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Post in Acne-Prone Skin

Please help choose choose a cleanser!

Hello friends! 
I desperately need advice on the right cleanser. I’ve watched many videos and read articles about acne skin treatments and how to properly combine skin treatments. So I’m new to it.


Im 25, I have sensitive dry acne skin, and at the moment I’m using INK Salicylic Acid + Pore Cleanser and Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Serum 


I’ve been using these stuff for 3 months. Overall skin seems softer, pores tighter, but I wouldn’t say my skin changed that much I still have blemishes.


I would love some advice from pros and fellow acne users on the right cleanser and serum combo.

should I keep going to see more results or try different products? 

Re: Please help choose choose a cleanser!

Skinfix AHA Acne cleanser has been the only cleanser ever that’s helped my acne 

Re: Please help choose choose a cleanser!

Hi @Roklobster ! Salicylic acid’s great at degunking pores, and it sounds like it’s made a noticeable difference in your skin there. But sometimes it needs a partner to fight acne. Consider adding one of these to your routine: 


Azelaic acid - attacks acne-causing bacteria, targets post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH, such as dark marks left by acne), and it’s an antioxidant. Good for active acne and PIH left behind by acne. My favorite OTC product is Paula's Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster 1 oz/ 30 mL , but I’ve also used The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension Brightening Cream 1 oz/ 30 mL and FaceTheory Lumizela A10 Serum. All 3 of those contain 10% azelaic acid. You can also get Rx-strength (15-20%) azelaic acid from your doctor. 

Benzoyl peroxide - seeks and destroys acne-causing bacteria. Good for active acne. Some folks are sensitive to this ingredient: it can cause irritation like redness and dry skin. If your skin tolerates it, a good leave-on product is Paula's Choice CLEAR Daily Skin Clearing Treatment with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide 2.25 oz/ 67 mL . You can also find leave-on products at your local drugstore. Another option is to use a face wash instead: a couple times a week, swap your usual cleanser with PanOxyl face wash. Lather it up, let it sit on your skin for a few minutes, and then rinse it off. This option’s good for folks who are skin-sensitive to benzoyl peroxide. 

Re: Please help choose choose a cleanser!

Hello @WinglessOne  again 🙂 

thank you for your recommendations. I just got The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension Brightening Cream applied it before going to sleep after myThe INKEY List Salicylic Acid Acne + Pore Cleanser 5 oz/ 150 mL and The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution Pore Clearing Serum 1 oz/ 30 mL  and I woke up with lots of breakout, red skin and itchy feeling 😞 

is it normal reaction since it’s first time? Or not? Should I not use Azelaic with salicylic acid together? 

thank you 

Re: Please help choose choose a cleanser!

@Roklobster  Aw, sorry you woke up to that! When you say "lots of breakout," do you mean a sudden appearance of new acne? Or do you mean lots of tiny bumps, like a rash? Red skin + a rash could mean your skin's irritated. Itchiness is a normal side effect of azelaic acid (usually goes away after a month of use), but a red rash could mean you've had a bad reaction. Azelaic acid isn't normally a big troublemaker, aside from that dang itchy side effect. But it's possible to be skin-sensitive to any ingredient. This is why it's good to patch test new products before applying them to large areas of the face, and I should've mentioned that earlier. I have to patch test lots of things before using them on my whole face, or even just on large areas of my face. It's a hassle, but it often helps me avoid bad reactions. 


Give your skin a week or 2 without azelaic acid, just to give it time to calm down. You might also wanna reduce your BHA usage for now, until your skin's feeling better. Then patch test The Ordinary's azelaic acid cream on a small area of skin. I usually patch test things on part of one jaw, or on my neck below my ear. (My neck skin's about as finicky as my facial skin.) Do you use that salicylic acid serum daily? If yes, try skipping it one night and patch test the azelaic acid cream that night. See if you still get a bad reaction. If could be the combo of BHA and azelaic acid's too much for your skin, and you might need to apply them at different times. Example: if you want to keep using the BHA nightly, consider using the azelaic acid in the morning instead. 


Bear in mind that I'm not a dermatologist (to my knowledge, no BIC members are). For expert advice, a board certified derm is your best resource. Your primary care doctor is the next best resource. 

Re: Please help choose choose a cleanser!

Thank you! ☺️
At the moment I don’t have one moisturiser just using samples from different brands wanted to find the right one. Do you have a recommendation? 

Re: Please help choose choose a cleanser!

@Roklobster  Quick community tip: remember to tag folks with the @ symbol in your replies. That sends a notification to folks that you replied to their comments. Without a tag, people might not know you replied to them. 🙂 


Vanicream Moisturizing Cream is a very simple yet effective moisturizer for dry sensitive skin. So is CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. Some folks prefer CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion for its lighter texture. A friend of mine loves Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Gel Moisturizer for her dry sensitive skin, though she says it's not always moisturizing enough in very cold winter weather. Also consider a Cetaphil moisturizer. You can find most or all of those products at your local drugstore or Target. Good effective skincare needn't be pricey! 


If you want something Sephora sells, consider SEPHORA COLLECTION All Day Hyaluronic Acid Hydrator Moisturizer 1.69 oz/ 50 mL . You could also try The INKEY List Peptide Moisturizer 1.7 oz/ 50 mL which relies mostly on shea butter for moisturization. I'd also recommend The Inkey List Hemp Oil Moisturizer but Sephora doesn't currently carry it anymore; you can get it direct from the brand. Note that this Inkey List moisturizer contains coconut oil; if you know your skin's sensitive to that ingredient, then skip this product. 


Or, if you wanna spend more money and your skin's not sensitive to fragrance, I used to love Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Lightweight Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid 2 oz / 59 mL . I had to stop using it when YTTP added too many fragrance components (my facial skin doesn't like those). Something kinda similar I've never used is Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Acid Refillable Moisturizer . Rather than buy a full jar of either of those 2 moisturizers, I recommend getting samples from your local Sephora store and patch testing them to make sure none of their plant extracts or fragrance components will tick your skin off. 


I have mostly-dry combo skin (my nose area is oily, forehead's kinda "normal"/balanced, and the rest of my face is dry) that's fairly sensitive, quite reactive/inflammation-prone, and doesn't like certain ingredients. I use Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer in the morning and top it with a broad spectrum sunscreen. In summer, when temps heat up, I can usually skip moisturizer and rely on sunscreen to act as a moisturizer—as long as the sunscreen contains at least one good moisturizing ingredient like dimethicone, squalane, shea butter, etc. 

Re: Please help choose choose a cleanser!

Thank you sososo much! This is a huge help! 

I have a following question. What would be the best way to use Azelaic product? Few days a week or everyday? 
And what kind of moisturiser would you recommend for a combo like that? 

Re: Please help choose choose a cleanser!

No problem @Roklobster! Azelaic acid can be used daily. The OTC products can even be used twice a day. You can apply azelaic acid to your whole face, or just spot/area treat (apply to the area that needs it). I use it on my whole face to help with hyperpigmentation and give my skin an extra antioxidant boost. Depending on how sensitive your skin is, azelaic acid might make you feel itchy in the first few weeks of use. That happened to me. After a month of use, my skin adapted and this ingredient no longer causes tingling or itching. 

What’s your current moisturizer? You can most likely use it with azelaic acid, which plays nice with many other ingredients. 

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