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Acne & Aging Skin
When you’re seeing signs of aging and have acne or clogged pores at the same time, finding a skincare routine can seem impossible. How can you address two very different problems at once without making one worse? Should you use products labeled anti-acne or anti-aging, or a mix? The answer is a little of both, but in the right balance!
Skincare Plan to Fight Acne and Signs of Aging
Choosing skincare products for acne or signs of aging can be challenging enough when you're dealing with one or the other. But, when you're struggling with both at the same time, it can be maddening.
If you choose acne products, you’re likely concerned, and rightly so, they could make your skin dry or flaky, both of which make signs of aging look worse. On the other hand, if you use products to ward off signs of aging, especially if they’re emollient, the breakouts and clogged pores could get worse.
What to do? The fundamental answer to this dilemma is to use a mix of anti-acne and anti-aging products formulated to be gentle, non-drying, and skin softening yet still highly effective.
For anti-acne, that means using a leave-on, skin-calming exfoliant that contains salicylic acid (BHA) and another that contains benzoyl peroxide to fight blemishes. These two are the essential anti-acne ingredients and the first choice before you seek professional attention. And these ingredients can be wonderfully effective even if you’re dealing with "adult acne".
For the anti-aging portion, you need to use the lightest formulas that are loaded with ingredients that help normalize and rejuvenate your skin so it’s velvety smooth and radiant. Antioxidants, skin-replenishing ingredients, and skin-restoring ingredients are critical, and these ingredients don’t have to come in creams or even from lotions!
The steps outlined below are the best starting point to give your skin what it needs (and to avoid what it doesn’t need) to tackle both acne and signs of aging for optimal beautiful results.
What You Need to Use
Step 1: Gentle Cleanser
Only use a gentle water-soluble cleanser formulated with skin softening ingredients. Our RESIST Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser is ideal for this step.
Don’t use drying cleansers or bar soaps. These can make both acne and visible signs of aging worse because they’re too drying for all skin types. It’s also problematic to use an emollient, creamy cleanser as it can clog pores and make acne worse.
At night to be sure all your makeup is removed, use a soft washcloth or a soft-bristled cleansing brush (non-irritating is key) with your water soluble cleanser. You'll be impressed at how much better your skin will look, just from this small change!
Step 2: Salicylic acid leave-on exfoliant
Exfoliating with a gentle, completely non-abrasive salicylic acid (BHA) exfoliant is the most effective way to improve both bumps to diminishing the appearance of signs of aging all at the same time. Salicylic acid exfoliates the buildup of dead surface skin as well as inside the pores, where clogs occur, and it unbelievably smooths bumpy skin including those stubborn, tiny, hard white bumps that occur primarily on your cheek bones but can show up in other areas too, and even milia-prone skin. It also minimizes redness and hydrates skin! You will see overnight results from this essential, multi-tasking beautiful skincare step!
Step 3: Benzoyl peroxide treatment
After applying a salicylic (BHA) exfoliant, you can treat acne breakouts with a leave-on benzoyl peroxide product containing either 2.5% or 5% benzoyl peroxide. This topical is considered the gold standard of acne treatments.
It is important to experiment to see if applying the salicylic acid (BHA) in the morning and the benzoyl peroxide at night or applying them on alternate days works best for you. For some people, just using the salicylic acid (BHA) exfoliant once or twice per day may be enough.
Step 4: Serum and/or booster
A weightless but concentrated serum formulated to renew your skin’s appearance with antioxidants, skin-replenishing ingredients, and skin-restoring ingredients will give your skin what it needs to combat signs of aging and not make clogged pores worse. Our RESIST Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum is a perfect option.
For areas where you need an extra boost of moisture or nourishment to combat dryness, our RESIST Hyaluronic Acid Booster or RESIST Moisture Renewal Oil Booster can do wonders for your skin, including skin around the eyes.
Step 5: Daytime moisturizer with SPF
No skincare routine is complete without daily sun protection. Combating the ravages of unprotected sun exposure helps every skincare problem—including complicated ones like this—improve. The best sunscreens to consider are those that smooth and hydrate but don’t contain pore-clogging ingredients. RESIST Super-Light Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 feels amazing and you can apply it over your serum or booster to get optimal results during the day.
Step 6: Nighttime moisturizer
The challenge in finding the best anti-aging moisturizer for this skin type is that it must hydrate and nourish skin with antioxidants, skin-replenishing ingredients and skin-restoring ingredients but it must be in a light fluid or thin lotion texture. Our RESIST Antiaging Clear Skin Hydrator meets all those criteria and won’t trigger more breakouts.
Dry skin around the eyes? RESIST Anti-Aging Eye Cream will make your eye area look softened, brighten the appearance of dark circles, diminish the visible signs of aging, and provide intense hydration.
Summing it up: With the right mix of products, you can take control of these seemingly opposite concerns without making either one worse; in fact, with the routine above, both concerns are likely to become distant memories!
References for this information:
Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, August 2015, pages 455-461
Dermatoendocrinology, July 2012, pages 308-319
Dermatologic Therapy, May-June 2012, pages 252-259
Indian Journal of Dermatology, May-June 2011, pages 2-6
Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, September 2008, pages 170-176
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About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!