One Size DOES NOT Fit All: A Skincare Guide for the Acne Prone

by Lisa D'Mello on September 30, 2019

As someone who has dealt with acne from her early teens into her late 20’s I’m skeptical of skincare products that tout, “For all skin types”. There is no such thing. People have been trying to give me advice about my skin ever since I got acne and let me tell you, nothing worked! Where I went wrong - taking advice from people that had flawless skin thinking if I followed their advice I could have the same. And, I will never make that mistake again.

I now know that there is nothing better than prescription medication to cure acne and only take skincare advice from people that have acne prone or sensitive skin. And today as a cosmetic formulator, having learned about skin and the ingredients used in skincare, I thought I would write down all of the advice I would give my naive, acne-prone teenage self in regards to skincare: 


  1. Gel based moisturizers are the best!! They have glycerin - a humectant that attracts water and keeps skin moisturized. Unlike oils, gel based moisturizers will not block pores or over moisturise already oily skin. 

  1. Patch test, patch test, patch test! I cannot stress this enough but patch test everything on a small portion of your face before you apply it to your whole face. I cannot count the amount of times I have enthusiastically tried new products only to find that they make me break out. 
  1. Research your ingredients to make sure they are non comedogenic. So many gorgeous ingredients and oils do not block pores and absorb right into your skin whilst others just sit on the skin and form an occlusive layer. Make sure you research ingredients, especially oils, in your products to make sure your skin is compatible. 

  1. Birth Control can help reduce acne. I know a lot of people have been sceptical of using birth control to control acne but it’s worked well for me and a lot of my friends. It’s not for everyone of course but acne is partly a hormonal problem and birth control is great at regulating hormones like androgens that contribute to excess sebum production. 

  1. Don’t just try a product because it worked for your friend. Unfortunately we don't have the luxury of trying all the awesome products out there. In general avoid products that are oil based, makeup that blocks pores (look for the non comedogenic sign) and be wary of skincare products that claim to cure acne. Skincare is meant to only enhance the quality of your skin and cannot claim to cure acne or any other skincare disorders - these fall to medication. 

  1. Ingredients that can be used on acne prone/ oily skin: Witch Hazel, Rose, Hibiscus, Green Tea, Aloe, Tea Tree, Willow Bark and many more...

Sure, having acne can seem like a pain in the ass most times but if you are meticulous about your diet, workouts and what you put on your skin acne can be quite manageable.