I have struggled with acne for as long as I can remember. Through my pre-teen years and teenage acne has been my life companion 😛 ; And it still continues to be. I have tried almost all the popular anti-acne treatments advocated my dermatologists and skin care specialists around the globe. After all the trials and also reading a great deal about these products, this is my current anti-acne skin care routine that I follow on a day-to-day basis.
I have tried salicylic acid based cleansers in the past. And they work really well. But I have sensitive skin prone to eczema and these cleansers made my skin really dry. So now I stick to Himalaya Herbals Purifying Neem Foaming Face wash for my night time cleansing. It cleanses my skin really well without making it dry. For mornings and after gym I like non foaming mild cleansers. Cetaphil cleansing lotion and Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser are my favourite mild cleansers. They are both fragrance free and do the minimal cleansing you need.
Retinoid based creams are among the best available treatments for acne worldwide.
Benefits of retinoids :
When used consistently, retinoids can keep your skin clear & acne free, even out skin tone, reverse sun damage and pigmentation, improve wrinkles & mild scars and prevent pre-mature aging. This skin-changing factor, along with other exfoliating properties, make retinoids the gold standard for acne and anti-aging treatments.
But more often than not, not many are successful in incorporating retinoids into their skin care regimen. Flaking, breakouts, or slight irritation within the first few weeks can discourage you. It can take up to six months to see a visible improvement. It is consistency that matters here.
In decreasing order of strength the different types of retinoids are –
Isotretinoin> Tazarotene> Tretinoin (retinoic acid)> Adapalene> Retinaldehyde> Retinol> Retinyl palmitate.
- Start with a lower concentration and strength. Initially apply it once every two nights for the 1st few weeks. Then, use it every other night for another week and gradually use it every night. After some months you can use a stronger concentration. This helps your skin slowly adjust to the product.
- Use as little as possible. Ditch the “if a little is good, more must be better” mentality. Using more product will only irritate your skin even more. Use just a pearl sized amount for your entire face. If your eye is too sensitive to the retinoid, you can try mixing the product with a moisturizer and if that doesn’t help, just stop using it near your eyes. Retinoids can also be applied on your neck, hands & feet.
- And finally, use only at night. I like Retino-A (tretinoin) and Acnovate (adapalene).
For mornings, I alternate between Glocin gel and Glyco 6. Glocin has Clindamycin and Nicotinamide which are anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory respectively. Glyco 6 is 6% glycolic acid which is an excellent skin exfoliant and also helps lighten acne scars. All these creams are available at the pharmacy.
Moisturiser & Sunscreen
I love the Cetaphil DAM Daily Advance Ultra Hydrating Lotion. It has got shea butter and macadamia oil. This is not at all greasy, gets absorbed instantly, is fragrance free and perfect for my sensitive skin.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer dry touch sunblock SPF 50+ has to be my favourite sunscreen. It is non oily, non-greasy, almost matte, very light (compared to other sunscreens). I love it.
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