11 Things About Acne-Prone and Sensitive Skin I Wish I Would have Known in High School

I was blessed (note: sarcastic tone) with acne prone & sensitive skin by my lovely genes. While I am a natural redhead, I don’t have the iconic translucent skin with monster orange freckles. However, my skin is still extremely fair and I do have quite a lot of freckles, but they are a light brown. I tan some, but not a lot. I like to keep my skincare routine simple because I like for repetitive tasks to take the least amount of time possible to improve efficiency.
I’ve had acne since I was twelve. I did a nine month stint on Accutane (Generic, Isotretinoin) when I was 13-14. While the drug is certainly transformative for many, there are some serious side effects. My acne was significantly improved. I went from having many large blemishes that would scar to only one or two at a time, but I still had issues with whiteheads, blackheads and oily skin.

11 Things About Acne-Prone & Sensitive Skin I Wish I Would have Known in High School 

1. Do you think Acne is only for teenagers?
Well, I hate to break it to you, but I am 29 and still suffer from Acne. After years of using only the Proactive cleanser, which only kept my breakouts to a dull roar, I tried a bunch of different products over the last two years and finally have settled on a routine that makes my skin look and feel great. Don’t ignore your acne, figure out what works for you with trial and error!

2. The difference between chemical and mechanical exfoliation.
I’d always heard that if you have acne, you need to stay away from scrubs because the grit in them will pop the infected pimples and spread the bacteria around your face! If you’ve done any reading into the science of acne, you know that blemishes are formed from dead skin cells & oil getting trapped in pores. Acne cleansers typically strip away the oil, but leave dead skin. Lo and behold, that there are chemical exfoliants, such as salicylic acid and beta hydroxy acids. So you want to find a face wash that includes one of those ingredients to remove dead skin that can clog your pores and contribute to acne!

3. Always moisturize, even if you skin is extremely oily!
Your skin, the largest organ of your body, exists to protect you from the harsh elements. Most acne washes will strip your face of the natural oils your skin produces, so in order to keep your skin from producing even more oil, that will clog your pores, you need to use a moisturizer to stabilize the environment to prevent your skin from producing even more oils that will clog your pores.

4. Dermatologists aren’t always the answer.
They focus on prescription treatments and may not know much about OTC products, moisturizers, etc. Some can even have agreements with skincare companies to push a certain line of products. From my experience, they may be able to help with prevention using antibiotics, harsh creams or Accutain, but they won’t really address your skin texture.

5. Just because a product is for treatment of acne, doesn’t mean it will be suitable for sensitive skin!
I highly caution anyone with sensitive skin to trying new products without swatch testing on your arm for a few days first. I should have done this. It would have saved me months of suffering with red, painful welts that would throb.

6. Hair care products can also cause acne and skin reactions on your face, scalp & neck.
I’ve gotten cystic acne along my jaw from a leave in conditioner and scalp pimples. I’m not just talking about a few scalp pimples, I mean hundreds of them from using a shampoo once, disgusting, I know! Sadly, I have yet to see any hair care products that are advertised for sensitive skin, so I am just careful when trying new products.
7. For extremely sensitive skin, an allergist can perform patch testing to determine which specific chemicals you need to avoid.
If you are having trouble determining what products you can and cannot use, then this may be a good option for you. I have only discussed this will my allergist, but have not elected to do the patch testing because I have found products that I can use with no isses. I always look for products that free from dyes, perfumes and
8. Wearing less or even no makeup can improve your skin greatly.
GASP! I know. You are beautiful, why cover up your natural glow!
9. Everyone’s skin is different!
What works for your best friend may not work for you. Thankfully, now-a-days, there is this great thing called the internet. You can search for beauty blogs to find information about products if you have concerns. I caution you from taking the advice of sales associates at stores, but have actually received some sound recommendations from aestheticians (those people who give you facials and other skin treatments at spas!).
10. Oily skin is not immune to wrinkles.
Yes, I have wrinkles. I’d always heard that you should have a skincare routine to prevent wrinkles, but never added anything to my routine! I now wish that I would have heeded the advices of the older, wiser women!
11. Oil-free is not the same as non-comedogenic.
So, just because a product is “oil-free” doesn’t’ mean that it won’t flare up your acne! Pay special attention to labels and look for both non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic. Sometimes dermatological tested will be mentioned, but this may not always be a good products for sensitive skin. The UK skincare brand Simple has some great products at Target that are great for sensitive and acne-prone skin!
What products do you use that work for sensitive, acne-prone skin?
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