Who said that acne is only for teenagers?
Sometimes, it sneaks up on you as soon as you hit menopause. Other times, it’s more impatient and gets you in your 30s.
Like you hadn’t enough on your plate already. Like, you know, wrinkles… How the heck do you deal with both at the same time?
If you fight acne aggressively, your skin will become so dry, your wrinkles will be more obvious than ever. If you treat wrinkles with rich creams or sunscreens, you’ll make your acne worse. Argh!
Fret not. You can treat both acne and wrinkles at the same time. Luckily, some of the best antiaging superstars double as acne fighters. You just need to introduce them into your skincare routine in the right way. Here’s how:
Morning Skincare Routine
1. Gentle Cleanser
The #1 mistake women make when dealing with acne? Picking a cleanser that’s way too harsh in an effort to dry the acne away.
It ALWAYS backfires. A harsh cleanser dries out the skin, which reacts by producing even more sebum. Skin is dried out alright, but the acne’s still there.
Instead, opt for a gentle foaming cleanser. Anything with sodium lauryl sulfate is banned. It’s too harsh and irritating. Stay away from bar soaps and milky cleansers, too. They can clog pores and worsen acne.
- Clean & Clear Essentials Foaming Facial Cleanser, Sensitive Skin ($3.86)
- Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Oil-Free Foaming One-Step Cleanser ($35.00)
- Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser ($6.49)
Acne’s a job for salicylic acid (BHA). It’s the only exfoliant that gets deep inside the pores, removing all the excess sebum, dead skin cells and other crap that’s clogging them up.
It removes dead cells from the surface of the skin, so they won’t end up in the pores and clog them again. Basically, it keeps your pores clean so breakouts can’t happen.
By the way, salicylic acid must stay on your skin for hours to work its magic. Leave rinse-off products on the shelves. They won’t work as well.
- Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum ($90.00)
- Paula’s Choice Resist BHA 9 For Stubborn Imperfections ($43.00)
- Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Pore-Refining Solution 2% BHA ($33.00)
3. Antioxidant Serum
Free radicals are your skin’s biggest enemy. These unstable molecules lack one electron. They desperately crave it. So, they crawl through your body looking for healthy molecules to attack and steal the electron from.
The attacked molecule is now a free radical, looking for another electron to steal. It’s the start of a deadly chain reaction that leads to wrinkles and dark spots.
Antioxidants stop free radicals in their tracks. Your body knows free radicals are coming, so it naturally produces antioxidants to destroy them before they can wreak havoc.
But, your skin needs a lot more antioxidants than your body can naturally produce. That’s where a healthy diet and skincare come in.
The best one? None of them. Just like your body doesn’t need only kale, your skin doesn’t need only green tea. The more antioxidants you feed it, the younger and healthier it is.
- Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum ($80.00)
- Paula’s Choice Resist Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum ($30.00)
- Skin Actives Antioxidant Serum ($22.00)
4. Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Hyaluronic acid is a moisture magnet. It attracts the water in the air into the skin and binds it there. It’s so good, it can bind up to 1000 times its weight in water!
Another pro? Hyaluronic acid works well both in high and low humidity conditions. No matter where you are, it’ll do the job!
Some antioxidants serums or moisturizers already have enough hyaluronic acid to keep your skin happy. If not, use a separate hyaluronic acid serum now.
- Bakel Deep Hydration Serum (£106.00)
- Niod Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex ($38.00)
- Paula’s Choice Resist Hyaluronic Acid Booster ($46.00)
Related: Spotlight On Hyaluronic Acid
5. Moisturizer With Niacinamide
This is the most challenging part. Your skin needs a moisturizer loaded with antioxidants to fight free radicals and hydrating enough not to turn your skin into a flaky mess.
And niacinamide. Plenty of niacinamide. It’s a form of vitamin B3 that fights wrinkles, fades dark spots, hydrates skin, soothes irrations and treats acne. There’s nothing it can’t do.
But, texture matters here. Anything that’s too rich and creamy is out of the question. That’ll clog your pores and worsen your acne. Instead, go for lightweight lotions and emulsions.
- Cerave Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM ($15.49)
- Olay Regenerist Regenerating Lotion With Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($22.99)
- Paula’s Choice Resist Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator ($33.00)
Related: Spotlight On Niacinamide
Another challenge! The best sunscreens use zinc oxide, but it’s so thick and greasy, it may cause breakouts. You can totally give it a try and see how it goes.
But, don’t limit yourself. In this case, it may be worth to go for a sunscreen hybrid that mixes zinc oxide with safe synthetic filters. Or, if your skin is super oily, go down the synthetic route entirely.
Just make sure there’s no alcohol in sight. Alcohol is often used to turn rich and creamy formulas into almost-runny, thin concoctions. But, it’s terribly drying and could trick your skin into producing even more oil. That’s the last thing you want.
- Cyberderm Sun Whip Every Morning SPF 25 ($34.00)
- Elta MD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47 ($22.00)
- Paula’s Choice Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen SPF 50 ($17.00)
Night Time Skincare Routine
1. Double Cleaser
Time to take the makeup off, ladies! I love oils, for this. I know, I know. But, hear me out.
Remember what your chemistry teacher said about “like attracting like?” Oils like jojoba oil attract the oils in your makeup and sunscreen, making it easier to rinse them off the skin.
My fave oil for acne-prone skin is jojoba. It’s very similar to human sebum so it doesn’t clog pores or irritate your skin. It’s an old friend.
Yes, it leaves a residue behind. If it bothers you, remove it with your morning foaming cleanser. Done.
Related: What Is The Oil Cleansing Method?
2. Vitamin A
Why use one treatment for acne and one for wrinkles when the one will do? With vitamin A, you can kill two birds with one stone. Here’s why:
- It speeds up cellular turnover (the skin’s natural exfoliant process)
- It fights the free radicals that cause premature wrinkles
- It boosts the production of collagen, keeping skin firm
- It busts acne
Vitamin A comes in many forms. You can go down the prescription route and get yourself some tretinoin or you stick to OTC serums with retinol. Retinol works more slowly, but it’s gentler on the skin.
Mind you, both will irritate and dry out your skin at first. That’s why it’s best to start slowly. Use it only two or three times a week to start with and increase frequency gradually.
It’s also not a bad idea to start with a small concentration of retinol (believe it or not, 1% is A LOT) and work your way up slowly.
- Paula’s Choice Resist 1% Retinol Booster ($52.00)
- SkinMedica Retinol Complex 1.0 ($90.00)
- The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% (£8.00)
3. Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Again, this is optional. If you’re already getting your hyaluronic acid somewhere else, you can skip this. But if your skin’s on the dry side when you wake up in the morning, use a separate hyaluronic acid serum at night.
4. Moisturizer With Niacinamide
No, you don’t need a different moisturizer at night. Your skin needs at night what it needs in the morning. Just buy the one and use it twice a day.
Are you dealing with acne and wrinkles at the same time? If so, what’s your skincare routine like and what products do you recommend to treat both? Let me know in the comments below!