, keep pores clear and reduce the appearance of imperfections. But with so many products and personalized routines being shared on the internet, there is a plethora of conflicting information out there. Forget what you’ve heard, stopping breakouts doesn’t call for a lengthy or complex skin-care routine. We’re sharing a simple five-step skin-care routine for acne-prone skin types, below.

STEP 1: Cleanse Your Skin

Start your mornings off by washing your face with a cleanser formulated with acne-fighting ingredients, like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, to target your blemishes head-on. According to board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, salicylic acid is “a great keratolytic, which means it helps remove excess dead skin cells from skin’s surface and gently exfoliates clogged pores.”

Try: Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Acne Cleanser Treatment

This foaming, medicated cleanser, formulated with a combination of pore-purifying ingredients, removes leftover traces of dirt and oil. It’s an ideal pick for acne-prone skin as it helps prevent new blemishes from forming while clearing the look of those existing. Use twice daily and rinse well.

STEP 2: Follow With Toner

Toners can help remove oil, fight breakouts or hydrate the skin. Because acne-prone skin is susceptible to breakouts, ensuring every last bit of dirt and grime is effectively whisked away is smart. While toner is definitely not a mandatory skin-care step, it’s worth the extra seconds it takes to use one. In addition to acting as your cleanser’s back-up plan, toners can help balance the skin’s pH levels, reduce excess shine and hydrate the skin.

Try: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution Acne Toner

For an effective, exfoliating acne toner (formulated with salicylic acid and glycolic acid), opt for this coveted product. It helps to remove pore-clogging debris and smooth skin texture, leaving skin feeling refreshed and looking more even.

STEP 3: Apply an Oil-Free Moisturizer

Your acne-prone skin may be particularly oily at any given time, but that’s no excuse to skip moisturizer. All skin types need daily hydration, and acne-prone skin types are no exception. In fact, neglecting this important step can actually make matters worse by tricking your skin into producing more oil to make up for what’s believed to be a loss. What’s more, acne-fighting ingredients can be drying, so if you’re using one in your routine, you especially want to make sure you supply your skin with adequate moisture. When it comes to picking a moisturizer to use, reach for one that’s non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores and oil-free to reduce the risk of looking overly greasy.

Try: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Fluide Oil Free Moisturizer

Hydrate and soothe sensitive skin with this mattifying moisturizer that can help to improve skin’s comfort. After cleansing, apply to your face and your neck every morning and evening.

STEP 4: Wear Sunscreen

Sunscreen and acne-prone skin types don’t have a history of playing nice. Thick sunscreens can often clog pores and lead to even more breakouts, which is one of the reasons why many people skip an application. If that’s the case for you, we beg you to reconsider. Not only can neglecting to wear sunscreen cause skin damage and signs of premature aging, it can also increase your risk of developing skin cancers like melanoma. Plus, many sunscreens today are formulated specifically to keep breakouts at bay.

Try: Vichy Idéal Capital Soleil SPF 50

This sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes, oil-free and non-comedogenic, so you don’t have to worry about clogged pores that can lead to pimples.

STEP 5: Target Blemishes

A large part of ensuring a clear, blemish-free complexion is a good skin-care routine, but there’s more you can do to stop pimples in their tracks. By pairing your acne-prone skin-care routine with targeted acne medications, like an over-the-counter spot treatment, you can help expedite your acne’s demise. Keep in mind that stubborn cases of acne will likely need stronger prescription medication. In those instances, visit your dermatologist for the right recommendation.

Try: AcneFree Terminator 10

This acne spot treatment contains 10% benzoyl peroxide, and will help ease the severity of acne blemishes, whiteheads and blackheads with continued use.

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