Skincare Routine for Acne and Hyperpigmentation
If you have both acne and hyperpigmentation (sun spots, acne scars or hormonal), it can feel daunting to see results from the skincare you use at home, but there are products, ingredients and ways to help that do and will create visible results leading to clearer and more even toned skin.
Avoid Pore Clogging Ingredients
Just as I have said in the past, ingredients are incredibly important if you're acne prone and you need to be sure to avoid "pore cloggers", as they contribute to the process of developing acne. Some may be in products that say "none comedogenic", but there is no governing body that provides testing to prove products are truly "non comedogenic".
At the end of this post you can enter your email to download my complete list of pore clogging ingredients that need to be avoided in order to get or maintain clear skin if you're acne prone.
Add Clarifying and Brightening Ingredients
The good news is that there are many ingredients that are good for helping to clear acne that are super good for brightening and aging at the same time! Ingredients to look for are:
- L-Mandelic Acid- This is an alpha-hydroxy acid derived from bitter almonds that has been shown in many studies to have a potent skin brightening effect on hyperpigmentation and clarifying for inflammatory acne. This makes it amazing for post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (left over marks from acne), and acneic skin. You also want to be sure to get the kind that has "L" in the begining of the name as that is the "chirally correct" form of mandelic acid meaning it will be utilised by your cells better.
- Azelaic acid- According to the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, Azelaic acid is one of the most ideal ingredients used and tested to be efficient at helping hyperpigmentation from post acne lesions and is clarifying at the same time especially for darker skin tones. It also has incredible clarifying properties for both acne and rosacea.
- Niacinamide- This ingredient is a form of vitamin B3. It has been shown in studies to improve the skin barrier by stimulating ceramide production and thickening of the outer layers of the skin. It has been shown in clinical studies to be particularly amazing at preventing damage in the skin from the sun that would lead to hyperpigmentation while also correcting existing damage in 4 weeks. It's barrier boosting effects also help the skin to heal itself and therefor would be great at speeding up the healing process for inflamed acne lesions and scabs as well.
- MAP- Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate is a newer and the most stable form of Vitamin C. Unlike L-Ascorbic acid which is great for aging, yet is very unstable which can cause skin reactions, MAP is very gentle and even beneficial for both sensitive and acneic skin types. It helps prevent hyperpigmentation from sun damage while brightening at the same time. It has been shown in studies to have an anti-inflammatory effect in pores and follicles helping heal skin with acne.
- Vitamin A Proprionate- This ingredient turns into retinol in the skin and has numerous studies showing its benefits for stimulating collagen (making it great for scarring), speeding up cell turnover and reducing hyperpigmentation in the skin. It is the ideal retinoid for acne as it's studies have shown it is beneficial for inflamed lesions unlike other retinoids which can aggravate inflamed acne while overstimulating purging.
Putting the Routine Together
So the above ingredients can come in cleansers, toners, or moisturizers. Some may be indiviual ingredient serums like you may see with brands like The Ordinary (but then you'll need a ton of different serums from them), and others will have combinations of the ingredients like in my brand Meta Skincare.
While there are great cleansers and toners with L-Mandelic acid, I recommend a serum for the face as it will stay on and penetrate the most effectively in the skin. Also, the serums I recommend will depend on lifestyle factors (if someone is willing to use multiple serums for faster results or not) and level of acne and hyperpigmentation. But in general for my clients, the regimen will look like this:
-Azaleic Acid Serum - My Aza Bright Serum is made with Azaleic Acid, along with a bunch of other effective botanical skin brighteners like Kojic Acid and Uva Ursi.
-MAP Vitamin C Serum - My Antiox-c Serum is made with 20% MAP along with nourishing hyaluronic acid and simple barrier boosting ingredients.
- L-Mandelic Acid + Niacinamide (after 2 weeks of PM use only)- My L-Mandelic Acid Serum is formulated with Niacinamide and other antioxdiants. I start all clients on my 8% strength, but i sometimes bump up to the 11%. Our 15% is generally for the body.
- SPF - We created our Clear Age SPF 30 to be acne safe, soothing and moisturizing.
- Vitamin A Proprionate + Niacinamide - my Meta- A - use only a few nights a week, and do not use MAP serum after on those nights
-MAP serum - My Antiox C Serum - Use only on nights when not using Meta-A
-Moisturizer- Clear Age Soothing Moisturizer is more emollient than Dew drops so makes a great evening moisturizer.
And that's it!!! You should see significant results in as little as 2 weeks with the above regimen. Otherwise don't forget to check all your makeup and skincare for pore cloggers, and let me know if you have any questions! You can also get a great deal on a starter set of these products with our Clear Age Starter Sets.