January 11, 2019 6 min read
Treating acne effectively and holistically and sustainably requires the right products and also the right routines. When I first learned more about how the skin works, I was surprised at how easy it is to fall into bad habits even with the best of intentions. Let's get into the 6 most common mistakes people make when treating their acne.
The most obvious offender is also one I'm guilty of sometimes! When you pick at your blemishes, you are more likely to cause scarring and potentially spreading of acne-causing bacteria on the skin. And if you have darker skin, you are much more likely to experience those spots of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
If you absolutely must do an extraction yourself, there is a right way. For extractions, skin should be warm and clean. It should also be oiled - use something like our noncomedogenic Makeup Remover or plain jojoba oil on the face so your fingers will glide easily on the skin. Then wrap your index fingers in a soft, disposable cotton cloth.
Extractions should be done in an in-and-down-then-up-and-out kind of motion. Excessive pressure must be avoided. After doing extractions it's best to use an alcohol free toner with a natural antibacterial agent like our Ayurvedic Universal Toning Mist to kill off any acne bacteria that have come to the surface of the skin. Our alcohol free Ayurvedic Universal Toning Mist features witch hazel and other plant-based antiseptics like calendula, rose, and helichrysum hydrosols.
It is so tempting to over wash your face when you're dealing with a flare of acne. After all, you're usually oilier, and isn't that going to cause more acne? It's more complicated than that!
Of course, washing your face 1-2X daily with a gentle, non-stripping wash is important, but washing more than that is going to cause more problems than it solves.
Continually washing away all of your skin's natural oils will actually cause your sebaceous (oil) glands to produce even more oil to keep up with your wash habit.
Also, many face washes have an alkaline pH, while the skin is actually acidic, usually about a 4.5 on the pH scale. If you are over-washing with an alkaline wash, you are also disrupting the skin's acid mantle and therefore making it harder for your face to fight off acne-causing bacteria.
The good news? Our Ayurvedic Facial Washes are gentle, non-sudsing and help clean the skin without stripping the face of natural oils. You'll feel clean, fresh, and soft, but never tight, dry, or stripped.
Many people dealing with acne just want to scrub it into oblivion or use super harsh acids to dissolve the outermost layer of the skin. And I get the urge - you just want the acne to go away! But unfortunately, over-exfoliating will make your acne worse.
By over-exfoliating, you are aggressively breaking down the skin and causing worsened redness and inflammation and compromising your skin's ability to heal your breakouts.
If you're looking for a gentle physical exfoliant/scrub, we've got you covered with our Facial Exfoliant, made with fine grain coconut sugar and whole herbal powders to exfoliate, reduce inflammation, and nourish. When you're using any physical exfoliant, a key piece of advice: you do not need to use any pressure. Let the granules do the work!
If you're looking for a chemical exfoliant gentle enough for super sensitive skin while still being super effective for acne, look no further than The Illuminating Tonic. Formulated with the gentlest of the AHAs - mandelic acid - the tonic improves cellular turnover, reduces inflammation, and combats acne fighting bacteria all in one.
These two problems go hand and hand. Many conventional skincare products for acne are highly drying, especially if used on a daily basis. Salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, alcohol, and similar agents can turn your skin into desert-face.
While salicylic might be effective when used occasionally, for most people, regularly using a product with super drying agents like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and anything with drying alcohols is going to cause more problems than it solves.
Dermatologist-grade Clear Skin Potion is one of the few acne treatments available that is not drying to the skin. Formulated with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial azelaic acid at the same level as prescription Finacea, the Clear Skin Potion soothes inflammation and redness while fighting acne-causing bacteria without any of the drying side effects of other acne ingredients.
Okay, now that's off my chest, let's talk about why over-drying is such a problem - when you strip all of your natural oils, your sebaceous (oil) glands work overtime to make up for your habit, leaving your skin scaly/flaky and oily at the same time - no thanks.
Under-moisturizing is the other side of the coin - many people think that "starving" the acne of a moisturizer will help treat it. While of course you want to make sure you're using noncomedogenic oils on your face, depriving your mug of all moisturizers is just plain ol' neglect. Your skin needs oils in order to effectively heal breakouts and keep your acid mantle healthy and happy.
Our Pitta Ayurvedic Facial Oil is formulated specifically for inflammation and acne-prone skin, and features noncomedogenic oils that moisturize while balancing your skin's natural production of oils. It also contains anti-inflammatory turmeric extract which treats, heals, and prevents acne.
Acne-prone skin also does well with lightweight and fast-absorbing water-based moisturizers like our Hydrating Gel. During the summer months when your skin is extra oily, that typically means your skin is dehydrated (needing water content), so it overproduces oil to compensate. Giving your skin a drink of water with the Hydrating Gel helps balance oil production, especially during summer months.
Regardless of acne, this is a common one! Sun exposure is the #1 cause of early skin aging, and can promote further inflammation in acneic skin and can make those post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation spots worse. Plus, many products designed to treat acne (especially prescription ones) leave the skin extra sensitive to UV rays.
Many people with acne-prone skin hate wearing sunscreen because they find it super heavy and pore-clogging. But we've got you covered. For super safe, effective, and lightweight zinc sunscreens that don't leave a white cast (even on dark skin tones), check out our carefully curated selection of nontoxic sunscreen.
When we curated our sunscreen lineup, we had very strict criteria on what we chose. It had to be noncomedogenic, it had to be a physical sunscreen (using zinc and titanium, no hormone disruptors), it had to be easy to rub in, and it had to disappear on all skin tones without leaving a white cast. You can trust our lineup of nontoxic sunscreen.
I see this a lot in skincare-loving people in general, but usually those with more finicky skin tend to be extra excited about the newest skin gadget. And I totally understand - you want to try everything under the sun that might possibly help. Everyone becomes so excited about the newest facial washing brush, jade roller, LED mask, etc.
It's not so much that these gadgets are "bad," but the truth of the matter is that there is no one magic bullet. Adding time and expense to your beauty routine for the latest thingamabob isn't the best way to go about healing your skin and, best case scenario, might just leave you more frustrated and with less quiche in your wallet.
Worst case scenario - especially with facial washing brushes - your skin might become more inflamed and irritated. Focusing on good routines with good products containing safe & effective ingredients is what is most important.
If you must indulge your inner whatsamacallit-lover, then invest in a high quality dry brush, textured jade roller, or Gua Sha tool, and learn how to use these gadgets correctly. You can't haphazardly rub a rock or a brush all over your face and expect results - there's a technique to everything!
I hope this post was helpful & enlightening! As always, holler with any questions.
Until next time,