Have you tried everything to get rid of your acne, but it just won’t go away?
Or worse, that anti-acne routine that cleared your skin for the past few months stopped working and the breakouts are now back with a vengeance?
It’s like you’re cursed or something…
What if I told you you’re inadvertently doing something that’s sabotaging all your best efforts to get rid of acne?
It’s not your fault. A lot of the anti-acne advice out there is misleading, contradictory, or just plain wrong. Doubling down on retinoids and cleansing 3 times a day like you read in Allure? That’s an invitation for acne to stay…
The good news is that once you understand what’s sabotaging your anti-acne efforts, you can banish acne once and for all.
Here are 5 reasons why your acne won’t go away – and what to do about them:
1. You Don’t Know What Causes Your Acne
You know what they say: knowing your enemy is half the battle won.
This is true in the fight against acne, too. If you don’t know what the root cause of YOUR acne is, how can you treat it? Throw everything at it and hope something works? That’s more likely to make things worse.
On the surface, the cause of acne is simple:
- Your sebaceous glands go into overdrive and pump up way more sebum (oil) than your skin needs.
- This excess oil gets stuck in your pores, where it mixes with dead cells and other impurities, forming clogs.
- These clogs get infected with bacteria (P. Acnes loves to munch on excess sebum), giving you acne.
Hormones play a huge role here. Testosterone is the worst culprit. When it’s out of balance, it triggers an overproduction of sebum that eventually leads to acne. But insulin and many others can contribute to it, too.
If your acne isn’t going away, you likely have a hormonal imbalance. This is different for every person. You’ll need to see a doctor to understand exactly what’s going on in your skin.
In the meantime, you can avoid common triggers that cause your hormones to get out of whack, like a diet rich in sugar, dairy, and processed foods, and chronic stress.
I recommend you keep a skincare diary and note down what’s going on in your life when you get a bad bout of acne. Did you binge on chocolate chip cookies and cheese? Were you going through a stressful period at work? Did you eat an irregular diet because you were too busy to cook healthy meals?
Keeping a log will help you identify the triggers to avoid to keep acne at bay.
Related: Can Meditation Clear Up Your Skin?
Looking for a cost-effective anti-acne routine that really works? Download your FREE “The Ordinary Anti-Acne Skincare Routine” cheatsheet to get started today:
2. Your Diet Is Sabotaging Your Acne
Treating acne is an inside job.
Sure, skincare plays a part. As long as you use the right anti-acne ingredients (more on that below). But skincare can’t do it all.
No matter how good your skincare products are. If you keep eatings foods that trigger acne, they won’t be able to clear it fast enough. The acne will just keep coming back again. And again. And again.
Every person is different. What triggers acne in one person may do no harm to someone else (unfair, I know). But there are some foods that are more likely to trigger acne than others.
You guessed it, they’re all the usual culprits: dairy, sugar, and processed foods. The less of them you eat, the better for your skin.
Related: Does Dairy Cause Acne?
3. You Aren’t Using The Right Skincare Products
What if I told you that 90% of skincare products marketed as “anti-acne” don’t contain a single ingredient that can cure acne? Hard to believe, but true.
I see it all the time with my clients. They come to me after trying EVERYTHING at Sephora, but when I take a look at their skincare routines, I can’t see one single product that can kill P.Acnes.
Here’s what you need to do the job:
- Benzoyl Peroxide: It kills P. Acnes, the bacteria that causes acne.
- Retinoids: They speed up the skin’s natural exfoliating process, so dead cells can’t fall into your pores and clog them up.
- Salicylic Acid (BHA): A must-have in any anti-acne routine, this exfoliant removes all the crap that’s clogging up your pores and feeding acne.
- Sulfur: Another P.Acnes killer.
If your skincare routine doesn’t contain at least ONE of these ingredients (definitely NEVER use Benzoyl Peroxide and sulfur in the same routine), it’s not doing anything to treat acne.
- Epionce Purifying Spot Gel ($38.00): available at at Dermstore
- Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($29.00): available at Dermstore, Look Fantastic, Paula’s Choice and Selfridges
- Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief ($20.00): available at Sephora and Ulta
- The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion (£8.00): available at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty and Feel Unique
Related: 3 Little Known Anti-Acne Ingredients For Clearer Skin
4. You’re Using Skincare Products That Make Acne Worse
Are you using any of the skincare products below?
- Anything high in oils
- Essential oils
- High pH-cleansers
- Peel-off masks
Stop! They’re making your acne worse.
Oils are normally moisturising, but when your skin already produces too much of it, that’s the last thing it needs. You’re basically feeding acne bacteria. Eww!
Essential oils are irritating and can cause inflammation. Guess what acne is? An inflammatory disease!
Everything else disrupts the skin’s protective barrier, leaving your skin more prone to inflammation and irritations. You’re making your skin a more comfortable place for P.Acnes to live in. Of course, it won’t leave!
Related: 5 Acne Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making
5. You’re Overusing Your Skincare Products
So, you’ve finally got rid of all the irritating products in your stash and replaced them with tried and tested actives that can kick acne in the butt.
Great! Just don’t go overboard now. I know you want to throw everything at your acne to get rid of it ASAP. But in skincare, less is always more.
Washing your face more than twice a day, exfoliating daily, using high concentrations of retinol when you still haven’t been tolerance to them all spell trouble for your skin.
In moderation, these products help you fight acne. When abused, they disrupt the skin’s protective barrier, causing inflammation, and creating the perfect environment for P.Acnes to thrive.
Acne-prone skin needs tender loving care. Use actives in moderation, be gentle, and do nothing that causes inflammation. Your skin will heal much faster.
Related: 5 Skincare Treatments That Can Damage Skin When Abused
The Bottom Line
Your acne won’t go away? Figure out your triggers, switch to an acne-free diet, and make sure you use skincare products that kill P.Acnes (not make it thrive!). Your skin will thank you and your acne will disappear for good.