Last Updated on November 11th, 2019
Many people who have acne spend weeks, months, and years searching for the right acne remedy. They spend thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. They visit dermatologists, endocrinologists, herbalists, aestheticians, cosmetologists, and even hypnotherapists. They endure aggravation, irritation, and embarrassment.
For example, everyone knows benzoyl peroxide is present in many home remedies, but many fail to realize that it is neither the best or most effective topical solution to get rid of acne for certain skin types (your complexion is quite important). As such, the search for acne remedies that work can be expedited simply by choosing the right products for your skin type. All you need to do is to be able to distinguish between dry skin and oily skin, tight skin and loose skin, skin that is pigmented and skin that is not, and sensitive skin and non-sensitive skin. Here’s how you do it.
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Back in the Clearasil era, in the 1950’s and 1960’s, just about every mass-marketed acne product was designed to treat pimples on oily skin. Nearly every product had a peach colored tint that did a pretty good job of masking pimples if you had peach-colored skin (and made them a lot more noticeable if you didn’t), and nearly every product had antiseptic foaming action. For some people, these products worked. For some, they actually made acne worse.
Then in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the makers of acne care formulas began to realize that the problem that creates acne is oil on your skin, not oil in your skin. It is the over-accumulation of oily sebum that blocks the openings of pores and traps Propionibacterium acne bacteria inside.
“Dry” skin, on the other hand, isn’t all about the pores. It is about the concentration of water inside the skin. It is possible to have skin that is both oily and dry at the same time. Fortunately most people have to deal with just one problem or the other. Most people do not have “combination” skin.
How can you tell if you have dry skin?
In contrast, oily skin:
Dry and oily skin respond to different hydroxy acids. They require different cleansing agents. They are sensitive to different chemicals. And if you have oily skin that dries out under certain conditions, you may need one acne remedy for your nose and around your eyes and another acne remedy for the rest of your face.
Remember, the problem with oily skin is never the oil that is inside your skin. The problem is always the oil on the surface of your skin.
Some people get freckles, sun spots, and age spots, and also developing browning or blackening of the skin after acne, cuts and scrapes, or other forms of skin irritation. Some people have skin with even pigmentation and no spots of any kind. If you have highly pigmented skin, that is, skin that produces spots, you need to avoid any kind of irritation or inflammation to keep your skin tone smooth. The agents that are designed to remove skin spots sometimes cause permanent discoloration! But if you have non-pigmented skin, stronger acne products may be OK for you.
You have pigmented skin if:
Pigmented skin is usually sensitive skin. It is essential to avoid products that cause any kind of inflammation. If the statements above do not describe your skin, then you have non-sensitive, resistant skin.
Tight skin tends to trap oil inside pores. Loose skin tends to form wrinkles. If you have loose, wrinkle-prone skin now, you can tighten it so you avoid wrinkles later.
You probably have wrinkle-resistant, tight skin if:
If the above does not apply to you, then you may have loose or wrinkle-prone skin. Acne care treatments that are rich in antioxidants—as long as the antioxidants stay on your skin and are not washed down the drain—will also help you avoid wrinkling. If you have tight skin, applying antioxidants is not as critical.
Some people have sensitive skin that gets tingly and then red and itchy and then breaks out after exposure to just about any kind of chemical. Some people have non-sensitive (also termed “resistant”) skin that is unaffected by most chemicals.
If you have sensitive skin, you probably need to avoid most of the acne treatment additives put in products to make them seem more “natural,” such as herbal essences, essential oils, perfumes, and fragrances. Menthol, peppermint, and wintergreen are frequent offenders. If you have non-sensitive or resistant skin, you may be able to tolerate a wider range of acne care products.
You probably have sensitive skin if:
You probably have resistant skin if the characteristics above do not apply to you.
Probably no skin characteristic is more relevant to your choice of acne remedy than sensitivity or relative non-sensitivity. Choosing treatments that soothe the skin so it can heal itself, rather than treatments to scrub or burn acne away, will prevent a lifetime of future problems.
To be your most trusted ally in your pursuit of clear, healthy skin.