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Clean Beauty Skincare Routine for Acne-Prone Skin

Acne. A tricky skin condition that most of us are at war with at some point in our lives. Caring for acne is more than just slathering anti-acne products on your face; it comes with the commitment of making conscious lifestyle changes and following a consistent skincare regime. If acne seems to have found a comfortable spot on your face, it is time to rethink your skincare regime and swap to a more acne-friendly one to tackle and reduce those never-ending flare ups. Remember, managing acne does not require a complex skincare routine. It just requires persistence to find the right products that do not clog the pores, stimulate excess sebum production and minimise inflammation and irritation. While acne is caused by a range of factors from poor lifestyle choices, crash diets, hormonal changes, etc, it can be triggered by the usage of incorrect skincare products too.

Read more about the causes of acne and their different kinds here.

However, worry not! We come to your rescue with a simple yet effective routine packed with acne-fighting heroes to say goodbye to those nasty zits once and for all!

1) Cleanser: Vedaearth | Clarifying Face Wash

Ingredient spotlight: Neem & Tea Tree

Benefits: Cleansing is one of the most important steps to keep breakouts at bay. Cleansing with a gentle cleanser twice a day helps to eliminate impurities, oil and dirt that can clog the pores and lead to acne, whiteheads or blackheads. Never use a harsh cleanser because this can strip your skin and make it more susceptible to breakouts (the exact opposite of what we want!). The Vedaearth cleanser is the perfect choice because it contains Neem and Tea Tree Oil - both of which are acne superstars. While Neem is an antioxidant powerhouse that cleanses and clarifies from within, Tea Tree Oil's antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties reduce redness, swelling and pimples for a clearer and more radiant complexion.

How to use: Dampen your face and neck with lukewarm water, and apply an almond-sized amount and gentle massage it onto your face and neck in circular motions. Rinse and pat dry with a soft cloth.

How often to use: Use twice a day - both in the morning and night.

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2) Exfoliator: Thyme Organic | Charcoal Matcha Face Scrub

Ingredient spotlight: Matcha & Charcoal

Benefits: One of the biggest myths in skincare is that scrubbing hard and exfoliating often can be the solution to those pesky breakouts. However, the key to be gentle and avoid aggressive movements as they can cause permanent scars and marks. Exfoliate once or twice a week with a detoxifying scrub such as the Thyme Organics one, which has a gel-based formula that removes dead skin, impurities, fights pollution and whiteheads and blackheads. Organic Activated Bamboo Charcoal is a great magnet for these, while Matcha Green Tea is infused with antioxidants that nourish and give you a healthy complexion.

How to use: Gently massage a nickel-sized amount onto wet skin in a circular motion. Rinse it well with lukewarm water and pat dry.

How often to use: 1-2 times a week (only once a day!)

this is image of the THYME ORGANIC CHARCOAL MATCHA FACE SCRUB for acne prone skin on

3) Mask: Daughter Earth | Java Plum Mask

Ingredient spotlight: Java Plum

Benefits: Java Plum is one of nature's greatest gifts to our skin, owing to its oil-balancing, acne-clearing and complexion-enhancing properties. This Vitamin C rich mask is a complete detox for your skin and helps to brighten, fight sun damage and improve uneven skin tone. It is an excellent tool to control acne because in addition to absorbing sebum and bacteria from the pores, it also removes dead skin cells and reduces shine, giving you a blemish-free, mattified complexion. The perfect self-care and skincare ritual to do wonders for your skin!

How to use: Mix a teaspoon of the mask with Rose Water and apply a thick layer on a clean face and neck. Rinse off after fifteen minutes.

How often to use: Use twice a week for best results.

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4) Toner: Neemli Naturals | Witch Hazel & Vetiver Facial Toner

Ingredient spotlight: Witch Hazel, Vetiver, Aloe Vera

Benefits: If you are looking to clarify your pores and kill unwanted bacteria, a toner is your new best friend! It is best to choose an Alcohol-free toner to prevent any irritation or dryness, which can lead to more acne. The Neemli Naturals toner is specially formulated for acne-prone skin and helps to balance the skin’s pH and even out the skin’s tone. Witch Hazel’s astringent properties are highly effective in removing excess oil, toning as well as hydrating the skin while fighting blackheads and acne. Vetiver Water helps in minimising dark spots and retaining suppleness of the skin, whereas Aloe Vera soothes acne and prevents future breakouts. 

How to use: Keep your eyes closed, and spray it 3-5 times all over your face. Alternatively, use a pad and dab all over the face.

How often to use: Use twice a day - in the morning and night.

