I was suffering from a horrible breakout (worse than my teenage years’ pimple breakout) around 2016 to early 2017. I had a pretty good skin for around two years prior to that, so I was shocked and really upset I had it in my 20’s, but I eventually managed to get rid of them. I’m not saying my skin is perfect now, it’s not even close to a glass skin! I actually still have a few visible blemishes and a new one always pops out before my period. But it feels good that I can go out now without even a BB cream and don’t care. However, I haven’t really shared how to get rid of acne on my blog, and I don’t know why it never occurred to me until last month.
It was almost Christmas Eve, but I was still doing some last-minute gift shopping with my younger brother in a mall that’s open until midnight. While we were deciding where we will have some snacks, I opened my phone and saw someone left me a comment on my Instagram. To my surprise, it was a hate… Nah! That’s such a strong word, I say it’s a passive-aggressive comment on CHRISTMAS EVE in my “Hungover Face” selfie that I took after a crazy fun night with my old high school friends as an inside joke. It was in Tagalog (my native language), but she basically said: “you’re using too many products on your face yet you still look like that.”
Now, I’m not sure if she’s commenting about the few blemishes on my face, or she’s really insulting my entire face. If it is my face then, DEAL IT WITH TROLL! At least I’m confident enough to take a selfie with no makeup, blemishes out, dehydrated, and lacks sleep. While you use a fake photo on your profile. But if you’re referring to my blemishes, then let me educate you and Kendall Jenner’s acne haters in Golden Globes on how to get rid of acne.
HOW TO GED RID OF ACNE?
SPOILER: It’s not that easy. If it was, then no people should have been suffering from it. Just ask these five lovely and brave ladies in Man Repeller. To most people, it takes more than just double-cleansing and Benzoyl Peroxide. Most needed medical attention, which leads me to…
1. Consult A Dermatologist
Before anything else, if your skin is not getting any better whatever you use, I suggest to stop whatever you’re using and consult a dermatologist ASAP. The cause may not be hormonal, stress, diet, or lack of sleep, it can be a medical thing like an allergy. So follow their prescription and skincare routine advice before indulging again in new products. In my first visit, I was prescribed a new routine and got two anti-acne injections on my two cystic acne, they were gone just after 24 hours, although they both left a scar but thankfully just a dark spot, not something deep which I can remove with exfoliation.
2. Double Cleanse
Besides using a regular facial wash, I also use a cleansing oil or a cleansing balm, whichever is available, to get rid of dirt and makeup on my skin. Sunblock and most makeup nowadays are hard to remove with just one wash, so that’s why I use an oil-based cleanser first to remove the thick layer of those products and then use a facial wash such as Cetaphil or something that will suit my oily and acne-prone skin as my second cleanser to completely clean my skin. But if I just stayed all day in my house since I’ma freelancer, I work from home, I don’t double cleanse because it may strip off moisture in my skin.
Ideally, if you have acne-prone skin, your second cleanser should have salicylic acid that will penetrate the pores. But I prefer a gentle second cleanser instead because…
3. I Use Toner With BHA & Alternate With Hyaluronic Acid
BHA (beta hydroxy/salicylic acid) works on skin’s surface and inside the pore; it’s oil soluble, so it’s most often preferred for oily skin prone to bumps, clogs, blemishes, and enlarged pores. BHA also has natural skin-calming properties, so it’s gentle enough for sensitive skin prone to redness and/or rosacea. I use Benton Aloe BHA Toner at night and in the morning, because BHA is still an exfoliator, I use Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Lotion.
Hyaluronic acid is a lubricating, clear substance that’s produced by the body naturally. But as a toner, it helps retain collagen, increase moisture, and provide elasticity and flexibility. It helps to hydrate and moisturize.
But before I started using the Hada Labo Lotion, I was actually using Natural Pacific Real Calendula Energy Toner which is hydrating and heals my acne thanks to Calendula flowers.
By exfoliation, I don’t mean using a face wash with scrubs like St. Ives Apricot Face Scrub, that will only aggravate your acne! I’m talking about chemical exfoliators. On my visit to the dermatologist, after my anti-acne injections, my dermatologist also gave me a chemical peel treatment. I admit, that treatment kinda hurts because it will literally peel off your skin, dry all your acne, and minimize your pores. But the pain will only happen on the first day. The next few days will be a bit itchy and feels really dry.
