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How to (carefully) treat acne - Skin by Brownlee & Co.

How to (carefully) treat acne

When acne and breakouts happen, it seems like they can’t go away fast enough.

Sometimes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to always have perfect skin and it sends us into this spiral of desperation to try anything that might work.

The danger with that is we can overdo it and end up doing more harm to our skin. Acne treatment products are very potent and should be used as advised by an esthetician or dermatologist. That’s because the active ingredients need to be applied with precision for them to be effective, and that often goes against what we’d assume to be correct.

Let’s break down the active ingredients in most acne treatment products and how to use them properly.


Acne treatment gels/creams

Prescription-strength acne gels and creams are now more easily available everywhere–online and over-the-counter. That’s great for convenience when you need zits zapped overnight, but the concentrated amount of benzoyl peroxide in acne gels and creams can be drying and irritating for the skin when too much is used or too often.

Benzoyl peroxide is a mild exfoliant that removes dead, pore-clogging skin cells. You should introduce your skin to exposure gradually and over time.


How to use acne treatment gels


  • For night use only

  • Apply an even pea-size amount to dry, clean skin.

  • Can be used as an all-over treatment, depending on the severity of your acne.

  • Use every other night after cleansing and toning your skin.

  • Avoid eye area, smile lines, and corners of the mouth.

  • Days 1-4: Leave on 15 mins., rinse off, and follow with moisturizer.

  • Days 5-10: Leave on 30 mins., rise off, and follow with moisturizer.

  • Days 11-14: Leave on 60 mins., rinse off, and follow with moisturizer.

  • After 14 days: Remember to reach out to your esthetician for the next steps in your clearing process.

  • If irritation occurs, reduce the frequency of application to every other evening for 30 minutes at a time.

Moisturizer for acne-prone skin

Again, acne treatment products can be very drying, which is the worst for acne. Having a moisturizer in your routine that reinforces what the skin needs to heal acne is important–especially when it comes to fading hyperpigmentation and dark spots from old breakouts.

Look for ingredients that hydrate the skin, seal in moisture, and improve texture and overall appearance, like these:


  • Safflower Oil: A lightweight oil rich in antioxidants to combat dryness and provide a healthy-looking glow.

  • Vitamin E: A skin-hydrating, healing ingredient and antioxidant that fights free-radical damage.

  • Allantoin: A super ingredient that reduces inflammation and prevents free-radical damage.

  • Retinyl Palmitate: Derivative of retinol that speeds cell turnover, stimulates collagen production and clears pores.

  • Salicylic Acid: Effective exfoliant that helps reduce breakouts, including blackheads and whiteheads.


How to use skin moisturizer for acne treatment

  • Apply an even dime-size amount to clean, dry face.

  • Use morning and night after cleansing and treating your skin.

  • Follow with sunscreen in the morning.

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