Is soap making you break out? Sometimes. Here’s why:
The dirty truth is some soaps can cause more harm than good.
“Applying a harsh soap over time can cause a drying effect, and a change to the types of bacteria that normally live on the skin,” Dr. Jeremy White, a Miami–based doctor and plastic surgeon, explains. “That can lead to acne, which begins when the tiny hair follicles become clogged with dead skin and oil.”
The good news? There are a lot of mild cleansers at the drugstore that can actually help your skin. The challenge is knowing the difference.
Here’s a three-step checklist before you head to your neighborhood pharmacy:
1. KNOW YOUR SKIN TYPE
First and foremost, identify your skin type and look for the right ingredients.
For oily skin
“Cleansers with tea tree are fabulous, as are those with salicylic acid or glycolic acid,” advises Dr. Tabasum Mir, a dermatologist in New York City. Avoid products with alcohol, which will over-dry your skin.
For dry skin
“A cleanser with coconut oil is going to be great,” Dr. Mir says. Studies have shown that coconut oil’s fatty acids are highly beneficial for nourishing acne-prone skin.
For combination skin
“In summer you want your pores to remain clear, so use a clean-rinsing product,” says Dr. Mir. “In winter, combination skin is dryer. So consider a cleanser that is gentle and leaves your skin feeling soft.”
2. READ LABELS CAREFULLY
Soaps can upset the skin’s natural balance. “A soap’s high PH creates the perfect setting for inflammation because they break down the protective barriers on the skin,” explains Dr. White. “Once the defensive layer is penetrated, bacteria can go deeper into the skin, causing inflammation and acne.”
The solution? Read labels carefully. You want to look for words like “non-soap,” “non-alkaline” and “neutral pH.”
Dr. White recommends using a gentle product like Cetaphil® Gentle Skin Cleanser twice daily, which will protect the skin’s natural balance. “Cetaphil® has a non-alkaline pH between 6.3 and 6.8 and contains a moisturizer to aid dry skin,” he says.
3. ZAP THOSE ZITS
It’s tempting to think you’re done after washing your face. But you’re not quite there yet.
After cleansing there are two more small steps. In order to treat acne and prevent future flare-ups you should look for medication with benzoyl peroxide and/or retinoids. We love the Epiduo® Forte (adapalene and benzoyl peroxide) Gel, 0.3%/2.5%, a powerful combination product that treats the acne breakouts you have and helps prevent new acne from forming.
The last step is choosing a moisturizer that is non-comedogenic, which means, it won’t clog your pours. Scout out lightweight, non-greasy products like Cetaphil® DermaControl™ Moisturizer SPF 30.
So what are you waiting for?
Important Safety Information
Indication: Epiduo® Forte (adapalene and benzoyl peroxide) Gel, 0.3%/2.5% is indicated for the topical treatment of acne vulgaris. Adverse Events: In the pivotal study, the most commonly reported adverse reactions (≥1%) in patients treated with Epiduo Forte Gel were skin irritation, eczema, atopic dermatitis and skin burning sensation. Warnings/Precautions: Patients using Epiduo Forte Gel should avoid exposure to sunlight and sunlamps and wear sunscreen when sun exposure cannot be avoided. Erythema, scaling, dryness, stinging/burning, irritant and allergic contact dermatitis may occur with use of Epiduo Forte Gel and may necessitate discontinuation. When applying Epiduo Forte Gel, care should be taken to avoid the eyes, lips and mucous membranes.
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