Your skin is fine on one day and clogged the next – full of small bumps and uneven texture. It feels like someone has planted a small microcomedone in every single pore overnight. How did this happen?!
And how can you fix that?
There are several ways a product can freak out your skin – it can cause irritation such as itching, redness, or dryness. Or it can cause acne or constipation. Today we focus on this scenario.
First of all – how do you know if you should blame a product or something else like hormones or a change in diet?
When it is a product, the outbreak is generally fairly severe, fairly quick, and more general. For example, if you normally only break out on the chin, you can also see acne on your cheeks and forehead.
The outbreak usually begins as a microcomedone (that is, many small bumps that can quickly develop into white heads, blackheads, or both). This is the case if the product you are using is only comedogenic.
If it is comedogenic AND anti-inflammatory, you may see larger red acne immediately.
What makes a product comedogenic? The most likely comedogenic products contain many of the following substances: oils, butter, waxes and emulsifiers.
Sometimes you can almost predict whether a product is comedogenic if you feel like it stays on your skin and if you feel like you've used it. Trust your instincts.
You can do the following if you have used a product that you suspect to break out due to feeling on the skin and gut:
Rule number one: Don't use anything new. All skin care products that you will use should be tried and true favorites.
Remove it as soon as possible, gently and thoroughly. I recommend a FOUR STEPS cleaning:
First cleaning: Use a proven oil cleaner that you have used before without any problems. It can be one that emulsifies with water OR that you remove with a washcloth – whatever you have on hand that you TRUST.
Second cleanse: I recommend a gentle, light gel cleanser that contains a version of salicylic acid (natural salicylic acid from plants like willow bark or meadowsweet is usually gentler, so this is what I use and recommend). Again, hopefully you have something that has proven itself on your shelf. The reason why we include salicyl is that it is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), which means that it is oil-soluble. In contrast to water-soluble peels, BHA acids tend to act on the skin surface AND in the pores filled with sebum. They help to "loosen" and dissolve possible pore blockages. If you don't have a salicylic acid cleaner, that's fine – just use any mild gel cleaner you trust.
Third Purge: If you have any detoxifying masks you love, now is the time to use them. If you haven't had a BHA detergent, you may have a BHA mask that you can use. I do not recommend doubling BHA – only use it during the second or third cleaning, not both. If you don't have a mask with BHA, you don't need to worry – just a detoxifying mask you trust. Just leave it on for a few minutes – 5 or less – and then rinse it off.
Our last cleaning is the oil cleaning again. This helps balance and replenish the skin after the gel and mask have been cleaned.
You may be tempted to throw all kinds of acne-fighting products on your skin, but resist the urge. Go with something very simple that is slightly moisturizing and try again. Don't do anything too difficult. A light lotion or moisturizer, or a combination of a simple, highly linoleic facial oil and a soothing mist. Make sure your hydration is balanced between water and lipid.
Keep your skin very simple, light and without overly active agents like AHA or other peels in the next 7 to 10 days (BHA is fine, however). Hopefully you avoided an outbreak!
But what to do if you have already broken out? Your skin is littered with comedones like never before and you just wish you could scrape it off and start over?
A well-established oil cleaner is your friend. Spend extra time each time you gently massage the skin to loosen and pull out the comedones.
Resist the urge to throw all hard, active products you own into the situation. The best solution is a targeted, gentle, and even routine until your skin clears – and it WILL, so don't worry! Keep your routine very simple and easy until your skin is clear.
It is important that your skin is easily moisturized, otherwise you will inhibit your skin's natural metabolic processes, which affect cell turnover and healing. Skin that is too dry does not remove skin cells efficiently and affects the skin's natural ability to remove pore plugs. Alternatively, avoid anything that is too heavy and creamy, as this can lead to constipation, especially with microcomedones that have already been sown. It is important that your humidification contains both fatty and watery components. Avoid the exclusive use of objects that are described as "oil-free" or "water-free". If you use facial oils, be sure to apply a moisturizing mist or serum over it.
Doing 1, 2 and 3 is enough.
If you have products you trust, you can go one step further: Look for products that accelerate cell turnover – but without causing irritation. Please do not use enzymes or acids – they simply remove skin cells and cannot clear your pores. Products that accelerate cell turnover include: phytoretinols (also known as bakuchiol or moth bean extract), retinol and retinoids (research them well, as many have a high potential for irritation), some essential oils (Helichrysum, carrot seeds) and some carrier oils rich in retinoic acid (rose hips and cacay) and some formats of vitamin C (look for non-irritating, stable versions such as sodium ascorbyl phosphate and textrahexyl decyl ascorbate. Other components that accelerate cell turnover are n-acetylglucosamine (NAG), allantoin, or the peptide Acetylhexapeptide-8 (named Reproage).
The products we have in this category include CR-Citrine suspension (contains Cacay), Potentci (contains NAG), ABC serum (contains Bakuchiol, Allantoin and Vit C), B2 oil (contains Bakuchiol), Concentrated pigmentation fade serum (contains vit C, NAG, reproach). Although Illumina contains many of these ingredients, it is too exfoliating to recommend it for this application.
When the microcomedones start to grow and show signs of redness, swelling, and inflammation, use proven products that modulate inflammation and contain some of the following ingredients. There are numerous herbs known to be anti-inflammatory, two of which are the most popular: wisteria and comfrey. Bisabolol, allantoin, niacinamide, panthenol and chamazulene are all soothing isolates.
The recommended products include B2 oil (blue tansy), calming hydroserum (allantoin and calming herbs).
Use next generation spot treatment for existing acne. Next-generation spot treatments heal without drying and have multi-correction formulas that aim to minimize scars and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and quickly and gently reduce acne visibility. At moss we have two that we are very proud of – the Zen Physic botanical stain treatment and the L4B Overnight Spot Shrink Mask.
See a beautician who is known for his skills in extracting affected comedones and / or a beautician who can perform microcurrent treatment. With the help of microcurrent and a conductive gel, impurities are drawn out of the skin and tissue regeneration is stimulated.
Patience is the name of the game – you cannot accelerate healing, you have to give your skin the time it takes to clear. But it will be! So keep that in mind and distract yourself from other things so you don't spend too much time being unhappy. Plan special treats for yourself, be very gentle and treat yourself to self-care that does not include skin care or make-up. This is too triggering at this time.