When it comes to treating run of the mill acne, the best regimen is surprisingly simple. It’s really a matter of preventative and defensive treatment. You need to keep the skin clear of debris by using an effective exfoliant, and you need to kill bacteria living on the surface (or just below) the skin.
Look for two common ingredients:
Salicylic Acid will exfoliate inside the pore lining and keep dead cells and oil from building up and clogging pores. Look for it face wash, creams, and serums. It should be used consistently by those with acne-prone skin.
Benzoyl Peroxide is a fantastic product for treating blemishes and monthly breakouts. It will work reduce redness, disinfect the area, and speed healing time. Great as a spot treatment, but can also be used in a thin layer if you’re dealing with a particularly bad breakout. Comes in 2.5%, 5%, and 10% concentrations, start with the lowest and work your way up. It can be very drying, so use only as needed.
So that’s it! Beware of witch hazel, alcohol, or “treatment kits”, which often contain potentially drying and irritating ingredients.
My anti-acne routine is simple: wash with mild cleanser, treat with Peter Thomas Roth AHA/BHA Acne clearing gel, and spot treat with CVS brand Benzoyl Peroxide as needed.
Disclaimer: If you have serious, for real, acne- you should probably be under the care of a dermatologist. Also, Benzoyl Peroxide is not safe for pregnant or nursing women. If you’re pregs and breaking out- sorry buttercup, you don’t have many options.