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Let’s Talk about Acne

Let’s Talk about Acne

Summer is fast approaching! With hotter days comes more sweat and with more sweat comes more breakouts which means changing up your skin routine is a must. Acne can be caused by a variety of different external stimuli, its important to be aware of the different culprits as we enter breakout season.


This first thing you need to know about acne is that it’s not caused by bacteria alone. An overproduction of dead skin cells and your skin’s lack of ability to shed these extra dead skin cells can cause acne. Clogged skin cells and extra oil, which can get trapped in your pores, can definitely result in a significant breakout. What’s the solution? Exfoliate of course!

Regular exfoliation will help to keep your skin decongested and clear. One of the best exfoliants I would recommend to help treat breakouts and congestion is the Dermalogica charcoal rescue masque. The charcoal masque is a lifesaver when it comes to breakouts. You can spot-treat with the masque, you don’t have to use it as an all-over treatment, especially if you’re just breaking out in an isolated area like the forehead or chin.

About Charcoal

Charcoal detoxifies; it pulls out pollution, dead skin cells and bacteria which are all contributors to breakouts. Charcoal also helps to reduce redness and inflammation which will in turn help your skin heal quicker. It’s important to note that you’ll want to be very careful if you have breakouts that are red and inflamed while exfoliating. Using a really abrasive harsh scrub exfoliation product can spread bacteria and aggravate the acne even more.

Dermalogica's charcoal rescue masque

The charcoal rescue masque is very helpful in these situations because it does not involve scrubbing, you simply apply a layer and let it dry. While it’s drying the alpha hydroxy acids and sulfur that are in the masque work to clear away all of the dead skin cells on the skin’s surface, freeing your skin from congestion and breakouts. The end result is a smoother complexion and a more even skin tone. When it really comes down to it, the charcoal rescue masque may be my favorite product because it really does come to the rescue!

Know Your Comedones

“Comedones” is another term for blackheads. “Comedogenic” means causes comedones. Comedones turn into breakouts. It’s good to be aware of and familiar with these common comedogenic ingredients:

common comedones

Know Your Cleansers

When the weather changes, a change in facial cleansers may be necessary. In the wintertime basic pH balanced foaming cleansers like Dermalogica’s special cleansing gel and mild gel based cleansers like Dermalogica’s ultracalming cleanser or Cetaphil are commonly used. For summertime, with an increase in oil and sweat production due to hotter temperatures, a cleanser that includes salicylic acid like Dermalogica’s clearing skin wash or the foaming wash from the clear start line would be your best bet.

About Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide

Salicylic acid is oil-loving, it’s attracted to the areas where you have more oil production and breakouts. It works naturally to dissolve excess oil and dead skin cells. Salicylic acid is also a great anti-inflammatory agent which helps to calm breakout-induced redness. Niacinamide is my other favorite ingredient for treating acne because it is antibacterial and also has anti-inflammatory benefits.

Night Time Cleansing

An oil-based, water-soluble cleanser used at night can really clear the skin. Using oil on acne-prone skin can sound like a bad idea, but it’s important to note that oil attracts oil. Dermalogica’s pre-cleansing oil helps to dissolve any surface oils, sunscreens, make up, sweat or dirt that has collected upon your skin throughout the day. First cleanse with pre-cleanse oil and then follow with your primary cleanser.

Recommended Dermalogica cleansers

Check Your Environment

It’s a good idea to make sure your pillowcase is clean and fresh. At night we sweat while we sleep. We have oils in our hair and buildup from products that can collect on your pillowcase. Keep some spare pillow cases handy to cut down on laundry. Make sure to change the pillowcase from one clean side to the other clean side each night. On the third day, change the pillowcase out.

Avoid using fabric softeners on your sheets because fabric softeners often use animal fats which can clog your pores and cause breakouts.

Check Your Shades

What kind of sunglasses do you have? Sunglasses that sit right on your face can cause you to sweat and produce oil. Keep this in mind when choosing a pair.

Be Gentle

During a breakout is definitely not the time to power scrub your face. Let the product do the work for you. Gently rub the product onto your skin in soft circular movements with the pads of your fingertips and focus on the bumpy areas of congestion. Don’t need press hard or overstimulate the skin, this can just aggravate conditions further and spread bacteria.

Don’t pick your face! A tip that I give people that have a habit of picking is when they notice they are starting to pick, to instead just relax and know that your skin is healing because the moment you say to yourself “don’t pick at your face” all you want to do is pick at your face. Replace that reminder with positive reinforcement and say to yourself “relax the hands and relax the feet” instead. It will take the focus off of your face and will allow you to be present and mindful as stress can definitely lead to more breakouts.


In order to be healthy on the outside, you first must be healthy on the inside.

What’s your diet like? New research has shown that dairy and sugar both can lead to the production of breakouts. I’ve seen this with a lot of my clients who love to eat their Greek yogurt every single morning, they are constantly struggling with breakouts. Dairy increases a certain hormone in our bodies that stimulates oil production so if you want to keep your skin clear, avoid dairy and sugar both!

healthy foods that benefit skin

Monitoring what goes into your body, along with being mindful of your environment and educated on the products you use will help you to find a seasonal skin regimen that’s right for you.