Ah, acne. Bane of my existence and probably yours too when you decided to read this post. Whether the reasons for acne are fluctuating hormone levels, your diet, stress, or that new product you decided to try out, cleansing and moisturizing your face can be hard to do when you have acne. From the outside at least, your skin might look like a battlefield with mini-volcanoes on your face that threaten eruption all the time!
I find the best way to defuse those acne-volcanoes is through a very gentle, balancing skincare routine. The key is balance. You do not want anything that’s strips your face’s natural oils too much nor do you want something that is overly moisturizing. For instance, I have dry-combination skin on top of acne-prone skin and while I want to moisturize the heck out of my dry patches, I don’t go for products that are overly moisturizing because my combination areas will rebel in the form of acne. Thanks, skin!
(super-cool action movie music.)
Have no fear though! This post is equal parts product recommendation and hopefully helpful tips for you to have a great skincare routine AND also enjoy it without aggravating your acne. If you are curious about any of these products, I encourage you to sample them first and do a patch-test on your skin, before jumping for the full-size! Testing a product out is key – what works for my skin, might not work for yours.
Okay? Go ahead and make the jump!
Pick: One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil ($38).
There’s so much to love about One Love Organics products. They’re extremely accessible, packaged beautifully, and made with simple and smart ingredients. I’ve been slowly and silently falling in love with the Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics line. I was initially drawn to the promise that the line promoted “active moisture” for dry skin and ended up loving my purchased products because it balanced my acne-prone skin so well.
The Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil is a great gateway product to the rest of the ED4OLO line. At first, it might not seem like much – it comes out a thick, clear, and lightly fragranced with pineapples, but it wows you when you warm it up on your face and turn it into a milky emulsion with some water. One of my very favorite things to do after a long day is to apply the Cleansing Oil and place a warm towel over my face. Makeup, outside environmental grime, and stress melts away while I breathe in the sweet pineapple fragrance. Sometimes, I can see the stubborn blackheads on my nose disappear too! In the end, I feel clean and comfortable but not squeaky clean like I’ve been stripped away of all my natural oils.
I love it when a product is both versatile and able to produce noticeable results. Through near-daily use of the Vitamin B Cleansing Oil, I’ve been seen a lot less cystic acne and more happy skin. The Cleansing Oil is the best and most gentle daily cleanser I have ever used and it makes me look forward to cleansing my face. Thanks for making such a great product, One Love Organics!
Pick: One Love Organics Brand New Day Microderma Scrub & Masque ($39. Pictured below is the discover size which retails for $12).
Ingredients: Organic Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Organic Pisum Sativum (Sweet Pea) Flour, Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate, Organic Ananas Comosus (pineapple) fruit extract, Sodium Myristoyl Glutamate, proprietary natural and organic fragrance compounds
Exfoliating might be the hardest step to figure out when you have acne. You want to exfoliate before make-up application or just to get rid of dry patches but not so much that you’ll make your acne bumps bleed or scar. The first thing – using scrubs that have hard crystalline ingredients (sugar, salt) on your face is not a good idea. Even more so, exfoliating too hard with sugar and salt crystals causes minor abrasions on delicate facial skin. So I would say, save the salt and sugar scrubs for the rest of your body, and instead use One Love Organics Brand New Day for your face. I came across Nicolle Mackinnon’s review of Brand New Day on No More Dirty Looks where she loved its gentle exfoliating action for her sensitive skin and I thought, hey, this might work for my acne-prone skin too!
I’m really glad I made the jump. Brand New Day has been my good skin buddy for the past month and I’m distressed that my cute travel size one is almost finished. When you first sprinkle Brand New Day in your hand, you have to marvel at how soft the sweet pea flour grains feels in your hands and then you smell that amazing pineapple fruit extract fragrance right after. Only a few drops of water is needed to turn Brand New Day into a creamy, foamy, exfoliant in the palm in your hands and better yet, a teaspoon of raw honey to make it into the best facial mask ever. The exfoliating granules in Brand New Day are incredibly fine – I used it on a recent flare-up of cystic/hormonal acne and didn’t experience any irritation or bleeding at all.
If you want so badly to exfoliate even though you have a face full of acne, go gentle and try Brand New Day.
Pick: Osmia Organics Spot Treatment ($20).
