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How can I use skincare to manage breakouts?


The most common skin complaint I get asked about in clinic is acne. This can include blackheads, whiteheads and cystic spots. Whilst social media offers A LOT on information on what skincare can be used to help with this, its hard to know which information is correct and which is just a #spon Therefore, I am writing this blog to hopefully provide you with the basics to get started, rather than having to wade through the minefield of information on TikTok.


What is Acne?

Acne develops when pores on the surface of the skin become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Several factors can contribute to acne, including genetics, hormonal changes, diet, stress, and improper skincare routines.


Breakouts can affect people of all ages (not just teenagers) and can be something which really affects our confidence about how we feel in our own skin. Thankfully, with the right skincare routine we can dramatically reduce these breakouts and improve our overall skin health.


Skincare Basics for Acne Management


Gentle Cleansing: Keeping the skin clean is essential, but harsh scrubbing can aggravate acne and disrupt the skin barrier. Instead opt for a gentle, non-comedogenic cleanser that remove impurities without stripping the skin of its natural oils.

My favourites include: Cerave Hydrating cleanser, Skinbetter Science cleansing gel, Obagi gentle cleanser.


Exfoliation: Regular exfoliation can remove dead skin cells that clog pores. Chemical exfoliants, such as salicylic acid (BHA) and glycolic acid (AHA), are particularly effective for acne-prone skin. They help to unclog pores and smooth the skin's surface. However, it's important to exfoliate moderately to avoid irritation.

My favourites include: Obagi Pore Therapy


Moisturising: Hydration is key, even for oily and acne-prone skin. Look for lightweight, oil-free moisturisers that hydrate the skin without clogging pores. Proper moisturisation helps maintain the skin's barrier, preventing irritation from acne treatments.

My favourites include: Cerave moisturising lotion, Obagi Hydrate


Sun Protection: Sun exposure can exacerbate acne and lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen EVERY DAY that is suitable for acne-prone skin to protect against UV damage.

My favourites include: Heliocare Oil Free gel


In addition to the basic skincare routine outlined above we can also add in topical treatments that can target acne directly such as:


Benzoyl peroxide which is effective at killing bacteria and reducing inflammation.


Retinoids (eg Tretinoin) to help prevent clogged pores and promote cell turnover.


These are often prescription-based formulas so I would advise speaking to your practitioner for specific advice on what suits your skin type/concerns and how to use them correctly.


Acne treatment requires patience and consistency. It's important to remember that results take time, and what works for one person may not work for another. By developing a skincare routine tailored to your specific skin type and concerns, combined with professional guidance, you can be on your way to your best skin yet!


If you’d like to book in for an online skin consultation with Dr Emma please click the link below:



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