This is an image of the neemli naturals vetiver and witch hazel toner for acne prone skin on

5) Serum: Ilana Organics | Clarifying Serum

Ingredient spotlight: Tea Tree & Argan Oil

Benefits: While we all know that the secret to that coveted glow and dewy radiance is a serum; but what we may not know is that a clarifying serum can be the secret to clear skin too! Using a non-greasy elixir such as the Ilana Organics one helps to disinfect the skin and cure even the most stubborn acne, while making your skin naturally radiant. Argan Oil has a lightweight texture that does not clog the pores, which is perfect for acne-prone skin and helps to restore nutrients back to the skin cells. Rosemary and Tea Tree Oil on the other hand have strong antifungal and antibacterial compounds that help reduce redness and inflammation around your pimples. So all in all, it is a total win-win!

How to use: Apply 2 drops or pumps on your palm and gently massage your face and neck till it seeps in.

How often to use: Use twice a day - in the morning and night.

this is an image of the ilana clarifying serum with tea tree and argan for acne prone skin on

6) Spot Treatment: Organic Riot | Zap-Anti Acne Serum

Ingredient Spotlight: Tamanu Oil & Manuka Extract

Benefits: A spot treatment is used to target only the specific area of acne rather than your whole face. Some spot treatments can be used overnight, whereas others dry off and can be used during the day. They are highly effective because they deliver the acne-fighting ingredients directly onto the blemish while reducing redness, swelling and pain. They can also help loosen or dissolve any blockages within your pores, which led to the acne occurring in the first place. However, these are best for minor, surface level pimples and not as effective on the deeper, more severe ones. The Organic Riot Zap Anti-Acne Serum is the ideal choice because it has Manuka extract, which disinfects the pores with its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and sloughs away dead cell debris while balancing your skin's pH. Moreover, Tamanu Oil is an antioxidant that promotes healing, improves skin regeneration and Collagen production. So it is time to zap away the acne, one spot at a time!

How to use: Use a pea-sized amount on troubled areas. You can also use it as an overnight mask to repair your skin from the stressors of urban pollution.

How often to use:  For best results, apply thrice a day. 

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7) Moisturiser: Swisse | Vitamin B3 Anti-Blemish Moisturiser

Ingredient spotlight: Niacinamide, Salicylic Acid & Willow Bark Extract

Benefits: Your choice of moisturiser is vital when suffering from acne. The wrong moisturiser can make your skin worse, aggravate acne or dry it out completely. Ensure that you choose one that does not leave your skin feeling sticky or greasy, yet provides enough moisture and nourishment. Choosing a lightweight, non-comedogenic formula can truly do wonders for acne-prone skin. The Swisse moisturiser has an oil-free formula that hydrates the skin and prevents as well as reduces blemishes. It contains Vitamin B3 or Niacinamide, which protects the skin's moisture barrier, while Salicylic Acid, a common BHA gently exfoliates and clears out the acne from deep within. Furthermore, Willow Bark Extract removes dead skin cells and thoroughly clears the pores, allowing the Glycerin to hydrate and nourish the skin from within.

How to use: Apply an almond-sized amount to the face, neck and decolletage in gentle, circular motions. Always move in an upward manner to defy gravity and have a lifting effect.

How often to use: Use twice a day - both in the morning and night.

Read more about how to find a moisturiser that won’t make your acne worse here.

this is an image of the swisse anti blemish moisturiser for acne prone skin on

8) Face Oil: RAS Luxury Oils | Luminous Skin Clearing Elixir

Ingredient spotlight: Rosehip, Jojoba & Squalene Oil

Benefits: Using a face oil is something most people are skeptical to do, especially those with acne-prone skin. However, certain face oils can have marvellous benefits for your skin when used the right way. The RAS Luxury Oils Elixir is great for acne-prone skin, as it contains a purifying blend of oils such as Jojoba, Rosehip, Squalene, Hazelnut Seed, Tea Tree, etc. This Elixir is super-absorbent yet nutrient rich, and contains antimicrobial properties that act as soothing astringents to reduce inflammation, balance and cleanse your skin from within. Moreover, it aids in the removal of impurities, while clearing out not only acne and blemishes, but also its scars.

How to use: Apply 1-2 drops on to the palm of hand, and use fingers to massage the face and neck well. Can always follow up with a gua sha or face roller if required!

How often to use: If you have oily skin, it is best to use face oils in your night time routine only.

Read more about how to find the right face oil for oily, acne prone skin here.

this is an image of the ras luminous clearing face elixir for acne prone skin on

The Bottom Line:

All in all, patience is key when it comes to acne. Expecting results overnight is not practical. Overusing acne fighting products does not help either. You need to wait it out to reap the real benefits, and make small changes in your diet, lifestyle and skin routine to see a big difference in the larger picture.

- Krisha Jhaveri

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