I wish there was a miracle product that could make acne disappear without a trace!! But unfortunately the acne beast likes to play a little hard to get. It takes patience, consistency and relaxed mind..Easier said then done, but try not to stress about your breakout or it will just make it worse!!
Goals with topical products should be to kill the bacteria and control the oil production on the skin.
The first step that should not ever be skipped is washing your face morning and night! The night time wash will remove the bacteria, makeup and buildup from the day. The morning wash will remove the dirt and oils that get transferred from your pillow to your pores while you sleep! Yuck! The night time is also when the skin will detoxify itself. So we need to clean off the toxins in the morning by cleansing. A foamy treatment cleanser is best to really grab the dirt from your skin. Leave the cleanser on your skin for at least 60 SECONDS! This will give the cleanser time to actually work. My favorite cleanser is from VI Peel Cleanser for all skin types. It's ph balanced so it's like a toner + cleanser in one step, sulfate free and paraben free.
Salicylic Acid is a great ingredient to control the oil and bacteria. A 2% concentration for home use is sufficient for an every day or every other day application. Dr. Dennis Gross and Visual Changes make amazing 'peel pads" to use at home. These pads have salicylic and glycolic acids (aka. bha and aha) which are easy to wipe all over your face or just on break out areas. If you choose a salicylic in a cream or gel form, make sure to apply a very thin area over the breakout and the surrounding area of breakout. DO NOT put a huge gob of product on the breakout as this will literally burn your skin! Then you have a different problem on your hands!
Another fast acting acne ingredient is Benzoyl Peroxide. This ingredient can come in many formulations. Some are much better than others. The lower quality versions tend to cause a lot of irritation on the surface of the skin. While they may kill the bacteria lying on the surface, it does not penetrate down the pore to kill the deeper bacteria. Thus, the results are temporary . OTC 10% benzoyl peroxides and products like Proactive tend to do this. This is because the molecule isn't small enough to penetrate down the pore to kill the bacteria. OBAGI Clenziderm has a very effective and easy 3 step acne line with a great Benzoyl Peroxide.
Keep the products simple and do not dry out your skin too much or for too long! Make sure to follow with a light oil free moisturizer or hydrating serum to keep the ph balance. Balanced skin is happy skin!!