Is Acne Wash Supposed to Make You Break Out?
If your acne wash is actually causing you to break out, it's time to explore other options. An acne wash's effectiveness is determined by the quality of the product and the balance of its ingredients. It should be strong enough to combat overactive oil-producing skin, while being gentle enough not to cause over-drying and irritation. A gentle, effective acne wash should be fragrance free, have a proper pH level, and the right amount of salicylic acid. These factors vary for each individual, so it is common to experiment with various cleansers before the right one is found for your particular skin. For extreme cases of acne, it is recommended to consult with a dermatologist.
Often, acne washes will contain added fragrances which help to market the product, but they do nothing to fight acne. In many cases, fragrance agents cause irritation to the skin and trigger more break outs. Select a fragrance-free acne wash to reduce the chance for breakouts.
Oily or Dry Skin
Depending on your skin type, different cleaners might be recommended. The Consumer Search website suggests that individuals with oily skin would do better with a fragrance-free, water-soluble cleanser. Dry skin types should use a creamier cleanser with less foaming action.
It is important to choose an acne wash that has a high enough pH to effectively remove oil and dirt, but not so high that it induces excessive drying. Valarie Monroe from "O Magazine" writes, "Cleansers and toners are alkaline --- hand soap typically has a pH of around 9 or 10, for example --- because alkaline molecules bind to dirt and accumulated oils you want to wash off. For your face, you want a product that's alkaline enough to get your skin clean but not so alkaline that it will strip it of the oils it needs."
Salicylic acid is one of the most effective over-the-counter ingredients for fighting acne. It helps to dry up blemishes and unclog pores. Products with too much salicylic acid can tend to over-dry the skin. The skin reacts by overproducing oil, which can lead to more breakouts.
Often unconsidered as a cause for acne, dryness can lead to irritation of the skin and further breakouts. It is always best to follow up with a light noncomedogenic moisturizer and sunblock after cleansing the face.
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