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Handling Break Outs Part 1: Products to Cleanse and Treat

Posted by Alexandra C. | Thursday April 4, 201310 comments

The month of March was a stressful time for me. That, coupled with the 'ice cream, coffee, bread, chips and chocolate' diet I have been on (I believe Eva Mendes is on the same diet?), the inevitable occurred: I broke out. 

My skin isn't perfect and I have the occasional spot here and there on a daily basis. This time around I had intense periods of eruption. It isn't fun. Though I've left high school behind, every so often (and usually around that time of the month) it feels like I'm right back in 9th grade with a face of mean little bumps. 

When my skin decides it doesn't like me and rebels in cruel and unusual ways, I have a system that helps to speed the breakout recovery along. No two breakouts are the same and my skin is sometimes dry and others more oily. I've also been known to go a bit 'BP happy' (benzoyl peroxide) and over dry my skin. Over drying can in turn increase sebum (oil) production. So, this system can change or adjust accordingly. How you handle a break out should depend on your skin type. I have combination skin so working to clear it up is a bit of a balancing act. I'm always trying to discover the magical combination of moisture and dryness control to keep my skin healthy. 

Like I said, different skin types require different treatments. My system doesn't work for everyone. Though there may not be a whole lot of science behind this theory, I am a big believer in each person having their own body chemistry that reacts well to certain ingredients (for instance: my face soaks up vitamin C like nobody's business, they're total BFFs). However, I do think that the steps I use will apply to most skin types. My acne breakout process focuses on deep cleaning, moisturising and spot treating. 

I am happy to report that after a week of going through these steps, my skin is looking better. So, without more acne drama, here is how I handle an intense, unwelcome breakout: 

#1: Cleansing  

For some reason, my skin hasn't been loving foaming cleansers lately. In the past, I've gravitated towards cleansers with salicylic acid but found that this was too harsh. Instead, I've been removing my makeup with (3.) Avene Eau Thermale Gentle Milk Cleanser (US$18.00)

For a deeper clean afterwards, I've been loving (4.) Boots No.7 Radiance Boosting Hot Cloth Cleanser (C$13.00). After applying the cream, you use a hot cloth to infuse it into your skin and it feels incredible. 

I find a rougher exfoliator like (1.) St.Ives Apricot Scrub (C$4.99) helps to clear away dirt. Because this is a little harsher, I will only use it a few times a week. Olay recently released the (2.) Olay Fresh Effects Va Va Vivids Powered Contour Cleansing System (US$14.99) which is a nifty little vibrating scrub like brush. It is designed to easily brush around your T-Zone. I use it in areas like my T-Zone, because it needs oil control. 

#2: Treatments and Toners 

I don't use toner all the time, but during breakouts, I need all the help I can get. Toners can help to balance the pH level of your skin, create a more even skintone and pick up any dirt left over by cleansers. Because I'm a tea tree fan, I really like (1.) Lush Tea Tree Water (C$9.95-21.95). Lush also sells (3.) Lush Tea Tree Toner Tabs (C$1.95, each) which can be used as a fabulous steam facial and the leftover water can be re-purposed as a toner for the next week. 

To prevent scarring and to exfoliate, I've jumped on the glycolic acid band wagon. It also has a powerful anti-aging ingredient. I just recently purchased (2.) Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix (C$12.99) which I use before applying any creams. (4.) Garnier Skin Renew Dark Spot Overnight Peel (19.99) has been a favourite of mine for a while. It also contains glycolic acid as well as vitamin C. This one I usually apply over top of a cream but before a spot treatment. 
#3: Creams 

After washing and toning, the first thing I use is (4.) Lush Grease Lightning (C$13.95). This product contains tea tree oil, a natural anti-bacterial agent but with lavender, witch hazel and aloe vera, it's soothing and never too powerful. 

During my last breakout, my skin was incredibly irritated, inflammed and red. One of the only things that helped me was hydrocortisone (3.) Cortoderm Ointment 0.5% (C$3.59). You can find this at your local drugstore. It's inexpensive and an excellent addition for your medicine cabinet. It isn't something to be used daily though, so be cautious. I would use it once, only for very inflammed, red areas. 

Though you may assume that oiliness means to skip the moisturizer, it actually means the opposite. Dry skin can cause flaking and scarring. I like to use (2.) Boots No.7 Protect & Prefect Night Cream (C$26.00).

Lastly, for stubborn white heads and bumps, sometimes it is necessary to bring out the big guns. For me, this is (1.) Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10 (C$8.49). It's a benzoyl peroxide spot treatment that dries up a pimple in a cinch. 

Do you go through major breakouts like me? What are your go-to products or tips and tricks?
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on April 07, 2013  angelaj20  81,058 said:

I have hormonal acne, so no matter what soaps, lotions and potions I put on, it will not help. I have to attack the problem internally. I use cod liver pills and they seem to help. I researched which are the best ones and found that ones bought at health stores are way better than drug store ones. I've never heard of using oil of oregano, but I just might try it out once my cod liver bottle is finished.

on April 05, 2013  Charmheart16  3,985 said:

For the occasional pimple, I usually resort to tea tree oil. I've never tried oil of oregano before either. I've seen my mom use it to clear her sinuses but I didn't realize it could also be used to treat acne. Will definitely try it.

on April 05, 2013  Steffikah  9,130 said:

Cannot get rid of my breakouts especially on my chest for the life of me. Will try the oil of oregano and tea tree oil... thanks ladies!

on April 05, 2013  KatelynRose1984  20,704 said:

I have suffered from acne for as long as I can remember, and I just went through a period where I didn't break out for quite awhile - but, it's come back. Damn menstrual cycle brings them out! Hate it.

on April 05, 2013  takoda  28,627 said:

Bren told me about the oil of oregano a few weeks ago, but I still haven't bought any. I'm definitely going to try some as soon as I can find some.

on April 04, 2013  fredamans  11,218 said:

Love Garnier!

on April 04, 2013  Bren  24,585 said:

It is strong and will shrink a pimple quick...but just dab on bigger pimples don't smear a whole bunch on your face it is strong stuff!If you want to use it for rashes/bigger areas of breakouts then mix a few drops in about a TBSP of coconut oil/almond oil as a carrier to dilute it.

I have been taking it internally for a bad chest cold I just got over.It really cleared up my face as well as the cold taking it internally!I love the stuff...But beware of imitations!

on April 04, 2013  AlexJC  50 said:

@Bren I've never tried oil of oregano before! Thanks for the tip!

on April 04, 2013  Bren  24,585 said:

I just make my own tea tree oil toner(distilled water and tea tree oil)or dab the tea tree oil on the breakouts straight...Oil of Oregano is really good as well for breakouts internally a few drops in water and drink and externally dabbed right on the breakout.

on April 04, 2013  makeupbymerry said:

I think with this all cosmetic products you can also try some home made remedies too.

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