Achieve Clear Skin: Little Changes, Lasting Impact

Achieve Clear Skin: Little Changes, Lasting Impact


Gina Thompson

Associate Director of Education, Glytone

Since acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, with up to 50 million Americans affected annually – if you suffer from this ailment – you’re in good company. The month of June marks Acne Awareness Month to spread awareness, reduce stigma and share solutions.  

As a licensed esthetician, and skin care educator, I can assure you – skin care professionals share your frustration managing this often debilitating skin condition. We share a common goal – physical and emotional relief in every case. Despite the innovations in medical treatments, ingredient science and aesthetic modalities, clearer skin can be challenging to achieve. 

Beyond traditional therapies to modify hormones, adjust dietary habits, regulate sebum production, kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, and exfoliate the surface of the skin – here are some small edits to consider that could lead to big changes in your acne journey.

Choose Professionals Over Influencers

Social media may provide a plethora of information, but general advice for anyone scrolling on their phone is not the same as a curated acne program for your unique situation. No two faces are alike, and even your own skin continues to change month after month. Seeking advice from a professional trained in the art and science of skin health – is an invaluable investment. In the end, it will likely cost less than experimenting with new products every time a tempting resolution pops up in your feed. Once you’re dialed in – if your professional is also an influencer – follow them and share their information with friends to show your support.

Start Simple

With an abundance of targeted acne skincare products to choose from, it can be tempting to experiment with everything you can get your hands on. If you’re introducing multiple products into a new regimen at once – it can be difficult to know for sure what’s working and what isn’t. Start with one or two products at a time and see how your skin responds, before modifying the regimen or adding in additional formulas.

Try: 2-Step Acne Routine – Acne Clearing Cleanser + Acne BPO Treatment Gel – twice daily  

If You're Exfoliating, You Should Be Hydrating

It’s true that sebum in your pores can lead to acne lesions, and minimizing oil production, with ingredients like salicylic acid, is part of a comprehensive acne regimen. However, over exfoliation of the skin can strip the barrier and create unhealthy, compromised tissue. It’s common for the skin to be both oily and dehydrated at the same time. Hydrated, healthy skin tissue will recover faster – minimizing the chances of scarring later. Incorporate hydrating skincare products that contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, into your daily regimen to ensure the skin can tolerate any skin therapies that may strip the barrier.  

Try: Soothing Lipid Recovery Cream – 3 x per week to 1 x daily

Think Outside the Box

Just because it’s a common strategy for acne-prone skin, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Everyone’s skin is different – so you may need alternative solutions that may be less known. You may be familiar with the benefits of traditional ingredients like salicylic acid, vitamin A, and benzoyl peroxide, but what about mandelic acid, lactic acid, niacinamide and tea tree oil? These ingredients can exfoliate, hydrate, reduce redness, provide antibacterial benefits, and soothe irritation. It may take some trial and error – even if you’re working with a Pro – to figure out exactly what your skin prefers. If you pay close attention – your skin will guide you.  

(Note: Micro-Peels recommended PM only)

Peel with a Professional

If skincare products alone aren’t enough – ask your skin care professional about chemical peels. Chemical peels have been around for decades, and are a foundation in skin health generally, and for acne in particular. Ingredients like salicylic acid to reduce sebum production, mandelic acid, which is antibacterial and can reduce redness, and pyruvic acid, that can address excess oil, boost collagen production and brighten the skin are just a few examples. Keep in mind – when you work with a skin care professional – you are creating a partnership. They will use their expertise in the treatment room and recommend homecare guidelines. The magic happens when everyone does their part. 

The 40-day challenge:

  • 1 Salicylic Clarifying Peel every 10 days for 40 days
  • Peel, Switch & Repeat:
  • 1st Mandelic Gentle Radiance Peel
  • 2nd Salicylic Clarifying Peel
  • 3rd Jessner Bright + Clear Peel
  • 1 peel every 2 to 4 weeks – repeat for 6 peels total (as recommended by your skin care professional)

Today’s Acne is Tomorrow’s Pigment

Once acne lesions are under control, they can leave scars behind. Sometimes those scars are in the form of depressed, icepick indentations, and other times they leave red or brown pigment in their wake. Be mindful that how acne is treated is very different than how an acne scar or pigment, in particular, is addressed. You may need to transition to brightening or pigment-reducing formulas rather than acne focused remedies. Ingredients like azelaic, kojic and lactic acids work beautifully to brighten skin that was once plagued with acne. 

Be Patient

Finally, be patient. It takes time to see results. Take filter-free selfies to monitor your progress and remind yourself how far you’ve come. Clearer, brighter skin is possible, regardless of your age, skin type, or specific symptoms. Remember to seek the advice of professionals who can guide you along in this process – you don’t have to do this alone!