It’s a specific kind of torment to be blessed with skin that greases up at the slightest provocation. If you’re acne-prone or oily, come sit with us, so we can show you what not to do - By Parizaad Khan SethiSay no to:
Alcohol. This ingredient benefits no skin type or condition. The oily and acne-prone’s desperation to use alcohol-heavy products is strong; it was an old skincare trick to degrease skin with alcoholic toners and astringents and they became must-haves for shiny-faced people. Bad, bad move.
Alcohol dries out the surface of the skin, setting off an automatic response in the oil glands which pump out more sebum to make up for what was lost. So, skin gets greasier a few hours after using these products. Even normal complexions can behave oily when constantly over-cleansed and dried out. Alcohol also amplifies redness and irritation, making acne worse. Scan for products where alcohol is mentioned as one of the first few ingredients. (Ingredients are listed in descending order of volume, the largest come first.) If alcohol, SD alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, alcohol denat or denatured alcohol are high up, you know the product will be a booze-fest. However, ‘fatty’ alcohols like cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl alcohol are moisturizing and good for skin.
Treat even oily and acneic skin gently by using a non-foaming cleanser like Olay Regenerist Revitalizing Cream Cleanser, which doesn’t leave you tight or dry after washing. Apply a lightweight serum appropriate for your specific skin concerns and a light, oil-free moisturiser like La Roche-Posay Toleriane Fluide. If you feel your serum is hydrating enough, skip moisturiser (but stick with a non-greasy sunscreen like La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Sunscreen - Dry Touch). A glycolic or salicylic toner is also helpful to get rid of dead skin cells—these make skin look dull and cause pores to plug-up.
‘Solid’ products like bar soaps and stick or cream compact foundations. Like alcohol, bar soaps are also incredibly drying, and again set off a chain reaction, making the skin produce more oil. The hardeners (mainly fatty acids and waxes) added to soap bars and solid makeup products might cause clogged pores. If you suffer from body acne, switch to a body wash, preferably one with salicylic acid (try Neutrogena’s Body Clear range).
Pick liquid foundation over sticks or cream compacts. And while we’re on the makeup topic, not cleansing foundation and other makeup properly before bed can be an acne nightmare waiting to happen. Double cleanse to get all the gunk off. Yes, that applies even if you’ve fallen into bed face-first after cocktail o’ clock.
Cocoa, shea and coconut butters. If you’re the type to break out even if you look at a heavy cream, avoid this butter brigade. These rich ingredients can clog pores, leading to pimples, blackheads and whiteheads. Coconut and wheat germ oils might also lead you down the acne route.
Mineral oils and petroleum. These ingredients can exacerbate acne, so it’s better to steer clear. Pass on very thick creams and lotions; opt for lighter serums, thinner moisturizers and gels like Forest Essentials Light Hydrating Moisturising Facial Gel Pure Aloe Vera.
Physical exfoliants aka scrubs. Scrubs make me angry. They make your skin angry. So they should make you angry as well. Nothing is more aggravating to acne-prone skin than a sandpaper-textured peach pit scrub grating against it. No good will come from this. You cannot scrub away blackheads. Or whiteheads. Or pimples. But you can get rid of them using salicylic acid or retinol.
Haircare products. Some ingredients in haircare products are known to cause acne bursts (panthenol is one). So, after rinsing off your conditioner, clip your hair up and wash your back, neck, shoulders and chest. And if you see acne around your hairline, know that a hair product is to blame.
is a beauty and wellness editor based in New York. She was the former beauty editor at Vogue India and now serves as a contributing editor for the magazine. At age 5, Parizaad fell in love with an old cream blush she found in the back of her mother’s drawer, and has been in awe of the transformative power of beauty ever since. When she’s not writing about beauty, she researches advances in skincare as a hobby, and is constantly guinea-pigging herself in the name of beauty.
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