The process takes around two weeks or more, so I was walking around with my skin literally falling off my face. I really got some weird looks, and some look genuinely scared of me. My skin was also vulnerable to the sun so, besides sunblock, I use a face mask to cover my face as well like some Korean idol hiding from the paparazzi. The face mask actually helped in preventing those weird looks as well since it’s normal in Asia for people to walk around with it. (It’s either to prevent inhaling bacteria, pollution or to cover their recent plastic surgery.) Lastly, never forcefully remove your scabbing and falling skin, let it all fell out naturally for a smoother result. If they don’t come out yet it simply means your new skin is not yet ready.
Admittedly, this treatment is kinda pricey but if your dermatologist suggested it, I highly suggest you invest in it. This really speeds up the healing process, it lessens my acne, both my skin tone and texture got even, while some small acne and dark spots had totally vanished. Although, don’t expect a 100% success especially if your breakout is severe. I think mine was 85-90% successful.
Alternatively, you can use The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution twice a week, if you really can’t do the chemical treatment. But it will take you much longer, some took two months, while some took longer. It depends on your skin condition. I personally used it twice a month as a maintenance after my chemical peeling treatment healed. But sometimes, I use the milder CosRx Whitehead AHA 7 Power Liquid once or twice a month instead of The Ordinary.
5. I Use Products With Niacinamide
Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, is a skin-restoring ingredient that offers multiple benefits. Among these benefits is the ability to visibly improve the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines, dullness, and a weakened skin surface. Niacinamide can also mitigate the damage environmental attack can cause and is stable in the presence of heat and light. This vitamin works best with zinc to prevent future breakouts, soothe redness, calms blemishes, minimize pores and regulate sebum production. That’s why products such as The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% and Glossier Super Pure are highly raved by those with oily and acne-prone skin.
Unfortunately, I have this rare allergy and it happens to be a Zinc allergy. So instead of those products mentioned above, I personally use It’s Skin Power 10 Formula VB Effector and Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask which both contains Niacinamide and no Zinc. Alternatively, I also use Tea Tree Oil such as Leejiham Tea Tree 90 Essence.
Chemical peeling, medically or with just using at-home skincare products, will make your skin dry and may break your moisture barrier. If that happens, instead of getting healed, your face might break out again. So a moisturizing toner is not enough, make sure to use an actual moisturizer twice a day after you cleanse and exfoliate. And this will also help lock-in the serum you used. You can do this by using a cream (for dry skin) or gel (for oily skin) moisturizers. You can also use a sheet mask once or twice a week.
7. Use A Sunscreen Every Day
Besides protecting your exfoliated vulnerable skin from the sun, you also need a sunscreen to prevent those dark spots left from the treatments to get more darken by the sun’s UV rays. Plus the sunscreen will help prevent more damage to your skin due to the sun exposure with or without getting a chemical exfoliation.
These tips above were the things I personally did to get rid of my acne, but we all have different types of skin. So some that worked for me, might not work on others. I know some people who suffer from acne needed more than just anti-acne injections and chemical peel treatments, some also need vitamin supplements or antibiotics, while some needs diet or lifestyle changes. But my number one tip is the most important which everyone should follow: reset and consult a dermatologist. And check out this list of 50 people on Reddit who successfully got rid of their acne too.
Lastly, it’s never okay to insult or give unsolicited advice to someone who suffers from acne. Trust me, they already working on how to get rid of acne, did their research, and asked the right person. They don’t need your opinion. Acne also has a psychological effect on the sufferer.
And to those who suffer from acne, don’t let other people’s opinion get you down and have patience. It will really take a while. Learn to embrace it too, because in most cases, you will not really be able to 100% get rid of it. I personally, still get an acne or two especially when my period is coming or I used a product that aggravated it. Acne is not a flaw. And according to Amelia Diamond of Man Repeller, it is neither a death sentence nor a mark of character. It isn’t bad or ugly. It just is. Everyone gets it, even supermodels like Kendall Jenner and Korean Idols.