Acne-prone Black skin
Okay, so first of all, let’s just all agree that acne is the worst. It’s 2019, and yet SOMEHOW there is still no cure for acne?! This is why women need to rule the world. This shit would have been solved decades ago! Science, do better.
There may not be a cure for acne, but there are ways to get it under control and get your skin feelin’ smoother than D’Angelo’s vocals. Regardless of if you’re experiencing teenage acne, hormonal breakouts, or any other form of acne, science actually has come a long way when it comes to treating and preventing breakouts. In dermatology, the tried and true approach to solving pretty much ANY skin condition is called Combination Therapy. For all of us non-doctors, that means using a specific combination of products TOGETHER, not just one single product, to get results.
Combination Therapy is not a new concept–in fact, it’s something we already do every day. For example, we combine toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss to take care of our teeth, because we know we can’t use JUST a toothbrush and expect to have healthy teeth! In the same way, we can’t expect that using only a face wash or spot treatment will be enough to clean, prep, treat, AND protect our skin.
The general formula for Combination Therapy acne skincare works like this: Cleanse, balance, treat, protect. The hard part is knowing what products to use and in what order. After trying a LOT of different options, here’s what we found to be the best complete solution for treating and preventing acne for black and brown skin tones: Rodan + Fields Unblemish Regimen
We love this regimen because it’s super user friendly, designed by some of the most respected (and female) dermatologists in the game, and it’s backed by a 60 day return policy! You can literally return the empty bottles for a full refund as long as it’s within 60 days of your original purchase date. So really, all you have to lose is your acne.
This particular kit comes with everything you need to kick your acne to the curb: Cleanser, Toner, Treatment, and Protectant. Regardless of what product combination you choose, look for these features:
Sulfur has been used for centuries to help cleanse the skin of toxins and impurities. It’s a tried and true ingredient that is gentle enough for daily use and yet still is effective. It works to absorb the excess oil and sebum that leads to breakouts. Avoid foaming cleansers that have Sodium Laurel Sulfate (the ingredient that makes the foaming happen). This can actually make acne worse. Bottom line, avoid it and opt for something gentle and sulfur-based, like the one in the Rodan + Fields Unblemish kit.
Pro tip: Use your sulfur cleanser as a mask once a week for a deeper clean. Don’t overdo it though! In general, follow the motto that LESS IS MORE when it comes to skincare products.
Toning your skin is one of those things that a lot of us don’t really understand and yet we have a lot of opinions about. So let’s just educate ourselves instead: toner restores skin’s pH level to normal, which is SUPER important for acne-prone skin. When your pH is out of whack (like right after you wash it), this can signal your body to start producing too much oil, which can lead to more acne. With toner, you nip that vicious cycle in the bud.
Pro tip: apply toner with little gauze pads rather than cotton balls or rounds. The gauze pads are way more economical because they don’t absorb all the liquid, and they are better for your skin because they don’t leave little fibers in your pores like cotton balls or cotton pads can.
Treatment + Prevention
Spot treating your breakouts is kind of like flossing just the tooth that already has a cavity as opposed to flossing all your teeth (you are flossing your teeth, right? RIGHT?!). Instead of waiting for new blemishes to pop up and treating them after the fact, using an all-over treatment can help to keep those little suckers away before they come up. We recommend Benzoyl Peroxide treatments, and so does the American Academy of Dermatology. According to the experts, Benzoyl Peroxide is especially effective for pigmented skin. But be careful! Maximum strength Benzoyl Peroxide is unnecessarily harsh, and it will actually cause more problems for your skin. We love that the Rodan + Fields treatment has 5% Benzoyl Peroxide–it’s strong enough to tackle acne without causing dryness or irritation.
Pro Tip: Opt for a treatment that is transparent so you can use day and night. The Rodan + Fields treatment is transparent, lightweight, and won’t leave you feeling sticky, so you can wear makeup right over it if you want!
Moisture + Protection
The last step to ANY skincare routine should always be to moisturize and protect with SPF. You may think you don’t need sunscreen, but guess what? UV rays cause cancer, and cancer doesn’t discriminate. So regardless, you should opt for an SPF 30 daily protector. The sunscreen in the Unblemish kit also doubles as an oil-control moisturizing lotion–double win!
Now, you can try and come up with your own mix, but beware: ALL of the ingredients in each step need to work together, and unless you’re a scientist or doctor, you probably won’t know which ingredients go together and which ones don’t. So instead of experimenting on your face, leave the science part to the experts and get yourself a complete kit that is made to work together.
Besides using the right combination of products, we’ve compiled some other tips for healing your skin and keeping it clear:
Remove your makeup BEFORE you apply a cleanser. It may sound weird, but keep in mind that cleansers that are designed to help treat and prevent acne are meant to have direct contact with your skin. Therefore, you need to wash your makeup off first! We like gentle cleansers that DON’T have active acne-treatment ingredients in them. This Cetaphil Cleanser is a good choice: it’s gentle and effective and it won’t throw off the ingredients of your acne treatment regimen.
Wash your pillowcases and towels at least once per week, and use a fresh towel or wash cloth each time you dry your face. Don’t rub or aggressively scrub your face–instead, treat it gently and pat it dry. Rubbing will only cause more inflammation, which is the exact opposite of what you want if you’re dealing with acne.
Be patient. Acne begins developing long before you actually see it on your face, so you can’t expect that it will go away overnight. Follow the instructions, don’t rush it, and avoid the urge to overuse the products. In general, use just enough of your products to cover your face with a light layer. If you opt for the Rodan + Fields kit, you have 60 days to use it before you decide if you’re going to keep it! So, if you’re not happy, you can actually send the used products back for a full refund.
Pay attention to the location of your acne. If it’s occurring only on your forehead and/or around your hairline, chances are it could be a result of your hair products. If that’s the case, avoid applying oil-based products near your hairline, and instead just apply near the center of your scalp and to the ends of your hair.
And finally, try your best not to pick and poke. If you absolutely can’t avoid it, use a tissue to prevent bacteria from your hands and nails from spreading onto your face.