5 Changes I Made To My Routine To Combat Acne

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1. Stopped using any cleansers advertised specifically for acneic, spot prone or oily skin:

By this I typically mean foaming or grainy scrub cleansers that basically strip and dry out the skin which may remove excess oil and dry up spots initially, but WILL cause your skin to retaliate with a tidal wave of greasy sebum and painful red spots. Way too harsh for the mellow vibes I'm aiming for. Get you a nice gel cleanser or a cream cleanser with some yummy acids to gently exfoliate your skin. Your face will thank you.

2. No more face masks:

Not forever, just for now while my acne is active and my face is sore. Like foaming cleanser, clay masks can be harsh, dry out your skin, and cause more irritation than they're worth. Also, when your face is sore with spots, you need to soothe and calm it, not attack it full-force by slapping on thick substances that "draw out impurities" which, where my face is concerned, is just code for "cause a load of painful, under-skin spots." Masks make us feel proactive at a time when we desperately want to feel in control of our problem skin, but sometimes, the best thing is to do less.

3. Stopped wetting my face before applying my cleanser:

Why are we told to water down these products jam packed with lovely ingredients? For foaming face washes, sure, so you can work up a lather, but, as per point 1, we're not using those anymore, right? Right?? Using your cleanser on dry skin is going to allow it to pick up all of the oil and grime that you are trying to remove. Don't let water get in the way of that. Rub that ish on a dry face and let your skin have it!

4. Got myself a flannel:

8 to be exact: one for each day and a spare. Nothing fancy or expensive, just a white cotton flannel that I can use to remove my cleanser. Why has this been such a game changer? Well, have you ever been puzzled by random breakouts under your jaw or down the side of your neck? Yeah, those are from product residue and grime that's trickled down your face after you've splashed it with water in an attempt to rinse the face wash from your skin. Using a damp cloth to properly rinse and remove the product from your skin prevents irritation and future breakouts.

5. Documented progress:

Yeah okay this might sound a bit boring and unrelated to my actual routine but, I can tell you now, it's a bit of a skin-saviour. How can you tell a product actually works? Like, really? I take pictures of my face, left and right, about once a fortnight. I also make a rough note of when I start using something new. This enables me to track the improvement of my skin but also notice where certain ingredients might be causing flare-ups. NOTE: really pay attention to when your skin is reacting or irritated and stop using products that cause "purging" beyond a few whiteheads here and there. A sore face full of spots is NOT purging; your skin is trying to tell you something. A skin cycle is about a month so you can usually tell if something is making a difference* by then. I use two months as my measuring stick when making side-by-side photograph comparisons to determine how effective my routine is.

*Making a difference does not mean “full blown transformation.” Skin concerns do not change overnight. It can take upwards of a year to completely heal something like acne. I say this not to discourage you but to emphasise that patience and perseverance is key. Don’t believe these Instagram brands that show dramatic results after just one use of a clay or glitter mask. There are no quick fixes in skin care. No non-surgical ones, anyway. Slow and steady wins the race.

Thank you for taking the time to read this #SKINDIARIES post. What changes have you made to hone your skincare routine to perfection? Share your tricks and tips in the comments!