Acne can be a pain to deal with no matter your skin type, but if you have sensitive skin, it can be even more confusing. Products that work for your friends and family may be too irritating for your skin. So what should you do?
Acne treatment for sensitive skin should focus around using products specifically made for sensitive skin so you can take care of your breakouts while minimizing issues like irritation. Let’s take a look at how acne develops and how to best deal with it if you have sensitive skin.
How acne develops
Acne is caused by a number of natural processes and elements within your skin. Your skin’s sebaceous glands produce sebum, an oil-like substance that helps hydrate your skin by sealing in moisture.
Then you’ve got dead skin cells. Your skin is constantly repairing and renewing itself – fresh skin cells push upward to the surface of your skin, while the dead skin cells detach. This process is called epidermal turnover, and it’s completely natural.
You develop whiteheads and blackheads when sebum mixes with dead skin cells and other debris, clogging your pores. Acne-causing bacteria can infiltrate a clogged pore and irritate it even further, resulting in acne, papules or pustules.
The best acne treatment for sensitive skin
When you’re looking for acne products for sensitive skin, focus on products that target acne-causing elements but are not overloaded with too many active ingredients. When figuring out how to get rid of acne for sensitive skin, it’s all about evaluating what works for your unique skin, starting slowly and observing what your skin can tolerate.
1. Benzoyl peroxide
Acne-causing bacteria can only thrive in a low-oxygen environment. Benzoyl peroxide is a popular ingredient that works by delivering high-doses of oxygen to potential acne-causing bacteria, effectively stopping it in its tracks. Be aware that if you have sensitive skin, the risk of experiencing side effects such as dryness and stinging is increased. You can reduce this risk by using benzoyl peroxide in a cleanser rather than a lotion that stays on your skin for a long time.
You’ll love the Skin Smoothing Exfoliator in the Proactiv®+ Acne Treatment System. It’s formulated with microcrystal benzoyl peroxide and engineered to be extra gentle as it washes away excess oil and dirt.
Exfoliants help remove the layer of dead skin cells and oil that builds up over time. There are chemical exfoliants, like salicylic acid, and then there are mechanical exfoliants like brushes that remove dead skin cells with motion. Mechanical exfoliants can be rough on sensitive skin so you’ll want to focus on chemical exfoliants. Side effects can include irritation, so you’ll want to use exfoliants sparingly and wash them off shortly after applying them.
The Skin Smoothing Exfoliator in Proactiv+ uses smooth exfoliating beads to carefully remove dead skin cells, making it ideal for sensitive skin.
3. Topical retinoids
Retinoids speed up the turnover rate of your skin cells so fresh ones cycle to the surface quicker. This reduces the risk of dead skin cells clogging your pores. While they have been one of the most common and effective acne treatments for decades, they can cause side effects, such as redness, dryness, stinging and flaking.
Our suggested topical retinoid treatment is Adapelene Gel and comes as part of the ProactivMD® 3-Piece System.
Tips for taking care of sensitive skin
The skin you’ve always dreamt of is achievable even with sensitive skin, it just requires you take special care when planning your skincare routine. Here are some techniques to help fend off potential irritation.
1. Wash your face twice a day.
Excessively washing your skin can lead to irritation, and can increase the amount of oil your skin produces. When you remove oil by washing more than twice a day, your skin can increase its production of oil to keep up with its hydration needs. The one exception is that you should wash your face after exercising or sweating excessively to prevent creating a humid environment for acne-causing bacteria.
2. Avoid scrubbing your skin aggressively.
Avoid irritating your sensitive skin by gently applying products with your fingertips instead of a rough washcloth. Also, make sure not to press too hard when drying your skin with a clean towel.
3. Use moisturizer.
Moisturizer is an essential part of any skincare routine, regardless of skin type. Don’t wait until your skin feels dry. Instead, make sure you incorporate it into your regular morning and evening routine.
4. Keep your skincare routine simple.
Instead of trying to max out the number of acne-fighting products, focus on fewer, more powerful ingredients. When introducing new products, start slowly to give your skin time to work up its tolerance. This helps prevent redness, peeling, stinging and flaking in sensitive skin.
The bottom line
The combination of sensitive skin and acne can be tough to deal with, but with the right habits and the Proactiv® acne treatment system that’s right for your unique skin type, it can be easy!