After over a decade of experimenting with face masks, exfoliating scrubs, face creams, I put together a sequence of reliable, top-notch products that have come through for my skin in times of need, i.e. nipping an oncoming breakout in the bud. Pimples tend to pop up during times of stress and the immune system is compromised and susceptible to bacterial infection, thus many anti-acne over-the-counter (OTC) products have the active antibacterial ingredients benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. A common prescription anti-acne medicated cream will have 5% benzoyl peroxide, but you can pack a more powerful punch with up to 10% benzoyl peroxide over the counter for $5.99 or less with a coupon. Use these products in this order for clear skin that is soft as a baby’s bottom. Without further ado, my daily acne fighting regimen for sensitive skin:
1. Kiehl’s Centella Skin-Calming Facial Cleanser ($28.50): A gentle, alcohol-free cleanser that won’t dry out skin. This is a great cleanser for sensitive, combination skin. Save yourself the money, and instead of a Clarisonic, invest in jumbo cotton balls to facilitate lathering and gently exfoliate to get rid of dirt and grime for extra smooth, clean skin. There is a lot of flexibility here – you can go for a less expensive gel cleanser, or cream cleanser from L’Oreal instead.
Kiehl'ss Centella Skin-Calming Facial Cleanser
2. Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Control ($5.99): 10% Benzoyl Peroxide acne medicated face wash. Use this as a spot treatment, pseudo-mask for acne-prone, trouble areas. Apply to the T-zone, pesky pimples, and let it sit and absorb into skin for 5 minutes or so. This is a good time to brush your teeth! Then rinse. This product is the best bang for your buck. You get the most active ingredient for the least amount of money. Housedaughter approved!
Clean and Clear Continuous Control (10% Benzoyl Peroxide)
3. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control® Triple-Action Toner ($7.49): 2% Salicylic Acid. Use a cotton ball and apply generously all over. This is the best smelling acne toner on the market. Fresh scent, never medicated-smelling, and has the maximum active ingredient of salicylic acid allowed over the counter. This is a leave-on treatment. No rinsing, please. I like to use salicylic acid here – if the benzoyl peroxide didn’t zap the pimple already, this will.
Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Toner (2% Salicylic Acid)
4. L’Occitane Angelica Hydration Cream ($39.00): Moisturizing is the key step! Anti-acne medications will irritate and dry skin. If you fail to moisturize, your skin will over produce oil to compensate for oil stripped from the skin, exacerbating breakouts. That’s why it is so important to always moisturize after washing and treating skin. A simple moisturizer will do, but if you can, splurge here. Made with organic angelica from the Drôme region of France, this is the best cream to use because it is dermatologist tested to be non-comedogenic (will not clog pores). You can moisturize with confidence!
If neon citrus had a fragrance, it would smell like this cream. Fresh and botanical, this moisturizes long after others wick away. L’OCCITANE’s patented angelica complex reinforces natural skin hydration, resulting in moisturized, smooth, radiant skin. Don’t forget the neck, as this skin shows age the most.
L'Occitane Angelica Hydration Cream: With Organic Angelica Water and Essential Oil
Last thing – try not to touch your face. This introduces oils and germs from your fingers to your face.