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Ultimate solutions for acne-prone skin

Verity Douglas
Writer and expert6 years ago
View Verity Douglas's profile

Blemish-prone, acneic skin is particularly delicate - which is why it's ironic that the majority of products aimed at temperamental skins are packed with harsh astringents, aggressive exfoliants and a cocktail of chemicals which can do more damage than good. So, if your skin's going through a rough patch - or is always wont to be reactive - you need our edit of recommendations for calming super-stressed skin types.

Switch to sulphur (or 'sulfur' as it's sometimes spelt) - this is what's known as a 'keratolytic'. It mops up excess serum and causes the top level of skin to shed, whilst also being antibacterial. So bascially it helps keep the skin clean and clear of any grease and excess dead skin (which spot and cyst-causing bacteria just love). Kate Somerville's {EradiKate Cleanser} has a creamy, foaming consistency and is powered by 3% sulphur - together with honey, oat and rice bran extracts to calm, balance and heal angry red skin. Cleanse twice - gently remove make up and grime with a warm (not scalding) flannel. Then purge pores of impurities with Foreo's {LUNA for Combination Skin} - a silicone (hygienic!) sonic cleansing device, which encourages circulation, oxygenation and detoxification for a brighter, clearer complexion.

Post-cleansing, target individual imperfections with Kate Somerville's {EradiKate Acne Treatment} - applied with a cotton bud directly to clean skin. The blend of sulphur (which at 10% is the highest level allowed in skin care), alpha hydroxy acids, salicylic acid and zinc oxide works to combat bacteria, absorb excess oil and purge pores of any clogging gunk. Reapply throughout the day for seriously angry blemishes, although reduce if irritation occurs. Follow with an anti-blemish moisturiser - Alpha-H's {Balancing Moisturiser & Gentle Exfoliant} is infused with glycolic acid, to melt the 'glue' that binds pore-clogging dead cells to skin's surface whilst hydrating and protecting with a lightweight, breathable veil.

Don't be tempted to cover-up completely - by smothering your skin with a thick layer of foundation, you not only mask your skin's natural glow, but also exacerbate congestion by plugging up your pores. Jouer's {Matte Moisture Tint} delivers consistent, lightweight and breathable coverage - correcting and perfecting simultaneously.

If you need a little extra camouflage, then apply Kevyn Aucoin's {The Etherealist Super Natural Concealer} - use sparingly (this hides a multitude of sins) and take time to blend with the heat of your fingertips.

Supplement your night-time skin care ritual with a targeted treatment. Alpha-H's {Liquid Gold} does everything - but one of its primary skin-benefits is battling blemishes, whilst brightening existing scars and residual redness. An overnight 'serum', this applies more like a toner - just sweep over skin with a cotton pad and resist the temptation to slather on night cream.

The glycolic acid lowers skin's pH (to about 3) which makes cells work harder to get back to 'normal' (pH 5.5). The results are swift and dramatic - you should see a difference from first application - but if you're new to glycolic, then build up your tolerance gradually. Starting once a week (use dampened cotton wool to dilute the potency), gradually work up to 2 - 3 times a week for maximum skin-clarifying benefit.

On the 'in between-Liquid Gold' nights, condition your skin and encourage detoxification with Odacité's {Oily Acne-Prone Serum Concentrate}. A pure blend of essential oils, this balancing elixir possesses antimicrobial and disinfectant properties, whilst normalising sebum synthesis (fewer blackheads!) and minimising inflammation, to calm, refine and revitalise.

Mask up once a week with Dr Dennis Gross Skincare's {Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask} which contains kaolin clay and 5% colloidal sulphur (there it is again) to instantly resurface, decongest and purify.

You can always go high-tech if you really want to put those blemishes through their paces. The new {ZIIP Beauty Nano Current Skincare Device} has a special 'Total Clearing' programme (which you download to the device through an app) to blitz bacteria on the skin via an electric current. Its other programmes are pretty amazing at plumping and forming, so if you also have ageing skin, it's a win win!


Verity Douglas
Writer and expert
View Verity Douglas's profile
Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...