Ingredients: organic evening primrose oil and essential oils of lavender*, cajeput*, lemon*, parsley, thyme, cypress*, and rosemary CO2* (*organic).
This is it. Osmia Organics Spot Treatment is the one. It’s cute, conveniently packaged in a rollerball, has an ingredient list that reads like an aromatic herbal and spice bouquet – and most importantly, it works without giving you that harsh, tingly feeling. I’ve tried it on all the different kinds of acne I get: cystic acne that have bursted (gross, I know), stress-related acne, and hormonal acne. I find that the Spot Treatment works best on cystic acne and stress-related acne for me. Consistently dabbing at them with the Spot Treatment really speeds up the healing process and I worry less about acne scarring. I already have too much of that, thanks.
It’s the stuff my pimply 16 year-old self could only dream about. I have been burned in the past with every acne treatment you can think of – salicylic acid/benzoyl peroxide creams prescribed by my doctor, witch hazel or tea tree treatments, and even dabbing toothpaste on pimples which my college roommate swore by. I’m not lucky enough to escape the clutches of acne as an adult but I’m so glad I have Osmia’s Spot Treatment to help.
I think it’s important to note that the Spot Treatment smells incredible – it’s very strong and hits your nose instantly but my mouth waters at the combined fragrance of parseley, thyme, and rosemary essential oils in it. The Spot Treamtent is like an acne-busting bouquet garni for my face and I don’t think I can live without it anymore.
And finally, an anecdote to end all anecdotes: I convinced my toothpaste-slathering roommate to give Osmia’s Spot Treatment a try and she loves it enough to buy her second bottle. So there’s that!
Pick: Meow Meow Tweet Face Oil ($25).
Ingredients: *hempseed oil, *jojoba oil, *sesame oil, essential oils of *carrot seed, *juniper, *patchouli & *vetiver (*organic ingredient)
Meow Meow Tweet Face Oil is hands-down the best facial oil for acne-prone skin I have ever tried. I should know because I’m currently on my third bottle and close to finishing it!
As you can see in the picture above, the evergreen color of the face oil is just as pleasing as Meow Meow Tweet’s design aesthetics. At the very beginning of trying out this face oil, I was taken aback by the fragrance of it – it’s powerful, earthy, and grassy from the juniper, patchouli, and vetiver essential oils. It’s something I’ve grown to love and I look forward to the scent because it’s just so energizing. If you’re a big fan of earthy scents over floral ones, this is the face oil for you! Despite the strong scent, the face oil sinks into skin very fast and doesn’t clog up pores. The hempseed oil, jojoba oil, and sesame oil base is so lightweight and the face oil disappears into skin almost instantly. Even the dry parts of my face is happily moisturized. And even better, hempseed oil has natural sun protection properties – it has a SPF of 6! It might not be enough SPF for a long day in the sun but it can’t hurt to have some kind of protection.
Meow Meow Tweet’s Face Oil is simple and uncomplicated in a good way. Sometimes, I switch it up and go for a facial serum that has a more complicated ingredient list but my skin keeps telling me to go back to this one. And when I listen to my skin, I get less acne.
BONUS product recommendations:
If you have particularly confused skin that desperately needs balance, I would suggest these two products:
1. I’ve been getting my external vitamin fix through One Love Organics Vitamin C Facial Serum ($68). I can’t say if I’ve been getting less acne solely because of this Vitamin C serum but my skin is incredibly happy and balanced! I like layering this facial serum (it really has more of a thick gel-like texture than an oil-one) after cleansing and letting it sink in before I apply extra drops of another facial serum on top. I like that the Vitamin C serum locks in moisture so that my skin stays hydrated longer than just applying facial serums without anything else.
2. I think from my experience of my sample of Osmia Organics Active Gel Toner ($58), it serves a very similar function to the One Love Organics Vitamin C Facial Serum. It’s also has a gel texture and the hyaluronic acid in it keeps my dry skin moist and plump for a long time. The Active Gel Toner worked really well under makeup and kept me looking dewy and fresh-faced. I’ve already dug out every last bit of the Active Gel Toner from my little sample container and I think I need the full size soon!
Q. Please feel free to chime in the comment section and tell me your favorite skincare products for your acne-prone skin. What works for you and what doesn’t? Have you tried any of the products I recommend? Let me know!