I Talked to an Esthetician and Acne Specialist about Avoiding Breakouts, AMA
Every day, but especially on your wedding day, you want to avoid what seems like the unavoidable — breakouts. TBH, it happens more than we care to admit and it’s not just teenage problems, it can continue throughout our twenties, thirties, and sometimes forties. It’s not an age problem, it’s a clogged pores problem. If you’re nodding your head yes right now, then you know what I’m talking about and have probably even sat in Sephora or Ulta for 30 minutes at a time trying to find a product that’s going to get rid of the nasty breakouts and clogged pores you wish wouldn’t return. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it doesn’t exist. No matter how many products swear that they’re going to rid your face of breakouts, they’re not. And I’m not saying the brand is lying, I’m saying it may help but it doesn’t rid, which is ultimately what you want, right? ‘Cause if they’re going to come back, then why bother getting your hopes up?
This is exactly why I decided to speak with a licensed professional in the field. Lynne is the Owner, Esthetician, and Acne Specialist at Palm Beach Skin Co. and getting her expert insight was the best decision.
“Many companies claim their products won’t clog pores, but this is simply not true.”
Let’s Avoid Clogged Pores All Together, Shall We?
What Makes a Pore “Clogged”?
“Clogged pores are a buildup of dead skin cells and excess oil. Clogged pores can be due to many factors such as hormones, genetics, cosmetics, skincare products, and haircare,” Lynne explains.
Skincare Products for Acne-Prone People
Lynne recommends, “searching for skincare products that are safe for acne-prone skin. Beware the FDA does not regulate the term non-comedogenic. Many companies claim their products won’t clog pores, but this is simply not true. Some of the worst offending products claim to be noncomedogenic. Avoid products with emollients that contain highly pore clogging ingredients such as isopropyl myristate.”
Hydrating Your Skin (Without Clogging Your Pores)
“Hydrate your skin with a lightweight non-pore-clogging moisturizer and water-based serum as opposed to rich or heavy moisturizers. Always remember less is more when it comes to having healthy, balanced, glowing skin. Finding the correct products for your skin type is key,” Lynne elaborates.
Tips to Avoid Breakouts
Avoiding breakouts is not an easy task that’s for sure, especially when it’s right before the wedding day and you’re stressed and exhausted. Lynne says, “Stress and exhaustion can cause high cortisol levels which can make clearing active acne more challenging.”
Now, about those beard burns, they’re not pretty, but sometimes it’s totally worth it. 😉 However, Lynne warns men “beware of beard and mustache products that contain pore clogging ingredients. This can be problematic for [you and your S.O.] as far as breakouts and irritation around the mouth.
Oh, and one more thing: “Exercise supplements containing whey protein, caffeine, and creatine can [also be potential] acne triggers.”
But actually, that’s not all. . . . ⬇️
Causes of Breakouts
Brace yourselves, because this might not be something you want to hear but have to… “Foods, such as dairy, peanut products, and salty snacks can cause a lot of issues for acne prone skin. There are many others, but I’d say those are the top 3 offenders I see on a regular basis,” Lynne says.
If you were a cheerleader, dancer, or just liked to style your hair growing up, then you might already suspect where this is going. Hair products, such as gel or spray, can be “some of the biggest culprits for breakouts.” Lynne explains, “Acne on the hairline, forehead neck, temples or jawline usually indicate a hair product may be causing [the] issue. Shea butter, coconut oil, and argan oil are major offenders becoming increasingly popular in many haircare products. Dry shampoo often contains isopropyl myristate.” So, it’s probably safe to say that we should all be checking the ingredient list of hair products for pore clogging ingredients.
Friendly tip: Lynne takes a lot of the guess work out by providing her clients with an ingredient list and acne safe skin/hair care product eBooks, just sayin’.
“Couples should seek to make healthier choices when leading up to your wedding day. As soon as you realize a hair product is causing breakouts you may want to stop and find an acne-safe alternative as soon as possible. Problems arise when the products get on your pillowcase, or you begin to sweat. Remember, whatever you put on your hair will migrate onto your skin,” Lynne tells us.
Girrrl, They’re Nasty Habits, So Break ‘Em
Leaving Makeup On
We’ve all done it before (and said that we won’t ever do it again, but that’s really a lie, isn’t it?)… Leaving the day’s makeup on when going to bed is not a good thing. And even though we all have those long days where we could barely find the energy to drag our butt’s to the bedroom instead of collapsing on the couch, taking off the day’s makeup is an important task that you need to make time for. Lynne advises, “You should always cleanse your face before going to bed. Makeup that is left on the skin overnight will clog pores leading to acne, irritation and even premature aging. Getting the proper uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep with clean hydrated skin will give you a happy canvas to work with on your big day.”
