If you have acne-prone skin, the path to a clear, unblemished complexion isn’t a straight line. Acne-prone skin means breakouts happen often and they don’t just go away on their own. It’s complicated and disappointing, especially when you have friends who swear by a single cleanser for their perfect complexion, but the good news is that there are steps you can take to manage acne-prone skin.
It all starts with understanding what exactly is fueling your breakouts — that knowledge brings power and it allows you to adjust your routine accordingly. Take notes as we break down what it looks like to have acne-prone skin, plus tips on how to manage breakouts.
What Causes Acne?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), acne is a skin condition that can cause blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and acne cysts or nodules. Acne appears when the skin’s pores become clogged, this happens when dead skin cells, oils, dirt and impurities build up and get trapped inside.
In your teenage years, acne becomes a common occurrence because of a lovely, complicated thing called hormones. Hormones increase the size of the skin’s oil glands, increasing oil production and leading to clogged pores and dreaded acne, according to the AAD.
Unfortunately, making it past your teen years doesn't mean acne magically goes away. According to the AAD, you can continue to get acne in your 30s, 40s, and 50s and sometimes, you may even experience acne for the first time as an adult.
What Does It Mean to Have Acne-Prone Skin?
The term acne-prone is for skin that deals with breakouts easily and frequently. It’s important to note that your skin doesn’t break out because it’s acne-prone, but rather your skin is more susceptible to things like stress, new skin care products and hormones, which then leads to breakouts. Something as simple as not changing your bed linens and pillowcase can cause acne when you have acne-prone skin.
How Do I Know If I Have Acne-Prone Skin?
Now that you know what acne-prone skin entails, you’re probably wondering how you can tell if you have it. The truth is, identifying acne-prone skin is actually pretty simple. It all starts with paying attention to your skin, so if you notice that you suffer from regular breakouts that don’t go away, you’re likely dealing with acne-prone skin.
If you’re someone who breaks out after trying a new moisturizer or foundation, you probably have acne-prone skin. If you’ve ruled out the idea of having acne-prone skin because you have dry skin, you need to reconsider. Yes, excess oils can contribute to acne but dry skin can also be acne-prone, especially when it’s fueled by hormones. If you’re still unsure, consult with your dermatologist.
4 Tips for Managing Acne-Prone Skin
Rather than asking how to get rid of acne-prone skin, you should be asking how to manage it. Lifestyle changes and using the right ingredients can help to get a proper handle on your breakouts. Here are a few tips for managing acne-prone skin.
1. Visit a Dermatologist
This may seem obvious but still worth saying: If you have acne-prone skin or you think you may, regardless of your age, it’s always a smart idea to see your dermatologist. A derm can help you devise a skin care plan tailored to your complexion’s needs, along with the necessary treatments and prescriptions. If you’re dealing with hormonal acne, washing your face and using topical treatments may not be enough, as per the AAD, which is another reason why you should always consult with your doctor.
2. Be Patient and Apply Your Acne Treatments Properly
According to the AAD, it can take six to eight weeks before you begin to notice an improvement after starting prescriptions and topicals for the treatment of acne. Being patient is always hard but acne isn’t going to go away overnight. If you’ve hit the eight week mark and you still don’t see a difference, it could be the way you’re applying your treatments.
The AAD recommends applying a thin layer of your acne treatment all over your complexion, not just the blemishes you’re trying to treat. The reason is that you want to be proactive by addressing all the acne-prone areas of your face, not just budding blemishes.
3. Pay Attention to Ingredients
If you experience regular breakouts, there are two common acne-fighting ingredients you’ll want to know about. Consult with your dermatologist about adding any of these ingredients to your routine.
Salicylic acid: This is an oil-soluble beta hydroxy acid (BHA), and chemical exfoliant that breaks down dead skin cells to effectively treat clogged pores and acne. You can find salicylic acid in various types of skin care products, including cleansers, scrubs, creams and cleansing wipes. The L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Derm Intensives 3.5% Glycolic Acid Cleanser contains the ingredient and helps to minimize the appearance of large pores. It also contains glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) commonly paired with BHAs in the treatment of acne to minimize oiliness, per the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Benzoyl peroxide: The AAD states that benzoyl peroxide works to kill acne-causing bacteria. It’s commonly prescribed by dermatologists to treat acne and you can typically find benzoyl peroxide in myriad products, such as face washes, creams, gels, or cleansing cloths.
4. Use Non-Comedogenic Makeup
Using the right skin care products isn’t the only thing you should keep in mind regarding your acne-prone beauty routine. You’ll also want to use makeup essentials that won’t further irritate your acne-prone skin, which means looking for non-comedogenic products, as these won’t clog your pores.
The good news is that you don’t have to shy away from foundation if you have acne-prone skin. The L’Oréal Paris True Match Super Blendable Foundation has a natural finish with a non-comedogenic formula that effortlessly blends into the skin with medium coverage.
If you want full-coverage, try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation, Lightweight. The non-comedogenic formula provides a radiant, buildable finish while resisting sweat, water and transfer. If you have oily skin and want something matte, reach for the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder. You can use this fan-favorite powder foundation on its own or to set your liquid foundation.
Along with your foundation, you should also look for non-comedogenic complexion products like bronzer, blush and concealer. The L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Soft Matte Bronzer is a transfer-proof, bronzing and contouring powder with a matte, long-wearing finish that won’t clog your pores. For the cheeks, try the L’Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Lip and Cheek Tint, a dewy tint that can be also worn on the lips to sport a monochrome makeup look.
Photography: Chaunte Vaughn, Senior Art Direction: Melissa San Vicente-Landestoy, Senior Visual Designer: Hannah Packer, Associate Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi, Wardrobe Assistant: Victoria Ochoa, Digital Tech: Kyle Thompson, Model: AnnChristine Velazquez
Discover more tips & tricks
Shop Featured Makeup products