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Kick Acne Out With This Skincare Routine

Does the stress of this school year already have you breaking out? Don’t fear, an acne-focused skincare routine is here!

If you have dry, sensitive skin, you must assume that most acne treatments will wreak havoc on your skin but this doesn’t have to be the case. The most important factors of skincare are the active ingredients being used within the routine. Ingredients can influence how effective a cleanser, serum, or moisturizer is on the skin. By ensuring that each step of your routine has safe, controlling, and active ingredients as their foundation, the results you strive for will be more likely to appear. 

It’s also important to note that your skincare routines, both morning and night, should exfoliate the skin, purify the pores, clear any current acne bacteria, and prevent new breakouts from popping up.  Although maintaining a routine seems to be a cosmetic luxury, skincare not only can help build confidence, but it is also necessary for the health of your skin. I personally use a cleanser, moisturizer, serum, sunscreen, and when needed, a spot treatment to maintain a healthy and clear complexion. If your greatest skin concern is acne, here are some of my recommendations for those with naturally dry skin.

CLEANSER

Every skincare routine should begin with an effective cleanser. The purpose of a cleanser is to attack any surface impurities, unclog the pores, and treat breakouts. One cleanser I have found to prove its effectiveness time and time again is Murad’s Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser. This cleanser’s most active ingredient is salicylic acid, and contains 1.5%. Salicylic acid’s main focus is to keep pores clear of any debris, which can cause acne to build up if not cleansed properly. This cleanser is retailed at $34, which is on the higher end of the pricing spectrum. A more affordable “dupe” I have found that works just as well as this cleanser is La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Acne Face Cleanser. This product is a medicated gel cleanser, also containing the active ingredient of salicylic acid for the purpose of combating acne. Whereas the Murad cleanser uses 1.5%, this product contains a full 2%, meaning it has the potential to act slightly harsher on the skin, a note to consider for those with more sensitive skin. Each of these products can be found on their own brand’s websites or on Ulta’s website.

MOISTURIZER

Following a cleanser, I use a moisturizer to bring back any hydration I lost while cleansing with salicylic acid. Balance is key in skincare! Especially with a dry skin type, moisturizers play an essential role in maintaining healthy, hydrated skin. Moisturizers work to prevent flakes and the overproduction of oil, which can ultimately lead to the formation of breakouts if too great. A moisturizer I have found to be particularly effective is Tula’s Breakout Star Moisturizer. This moisturizer contains 2% salicylic acid to combat acne, but contains absolutely no oils, which a rarity in hydrating products. It’s clinically proven to clear breakouts, and even brightens the dark spots left behind by previous blemishes. However, this product is on the expensive side, retailing for $52. A “dupe” I’ve discovered for this product that works very similarly is from Paula’s Choice. Their Clear Oil-Free Moisturizer hydrates breakout-prone skin without adding access oil or shine and is very lightweight on the skin. A difference in these two products is that unlike the Tula moisturizer, this product’s most active ingredient is niacinamide, which works to strengthen the skin barrier and minimizes pores. The moisturizer from Paula’s Choice retails at only $10. These products can be found on their own brand’s websites.

SERUM

Two steps down, three more to go! After cleansing and moisturizing, I like to go in with a serum to emphasize the activity of the ingredients I’ve already used. My favorite serums all come from the brand The Ordinary. I use a combination of their Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum and the Hyaluronic Acid + B5 serum. The niacinamide serum retails for $6.50, while the hyaluronic acid product sells for just one dollar more, at $7.50. The niacinamide serum is a mineral blemish formula, containing multiple vitamins and ingredients that work to improve dullness and clogged pores. The hyaluronic serum brings hydration back into the skin and acts as a base for other ingredients to go to work. Each bottle contains 1 oz of product, and I find them to last anywhere from 1 to 2 months. Both products can be found at the brand’s website or on Ulta’s website. For the price, I believe these are of the best quality and affordability in this provided routine.

SUNSCREEN

Whether you’re going outside or staying indoors, sunscreen is essential for the skin regardless of your environment. UV rays, even on a cloudy day, are always present. These harmful rays can cause sun damage, skin cancer, and other terrible skin effects. To combat the rays, one should apply sunscreen every morning as the final step of their routine (unless using a spot treatment). The very best sunscreen I’ve found comes from Supergoop!, and is unscented, weightless, and has no white cast, something we all dread when putting on sunscreen. Their Unseen Sunscreen is SPF 40+, works on all skin types, and is water and sweat resistant for up to 40 minutes. This sunscreen does not contribute to my breakouts and is rich with antioxidants. For a 1.7 ounce bottle, the product retails for $36. While I would provide a more affordable “dupe,” I believe that this product is truly top tier. Its velvety finish and base of ingredients cannot be compared to that of other products. The product can be found at Sephora, Ulta, or Supergoop!’s website.

SPOT TREATMENT

We can all agree that having a pop-up pimple can really affect your confidence. Spot treatments are an effective way to combat noticeable blemishes in a fast and controlling manner.  It’s important to note that spot treatments can sometimes be very irritating to the skin, so you want to use one fitted best to your skin type. As long as you use the right one, you can tackle your blemishes without stripping your skin. La Roche-Posay has produced a product, the Effaclar Duo, that uses benzoyl peroxide as its most active ingredient. The main focus of benzoyl peroxide is to kill acne bacteria, preventing its spread across one’s skin barrier. The product has a second active ingredient (hence the title, “Duo”), lipohydroxy acid. These ingredients, when used together, work to exfoliate the skin and clear pores gently. This helps in combating the blemishes directly, but without irritation. This product retails for $21 on both Ulta’s website and La Roche-Posay’s website.

Adopting a skincare routine will not only work to boost your confidence, but also the health of your skin. The products I’ve listed are only suggestions; you should find what works best for you and your skin type. Furthermore, it’s important to understand that clear skin takes time, and blemishes don’t have the power to magically disappear. With effort, motivation, and an ending goal, I believe that anyone is capable of achieving healthy, happy skin. Don’t let your acne get you down, as beauty is not defined by a clear complexion. I wish you all only the best of luck on your skincare journeys!

Xoxo, 

Sophia <3

Sophia Lonnroth

Endicott '26

Hi! I'm Sophia Lonnroth, a freshman psychology major, and I am the current Deputy Editor for HC at Endicott College! I hope you enjoy my written work!! :)
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