There are pros and cons when it comes to using tried and true acne products like salicylic acid, sulphur, benzoyl peroxide, and retinol. The benefits are obvious, so let’s discuss some of the issues we come across when implementing these products in our regimen. Most acne-fighting ingredients work by absorbing excess oil, detoxifying the skin, killing unwanted bacteria and exfoliating away the dead skin cells that can potentially clog pores. As a result (and more often than not) the skin’s barrier becomes compromised: dehydrated, irritated and sensitized.
When your skin barrier is in a compromised state, expect nothing to go as planned. Your skin is an organ, and just like the rest of your organs, it requires proper nutrients in order to function properly. Those functions include secreting oil, cell turnover, retaining water, and healing, to name a few. To combat those side effects and give your skin what it needs, incorporating products that reduce inflammation, increase hydration, and protect the skin’s barrier from TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss) is essential.
No matter the cause of your breakouts — whether it’s stress-related, bacterial or cystic — there are 5 ingredients you shouldn’t overlook if you want to fight acne while protecting your skin barrier. Read along to discover potential game changers for your breakout-prone skin.
Breakouts are caused by an overproduction of sebum, which clogs pores. If you are excessively trying to dry out the oil in your skin, be careful: you may be stripping water from your skin as well. Once water has evaporated from your pores (AKA dehydration), oil will harden and stay put! Using topical products with hyaluronic acid will help retain a healthy oil-to-water balance in your skin. At Facile, we love PCA Skin Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum for all day maximum hydration.
Ceramides are known for their powerful calming and healing properties. They’re usually marketed toward more sensitive skin types, but I’m here to tell you that ceramides are for all of us! These essential lipids make up a large portion of our skin’s barrier, aiding in moisture retention. They’re an ideal ingredient to incorporate into your regimen, especially if you’re using acne-fighting products on a regular basis. My go-to is Elta MD PM Therapy Facial Moisturizer: it contains ceramides, niacinamide, and hydrolyzed rice protein to help build and strengthen the epidermis.
I know how controversial this is, but oily skin types really can benefit from facial oils. There are so many of them on the market today, so it’s important to know which one is suitable for your skin. Typically, oily or breakout-prone skin should seek a dry oil, which is one that absorbs easily and makes skin feel soft, not oily. Added plant extracts can have natural healing and anti-inflammatory properties as well. Herbivore’s Lapis Facial Oil is a cult favorite at Facile, and works wonders on irritated breakouts. It contains blue tansy which helps reduce redness and balance sebum production. And might I mention: it smells divine (like sweet herbs!).
If you’re experiencing any type of redness caused by inflamed acne, niacinamide (AKA vitamin B3) is your new best friend. Clearskin Moisturizer and Vitamin B3 Brightening Serum by PCA Skin both have high concentrations of niacinamide.
When it comes to choosing a sunscreen for breakout-prone skin types, I always recommend an SPF product that contains zinc oxide. Zinc has anti-inflammatory properties and provides the best protection for your fibroblast cells (the cells that produce collagen) which allows your skin to heal faster. You can’t go wrong with Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 — it’s lightweight, oil-free and ideal for acne-prone and sensitive skin types.