Skin routine for acne prone skin - Skinora
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Skin routine for acne prone skin

As it is acne awareness month, what better way to discuss one of the most common skin concerns in the UK. Acne affects more than 80 percent of people at some point in their life. Acne typically affects the face, chest and back, and is characterised by the presence of non inflammatory acne, inflammatory or a mixture of both. It can lead to scarring, post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, low self esteem, anxiety and depression.


Non Inflammatory Acne

Also known as comedonal acne, it is characterised by the presence of whiteheads and blackheads. Whiteheads (closed comedones) looks like a white bump due to dead skin cells and oil become trapped within the pores. As the contents of the comedone is trapped and not exposed to air, it appears yellow or whitish in colour.

Blackheads (open comedones) contents (trapped dead skin cells and oil) is exposed to air leading to a reactive with oxygen known as oxidation. This is why they appear black.


Inflammatory Acne

Inflammatory includes papules, pustules, nodules and cysts. The inflammation is typically associated with skin bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes, that grows in the clogged pore.

Papules are smalls tender red bumps. Pustules are small tender bumps filled with pus. Nodules are large lumps that build up beneath the surface of the skin and can be painful. Cysts are large lumps filled with pus.


General advice

Avoid picking or popping the spots as this can lead to more scarring

Avoid excessive cleaning of the skin as this may lead to dryness and irritation

Use non-comedogenic moisturiser, sunscreens and makeup to reduce the risk of further breakouts

Give treatment of acne time, whether this is topical treatment or tablets, it can take up to 8 weeks to see the effects of the treatment.

Skincare Routine

While it’s definitely not one size fits all when it comes to skincare, a balanced routine with the right products for you can make the world of difference



Morning Routine


In the mornings wash your face with an oil free cleanser containing salicylic acid This will help to reduce breakouts, unclogs pores, improve post acne marks/hyperpigmentation as well as providing anti -inflammatory activity for those with oily sensitive skin.


ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Cleanser 200ml


Skinceuticals Blemish + Age Cleanser

Exuviance Clarifying Facial Cleanser

NeoStrata Refine Clarifying Facial Cleanser


On the spot treatment

Apply directly to spots to help clear the skin. Useful active ingredients including niacinamide (reduces acne, reduces the appearance of pore size), salicylic acid, azelaic acid (combats acne, reduces hyperpigmentation, and removes dead skin cells)  and benzoyl peroxide  (inhibits the growth of p.acnes, the bacteria that causes acne, reduces excess oil on the skin and unclogs pores). Depending on what is used in your night time regime, you can apply this in the evenings too.

Skinceuticals Blemish + Age Defense

ZO Skin Health Oil Control Pads for Acne Prone SkinNeoStrata Refine Oil Control Gel

Medik8 Blemish SOS Gel


Oily skin types may stay away from moisturisers as they are worried about more breakouts but when you have a regime focused on reducing oil, these active ingredients tend to leave the skin feeling dry. Aim for lightweight moisturisers that are non-comedogenic (do not clog pores leading to further breakouts) and contain ingredients such as ceramides and fatty acids to strengthen and maintain the skin barrier.

CeraVe Moisturising Lotion

La Roche Effaclar Mat +

Skinceuticals Daily Moisture


Chose lightweight sunscreens that do not leave the skin feeling greasy and shiny. It is important to use sunscreen daily to also prevent the risk of skin cancer and premature ageing of the skin. Oily or acne prone skin types often use alpha and beta hydroxy acids, benzoyl peroxide and vitamin A ingredients that make the skin more sensitive to sun. In addition, acne prone skin types are at risk of post acne marks or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation which are more like to develop and take longer to fade if you avoid using sunscreen.

For those with sensitive oily skin it is better to use a mineral sunscreen.





Use the same cleanser in the morning and consider double cleansing to remove excess oil, makeup and sunscreen as well as increase the likelihood of products penetrating the skin layers deeper.

Oil control masks

Use oil control mask containing sulfur or clay to purify pores, absorb excess sebum and reduce acne breakouts further. You can apply this to your face twice a week in the evenings after cleansing or exfoliating, and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing off.


Skinceuticals Clarifying Clay Masque


Exuviance Professional Purifying Clay Masque Homecare

Vitamin A product

Retinal, retinol or tretinoin are derivatives of vitamin A. They work at a deeper cellular level, where they help to boost collagen and elastin. They are also highly effective at reducing acne as they unclog pores and help to improve post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. They can be quite drying and irritating to begin with. We advise using these products at night after cleansing twice a week to begin and increase if the skin tolerates it well. Finish your routine with a night time moisturiser (apply 10 minutes after retinol application).

Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5

NeoStrata Skin Active Retinol+ NAG Complex

ZO Retinol Skin Brightener 0.5% Retinol

Medik8 Crystal Retinal 6


Nothing beats a personalised skin care regime so why not complete our skin quiz and reach out to our skin experts to create a regime for your specific skin concerns and skin type.

About the Author: Lucinda Appiah

Dr Lucinda Appiah studied Medicine and Haematology at Imperial College London from 2003-2009. She later went on to attain her postgraduate certification in Aesthetic Medicine at Queen Mary University in London with merit and trained with some of the top plastic surgeons and aesthetic medicine practitioners in the country. Dr Appiah also continues to practice as a GP and has extensive experience in treating a range of skin conditions. She has an empathetic approach to all skin concerns and has also had her own skin journey managing post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. She is passionate about working with brands that deliver results backed by science, empowering clients to explore new ingredients and grow their self confidence.

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Last update: June 28th, 2021

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