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Post in Acne-Prone Skin

Clinique Acne System. Help!

Hi everyone,


I hope this is the right posting area. Anyway, I've struggled with acne for a while now and it has gotten worst lately. I'm currently using the Clinique's Acne Solution bar soap. I like the "squeaky" clean feeling it gives me. I'm also using the Acne Solution toner. It's been about a week and I'm breaking out even more than when I first started using the products. Does anyone know if this is the "purging" state that most people talk about? 

Also, I do wear makeup to cover up my post acne marks. I'm currently using the Clinique's Acne Solution foundation. Should I stop wearing foundation for a while and let my skin heal? Though I always feel like I'm more prone to breakouts when I don't have anything on my face because I'm producing too much oil... Please help! 



Re: Clinique Acne System. Help!

I also started breaking out in the same areas as you when the colder season started. I realized it was from my scarves... I washed all of them with a hypoallergenic/fragrance free detergent. I have no more issues there, however I do have acne and one of the biggest mistakes I made was not properly moisturizing. It may take some time to find the perfect one for you, as it did for me (they were either too greasy, too shiny, didn't absorb, etc etc...) but I finally found what works for me. Once I found my holy grail, my skin began clearing up in no time. I also use the Acne Solutions foundation which works wonders.


I would also recommend something gentler, and without active ingredients as a first cleanse. i.e. makeup remover. I like the Koh Gen Do cleansing water. Or, just use a gentle cleanser. After your makeup is removed, go ahead and use your Clinique stuff. After all is said and done, make sure you moisturize. It's really important and my skin went from being an oil slick to just slightly on the oilier end. I use Kate Somerville's Goat Milk Cream. I love it. Good luck!

Re: Clinique Acne System. Help!

I am in my early 30's and have cystic acne. My skin doesn't look that bad but I get painful cysts. My dermatologist recommended PanOxyl 10% which worked wonders and can be purchased at Walgreens. It is seriously drying in the beginning but works. I used it for about a year and got my skin under control then decided to try the Clinique Acne System since my skin looked dull. Within a week of using it my skin looked awful. I stayed with it and used the whole set but it never improved so I went back to the PanOxyl until it cleared up. I now use Peter Thomas Roth products, everything in the acne buster set. My skin looks great and I haven't had any breakouts!

Re: Clinique Acne System. Help!

Aside from the soap and toner, are you following up with any moisturizer?


What products were you using before Clinique?


It's not out of the question that you could be purging, but are you finding the newer breakouts coming in a larger number say 7+ more at any given time or is it maybe 1-7 more than what you normally have?


Have you changed anything else in your routine, say, diet, exercise? Has any conditions like the weather changed suddenly?


You say when you're not wearing the make up you feel like your skin is producing too much oil, was oil an issue for you alongside or prior to the breakouts or is it that you just feel like your skin is producing more?

Re: Clinique Acne System. Help!

Hi Lylysa,


Thanks for your respond! I am using a drugstore brand (Garnier) peel at night to lighten my dark spots. Some nights I layer on the oil control hydrator from Anthony's Logistic for Men on top of the peel. Other nights I just use the peel alone. In the morning after the toner I apply a drugstore brand (Neutrogena) moisturizer that contains SPF 30 and suppose to lighten my dark spots. I've always been bad with using a moisturizer with SPF because they're too greasy! 


Before Clinique I was using some drugstore brand products, mostly Clean and Clear. The problem with me is I never settle with one product. This is why I'm set on this routine until I see some results. 


I would say it's about 1-7 more. It's usually my T-Zone and my lower jawline. I wonder if it's because I wear scarves too often..


I know consuming too much sodium can cause breakout (something I've heard on TV before). So maybe I need to lower my sodium intake? Weather-wise, it's fairly cold/dry here..


I've always struggled with having an oily face. I have kinda given up on treating it (nothing I've tried had really help).


Please let me know if you have tips on how to fix this problem. I hate having these painful breakouts especially in my lower jawline. 


Thank you!

Re: Clinique Acne System. Help!

The number of blemishes you mention having still falls into the lower end and won't technically count as a full blown acne break out.


Hormonal/internal factors as well as external/environmental factors can have much to deal with a sudden change in your skin if it was once clear and now you're dealing with pimples.


Like Drrragon mentioned, it can be a possibility of your scarves causing breakouts along the lower jawline, be sure to wash them if you wear and rewear them frequently to rid any excess oils and bacteria absorbed by the fabric and just pressing back against your skin. Having breakouts in the T-zone is very normal and quite common.


You can take a look at your diet, to me, anything in excess may lead to flare ups, especially if it throws your body into shock and the blemishes are a reaction. Some people are more receptive and reactive to things like sodium, while others far more susceptible to oily/greasy foods, highly processed sugars, fried foods, and not consuming enough water. Try to maintain a balanced diet with enough water consumption.


Also, like Drrragon mentioned, when you pick a treatment, or any incorporation to your skin care routine, try to give it anywhere from 3-4 weeks to show results, unless you have a quick, negative reaction to it.


