Best ingredients to look for in acne facial cleansers
- Posted on: Apr 12 2023
Acne is a common problem for teens, thanks to hormonal changes that increase the skin’s oil production during puberty. But acne doesn’t end when we reach adulthood – many adults also experience frequent breakouts. The skin care experts at Asarch Dermatology help people of all ages prevent and successfully treat acne.
With a mind-boggling amount of acne products available in stores and online, it’s hard to know which ones will work best for you. There’s no one-size-fits-all option to address acne, but a great place to start is with the right acne facial cleanser. From dealing with acne to choosing acne products, Asarch Dermatology is here for you every step of the way.
What is acne?
Acne is a skin condition that occurs when excess oil clogs the pores of your skin and traps bacteria inside, resulting in whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples. The most common locations for acne are the areas where you have the most oil glands, such as your face, chest, shoulders, and upper back.
Acne usually affects everyone at some point in their lifetime. Studies show that 80% of people will have at least a mild form of acne by the time they reach age 30. Some acne breakouts can be severe, leaving both physical and emotional scars behind.
In addition to hormonal changes, certain medications, diet, and stress can all trigger or worsen acne – explaining why so many adults continue to struggle with it. Genetics often play a key role as well.
Tips for dealing with teen or adult acne
Whatever age you are, one of the best ways to deal with acne is to follow a skin care routine that includes:
- Washing twice a day (morning and evening) with warm water and an acne cleanser
- Washing after you exercise or sweat
- Applying oil-free moisturizer after washing
- Removing any makeup before you go to bed
While it may be tempting, avoid popping, picking, or squeezing your acne. Letting your skin heal naturally helps prevent scars from forming.
On average, it takes 1-2 weeks for mild acne breakouts to clear up on their own. However, a good skin care routine can help speed up this process. Severe acne may take several weeks or months to go away, even with treatment.
Experiencing acne can be challenging at any age, affecting both your appearance and self-esteem. Your Asarch dermatologist can guide you through acne treatment, including choosing the right acne facial cleanser and other products.
Choosing your acne products
The acne products that are best for you will depend on your skin type, acne type, and skin care preferences. Acne products work in different ways depending on their active ingredients. Some ingredients to look for in acne facial cleaners include:
- Benzoyl peroxide – Kills the bacteria that causes acne, removes excess oil from the skin, and removes dead skin cells (available without a prescription in strengths from 2.5% to 10%)
- Adapalene – A retinoid that helps unclog pores and prevent new breakouts (available without a prescription in 0.1% strength)
- Salicylic acid – Also helps unclog pores and prevent new breakouts (available without a prescription in strengths from 0.5% to 2%)
- Azelaic acid – A mildly antibacterial ingredient that prevents pores from becoming clogged and also corrects dark spots after acne clears (available without a prescription in 10% strength)
With so many ingredient choices, and so many different products that use them, it’s easy to feel confused. Here are some general tips for choosing non-prescription acne facial cleansers and other products:
- Begin with benzoyl peroxide and adapalene – Not sure which acne product to buy? Start with one that contains benzoyl peroxide, adapalene, or both (which studies show can be even more effective). These ingredients are usually well-tolerated, although it will take time for results to appear.
- Try lower-strength products first – Starting with gentler products can help minimize inflammation, dry skin, and other issues. If needed, slowly increase the strength of the product and how often you use it over several weeks to help your skin adjust.
- Find the product type that works for you – Acne products come in many forms, including creams, foams, gels, ointments, soaps, and wipes. Every product type has advantages and disadvantages – for example, wipes are easy to use but can dry your skin. Gels and ointments soak into your skin well but may feel too greasy. Experiment to find the product type that you like best.
- Don’t limit yourself to one product – To treat stubborn acne, you might need to use more than one product, such as one product in the morning and another at night.
Whatever option you choose, be patient. It can take weeks or months of daily non-prescription acne product use before you begin to see results – and acne can worsen before it gets better. Contact your Asarch dermatologist if you have any questions or concerns during this time.
Skin care tips when using acne products
In addition to washing your skin twice a day and using your product(s) of choice, there are other things you can do to help keep your skin clear:
- Don’t overdo it – Too much washing and scrubbing can worsen acne. Avoid things like facial scrubs, masks, and astringents, which can irritate your skin even further.
- Opt for oil-free – Use oil-free moisturizer (as mentioned above), makeup, and other skin and hair care products to avoid clogged pores. If you use hair oil, apply it to the middle of your scalp and the ends of your hair, away from your forehead and face.
- Stay out of the sun – Some acne products make you more prone to sunburn. The sun can also worsen any dark spots that linger after your acne clears. Wear oil-free sunscreen any time you’re outside.
- Be cognizant – Hair, cell phones, hats, tight collars, backpack straps, and other items can transfer oil and sweat to your skin and cause acne.
And here’s another reminder: never pop, pick, or squeeze your acne. Doing so increases your risk of infection and scarring.
How to apply acne products for the best results
Apply a thin layer of product to the entire area, not just the acne spots you can see. When you use a product on all your acne-prone skin, you not only treat existing acne – you also help prevent future breakouts.
Who should see a board-certified dermatologist?
Good news: it’s never the wrong time to see your Asarch dermatologist for acne! Even the mildest acne can benefit from professional care.
If your acne doesn’t improve after 2-3 months of using non-prescription products, or you begin to develop dark spots after the acne clears, contact us to discuss prescription options.
Schedule an appointment today
You don’t have to pick the right acne facial cleanser or other products on your own. Asarch Dermatology provides patients of all ages with exceptional skin care, including treatment plans to help you fight acne.
With three convenient locations in Englewood, Castle Rock, and Lakewood, you can count on Asarch Dermatology to provide you with personalized attention and skin care solutions that work. To get started, schedule an appointment today.