Touching Your Face (read: Holding Your Head Up)
Ah, the age-old myth (or at least I thought it was a myth and I’m sure you did, too). Spoiler alert: it’s not a myth and it’s not a good habit. You know those dozens of times during the day (sometimes you don’t even know you’re doing it) that you touch your face for no reason at all, or rather hold your head up? Yes, well, it can cause breakouts. In fact, Lynne warns, “Be aware of using pore clogging hand lotions. Each time you touch your face you are introducing dirt and bacteria to your skin. Just think about how dirty your cell phone or laptop is and how many times a day you rest your hand on your face.” And let’s be real I, for one, lotion my hands constantly throughout the day. Dry, flaky, or wrinkly skin is not something I want, so lotion is my BFF.
Other Bad Habits
What other bad habits should you break before the wedding day? Lynne tells us, “Drinking excessive alcohol right before your wedding day can lead to dry skin and possibly dark puffy circles under your eyes due to fluid retention. Cigarettes, cigars, vaping, hookah and weed rolled in tobacco are known acne triggers that can potentially cause breakouts and blackheads, especially around the mouth.”
With new skincare companies cropping up daily, you’re always looking for the best new skincare routine and many of them provide them for you based on your skin type using their products ofc. However, Lynne says, “First, I would recommend everyone have a consultation and skin analysis with an esthetician who specializes in treating acne-prone skin. Once a thorough analysis has been done, your skincare professional can recommend a skincare routine specific to your skin type and condition.
“Everyone’s skin is different and there is not a one size fits all approach when it comes to skin prone to breakouts. Instead of wasting a ton of money on skincare with a possible bad outcome, schedule an appointment as soon as your wedding date is set. I recommend finding your skincare professional 1 year to 6 months from your big day.”
I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, everyone promised that exfoliating was the answer to preventing breakouts and reducing oily skin. Turns out, I didn’t receive the best advice and if you were told the same, well, join the club of the misinformed.
Lynne shared crucial information, saying, “Every day I see clients with skin issues due to over exfoliation. Your skin barrier serves to protect you from the harmful environment by retaining moisture. Exfoliation is meant to remove dead skin cells giving you a smooth canvas to work with. Over-exfoliation can cause dryness by stripping your natural skin barrier allowing irritants to easily penetrate the skin causing red angry inflamed skin. If you’re already prone to breakouts, this is a recipe for disaster.”
Type of Skin: Oily
And if you have a regularly greasy or oil-based skin, then your face is probably taking the brunt of it. Good news is that “Greasy/oily face[s] [are] best treated with mild, lightly hydrating ingredients to balance the skin. Harsh drying ingredients will only cause excess oil production, leading to more breakouts.
“Once your skin is balanced you will be able to evaluate how mattifying your makeup will need to be for your wedding day. A great acne-safe primer can absorb excess oil. Look for an oil-free foundation or mineral powder. Keep a stash of blotting paper for your wedding day to help with any breakthrough oil,” Lynne recommends.
Sunbathing & SPF
It’s your wedding day, and they don’t just call it “the big day” for no reason. They’re a ton of pictures (sometimes up to 1,500) taken of you, getting to the hotel, getting ready with your besties, your first look (or first touch), walking down the aisle, the reception, the send-off, and just about every moment in between. So, it’s totally natural that you’re going to be looking for that sun-kissed look. Perhaps you’re planning on getting a spray tan and calling it a day and that’s totally fine. Although, if you’re looking to sunbathe (aka stay in the sun and maybe fall asleep… what, we all do it), then you should probably consider what SPF sunscreen you need to wear.
Lynne tells us, “As a skincare professional, I’m always going to promote safe sun exposure by wearing at least a broad-spectrum sunscreen with 30+ SPF and reapplying every 80 min. Unfortunately, along with tanning comes sunspots and hyperpigmentation. Not to mention, the effect sun has on acne. Many people believe the sun clears acne. Initially, it appears that the sun is healing your acne due to the golden glow that you see. Later, [though,] the skin will overcompensate by producing more oil to combat the dryness from the tan. Unfortunately, this will cause congestion, which leads to more breakouts.” That’s why she had the same idea as us: Sunless tanning (read: spray tanning).
Already Have Clogged Pores, Let’s Get Rid of Them
When to Start the Process
Lynne tells us, “I cannot stress enough the importance of starting your clear skin journey 6-12 months before the wedding. The worst thing you can is wait until the last minute to address congested skin.”
But what products should you look to? Well, Lynne suggests avoiding “harsh abrasive physical exfoliants (see above), especially if you have inflamed acne. [Instead,] look for gentle exfoliants in a serum that can dissolve dead skin and clear the pore of debris.
“Finding an esthetician who specializes in acne to help you understand what may be triggering your clogged pores can save you hours of research and money. A very mild corrective peel or hydrating enzyme with extractions are great professional treatment options to help with congested skin.”