Since your breakouts aren't in a large number, I would take a step back from the acne bar soap from Clinique and the toner. When you're using products designed for actual acne when all you have is a few or couple of pimples, you're sending mixed messages to your skin. Products used specially to treat acne can sometimes be too harsh and strip skin of essential oils your skin actually needs, even though you say your skin is oily, using something for acne and oil control as opposed to just oil control, you're doing extra work to your skin that it doesn't need. You're sending messages to your skin of, "Hey, not only to we need to get rid of some oil, we need to rid the skin of all of it! Go! Go! Go!" This can in turn cause your skin to go into shock and feel "Oh no, we have no oil because we're getting rid of so much so fast, we need to replace, make more!!!!" Thus leading to why you're still having to constantly battle the oil process.


For oily skin in general, try a gel based cleanser, these break down surface oils better and quicker. One of my favorite face washes is Anthony Logistics Gylcolic Wash, it has a gel/cream texture, so it blasts through oil, but is gentle enough to where it won't strip skin and make it feel dry afterward.


It uses very gentle ingredients to help shed dead skin that can layer on blemishes and make them look worse, it also promotes new and healthy skin regeneration, brightens/evens skin tone, and helps preventing ingrowns (a plus for guy usage). Through the use of glycolic acids (fruit sugars and enzymes, also a alpha hydroxy acid), this formula helps with gently cleansing, chemically exfoliating, and evening tone and texture without using a harsh scrub or severe acne treatment. I use this and it works to keep my skin tone even (I had a few post acne marks and it works very well).


I'm not sure which toner/clarifying lotion you have exactly, but if it's the #1 version, maybe use it every other night if you're going to pair it with the bar soap still (so you don't overload skin with active ingredients), or pair it with the glycolic cleanser as the AL face wash isn't "acne" specific. The #1 toner version does use a more natural ingredient of witch hazel for oil control, and it does contain conditioning ingredients like glycerin and sodium hyaluronate, which binds healthy moisture to your skin.


After washing and toning, from there you can treat the blemishes. There are a few standard pimple treatment ingredients to look for like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. SA is also a known beta hydroxy, as not only does it rid skin of bacteria but also helps with shedding dead skin to smooth out break out regions and BP introduces oxygen into pores to rid trapped oil and bacteria present. Drrragon in her post did bring up a good point about starting at a lower 2.5% of BP (Neutrogena's On the Spot treatment works well) as BP can dry out skin and you want to take things slow rather than jump head first and deal with more issues. SA is offered from drug store brands to higher end brands, look for a moderate dosage and soothing/buffering ingredients to prevent it from being too strong on your skin. I would not recommend using both SA and BP at the same time, as again, too much is never any good. I find BP to be better for red, raised blemishes that almost feel tender to the touch, while SA is better for a larger range of blemishes. Sulphur is a newer used ingredient in acne treatments, it helps dry out blemishes rather quickly and perfect for whiteheads. Murad makes a great spot treatment and it can be applied 1-3x a day (again, start slow though and learn your skin's tolerance and reactive level to the ingredient).


From there, wrap up with your day lotion/SPF. Peter Thomas Roth makes a great mattifying lotion with SPF, as does Murad.


Note, the Murad one is a bit thicker in texture, almost like paste or glue, but it really works! It may take some getting used to, but both are my fave picks. The PTR one applies like a regular moisturizer and feels very light and breathable.


If you want to look into other SPF options, La Roche Posay makes wonderful oil-free "fluids" that are sunscreens but can hydrate just like a moisturizer. They can even take the place of a lotion because they're infused with skin care properties and come in a range of higher SPF.


You mention having dark spots, I'm guessing from post acne marks? Start with using a vitamin C based treatment during night time like Ole Heriksen's Truth Serum. It's what I use on my post acne marks, that and in combination with the AL wash and I've noticed a dramatic lightening without using harsh, skin sensitive treatments. If the dark spots are of a good distance from your blemishes you can apply the serum first to dark spots and then your pimple treatment to your active breakouts then follow up with moisturizer on top.


Top that off with a moisturizer at night if needed or use the serum as an all over-light weight night hydrator (as it does contain moisturizing properties as well).


Best of luck! Feel free to message me in you need/want more info!

Re: Clinique Acne System. Help!

It actually is possible that your scarf is part of the problem.  Bacteria on the face can cause acne breakouts (that's why common advice is never to touch your face!).  If your scarf is touching your face daily, then bacteria could be transferred from the scarf to your face.  


You really should pick one treatment and stick to it for several weeks before adding/changing your routine.  If you keep switching products it will be impossible to know which ones work for you and which ones don't.


For acne the gold-standard ingredients with tons of scientific research behind them are benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.  For starters, you might want to consider getting a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide leave-on treatment (clinique has one) and work up to applying it twice daily.  It might dry your skin at first but eventually your skin will adjust.  If the drying is too much try phasing it in slowly.


btw the previous poster mentioned that PanOxyl 10% worked for her.  This is a product containing 10% benzoyl peroxide.  10% is very drying for skin though so most people start at the 2.5% concentration.  You can also find products with 5% BP (clinique has one of these too).

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