Your skin is fine in one day and clogged the next – full of small bumps and uneven texture. It feels like someone has planted a little microcomedon in every single pore overnight. How did this happen ?!
And how can you fix that?
There are several ways a product can freak out your skin – it can cause irritation such as itching, redness, or dryness. Or it can cause acne or congestion. Today we focus on this scenario.
First of all – how do you know if you should blame a product or something else like hormones or dietary changes?
When it is a product, the outbreak is generally quite severe, fairly quick, and more general. For example, if you normally only break out on the chin, you can also see acne on your cheeks and forehead.
The outbreak usually begins as a microcomedon (that is, many small bumps that can quickly develop into whiteheads or blackheads, or both). This is the case if the product you are using is only comedogenic.
If it is comedogenic AND flammable, you can also immediately see larger, red acne.
What makes a product comedogenic? The most likely comedogenic products contain many of the following substances: oils, butter, waxes and emulsifiers.
Sometimes you can almost predict whether a product is comedogenic based on the feeling it leaves on your skin and the dubious feeling you might have after applying it. Trust your instincts.
If you have used a product that you suspect may cause you to break out, based only on how your skin feels and how your gut feels:
Rule number one: Don't use anything new. All skin care products that you will use should be old, proven favorites.
Remove it as soon as possible, carefully and thoroughly. I recommend cleaning with four steps:
First cleaning: Use a trustworthy oil cleaner that you have used before without any problems. It can be one that emulsifies with water or one that you remove with a washcloth – whatever you have on hand that you TRUST.
Second cleaning: I recommend a gentle, light gel cleaner that contains a version of salicylic acid (natural salicylic acid from plants such as willow bark or meadowsweet tends to be gentler, so I use and recommend it). Hopefully you have something on your shelf that has proven itself. The reason why we include salicylic acid is that it is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), which means that it is oil-soluble. In contrast to water-soluble peels, BHA acids act on the skin surface AND in the pores filled with sebum. They help to "loosen" and dissolve potential pore blockers. If you don't have a salicylic acid detergent, that's fine. Just use the gentle gel cleanser you trust.
Third Purge: If you have detoxifying masks that you love, now is the time to use them. If you haven't had a BHA detergent, you may have a BHA mask that you can use. I do not recommend doubling BHA – just use it during the second or third cleaning, not both. If you don't have a mask with BHA, don't worry – just a detoxifying mask you trust is enough. Just leave it on for a few minutes – 5 or less – and then rinse it off.
Our last cleaning is the oil cleaner again. This helps rebalance and replenish the skin after gel and mask cleansing.
You may be very tempted to apply all types of acne-fighting products to your skin at this point, but resist the urge. Go with something very simple that is slightly moisturizing and proven once again. Don't make anything too difficult. A light lotion or moisturizer, or a combination of a simple, high linoleic acid facial oil and a soothing mist. Make sure your fluid intake is a balance between water and fat.
Keep your skin care routine very easy, light, and without overly active activities like AHA or other peels for the next 7 to 10 days (BHA is fine). Hopefully you have avoided an outbreak!
But – what to do if you have already broken out? Your skin is covered with comedones like never before and you just wish you could scrape it off and start over?
A proven oil cleaner is your friend – spend extra time each time gently massaging the skin – this helps loosen and pull out the comedones.
Resist the urge to throw all hard, active products you own into the situation. The best solution is a targeted, gentle, and consistent routine until your skin clears – and WILL, so don't worry! Keep your routine very simple and easy until your skin clears up.
It is important that your skin is easily moisturized, otherwise you will inhibit your skin's natural metabolic processes in terms of cell turnover and healing. Skin that is too dry does not remove skin cells efficiently and affects the skin's natural ability to drive out pores. Alternatively, avoid anything that is too heavy and creamy, as this can lead to constipation, especially with microcomedones that have already been sown. It is important that your moisturizer contains both lipid and water components. Avoid the exclusive use of objects that are billed as either "oil-free" or "water-free". If you use facial oils, be sure to apply a moisturizing mist or serum.
If you do 1, 2 and 3, this is enough.
If you have products that you trust, you can go even further: Look for products that accelerate cell turnover – but without causing irritation. Please do not use enzymes or acids – they simply remove skin cells and cannot clean your pores. Products that accelerate cell turnover include: phytoretinols (also known as bakuchiol or moth bean extract), retinol and retinoids (research them well, as many have a high potential for irritation), some essential oils (Helichrysum, carrot seeds) and some carrier oils rich in retinoic acid (rosehip and cacay) and some formats of vitamin C (look for non-irritating, stable versions like sodium ascorbyl phosphate and textrahexyl decyl ascorbate. Other ingredients that accelerate cell turnover are n-acetylglucosamine (NAG), allantoin, or the peptide Acetylhexapeptide-8 (named Reproage).
The products that we have in this category include CR-Citrine suspension (contains Cacay), Potentci (contains NAG), ABC serum (contains Bakuchiol, Allantoin and Vit C), B2 oil (contains Bakuchiol), concentrated pigmentation fade serum (contains Vit C, NAG, Reproage). Although Illumina contains many of these ingredients, it is too exfoliating to recommend it for this application.
When the microcomedones start to grow and show signs of redness, swelling, and inflammation, use proven products that modulate inflammation and contain some of the following ingredients. There are numerous herbs that are known to be anti-inflammatory. Two of the most popular are Blue Tansy and Comfrey. Bisabolol, allantoin, niacinamide, panthenol and chamazulene are all isolates that promote calming.
The recommended products include B2 oil (Blue Tansy), calming hydroserum (allantoin and calming herbs).
Use next generation spot treatment for existing acne. Next-generation spot treatments heal without drying out and have multi-correction formulas that aim to minimize scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and quickly and gently reduce acne visibility. At Moos we have two that we are very proud of – the Zen Physic Botanical Spot Treatment and the L4B Overnight Spot Shrink Mask.
Consult a beautician who is known for his ability to extract affected comedones and / or a beautician who can perform microcurrent treatment. With microcurrent and a conductive gel, impurities are drawn out of the skin and tissue regeneration is stimulated.
Patience is the name of the game – you can't speed up healing, you have to give your skin the time it takes to clear. But it will be! So keep that in mind and distract yourself with other things so you don't spend too much time being unhappy. Plan special treats for yourself, be very gentle and let yourself be cared for, without skin care or make-up. This is too triggering at this time.