Ah acne...my old foe. When I worked at the spa, acne clients were often the worst when it came to how they treated their skin. As a skin professional, I was appalled by the methods they used to clear their skin. As an acne sufferer myself (former of course) I sympathized with their despair and confusion.
So to save you some heartache, here is my top 10 worst acne offenses:
10. Using products known to aggravate blemish prone skin. This totally boggles the mind. Pancake theatrical makeup (like MAC's) and cold cream (even if Miss Monroe used it) is totally inappropriate for blemish prone skin. Using products like these are definitely going to make a bad thing worse.
9.Using facial scrubs. I'm not sure why skincare lines keep making these "medicated" facial scrubs. If you need something medicated (meaning it's going to kill bacteria) the last thing you want to do is scrub open those infected blemishes and spread the infection around. If you just have blackheads, a gentle scrub will help loosen those buggers up. Just remember to massage it into your skin, don't "scrub" it in with your hands.
8. Drying out your skin. Oily skin is not the cause of acne, so why try to dry out your skin with astringents and over doing the clay masks? In fact oily skin is a blessing! The protective layer of sebum prevents moisture loss and minimizes the appearance of fine lines. Also, constant over-drying can lead to an overproduction of sebum. Instead choose products that help remove excess oil, not strip it away.
7. Using only one product and expecting a miracle. After every acne treatment I did, I'd set out all the products the client needed to continue the blemish-clearing treatment at home. Sometimes they naively bought one product (usually the spot treatment) and thought their skin would clear up. Not so ladies. Clearing blemishes takes a customized skin care regimen, not one miracle product.
6. Using too many products. Using a cleanser + a scrub + a clay mask + an all over treatment serum + a spot treatment + an oil control lotion + another dab of the spot treatment for good measure = overkill. All your going to get is raw, irritated, blemished skin. Take it easy. It's not just about getting rid of blemishes, you also have to heal and prevent scarring.
5. Using Proactive. Honestly the stuff is crap. Some of the worst blemished skin that I have treated are from those that have used Proactive. Benzoyl Peroxide, the active ingredient, destroys healthy skin cells, dries out the skin and leaves behind scars. Just stay away, far away.
4. Trying to take out blackheads without properly preparing the skin. Yes there is a way to properly prepare the skin. This helps them to slip out easier as well as helps to prevent scarring and inflammation. See my eHow article here to learn how to prep and extract.
3. Picking. Yeah I know it's tempting, but picking at your skin leaves scars and spreads infection. Just stop...right now...stop!
2. Not using sunscreen. Sunscreen can feel heavy and greasy, so if may be tempting to skip it. Please don't. Instead of just having blemished skin, now your also going to have premature aging skin.
1. Not seeing a skincare professional. Not the cosmetics counter girl, not your neighborhood beauty consultant, a skincare professional. She can help you to understand what type of acne you have, create a custom home treatment and recommend the professional treatments you need. If your acne is is severe enough that it needs a dermatologist, she can even refer you to one. So why not take advantage of this free service?
So those are my top 10 worst acne offenses. Do you see any that your guilty of doing, or worse yet, advising someone to do? C'mon ladies...come clean.
*Photo is of Jayne Mansfield 1962
*Photo is of Jayne Mansfield 1962