I've struggled with acne for nearly 10 years now. It started in my early teens and has plagued me into my 20s (long after the time that I was supposed to "grow" out of it). The information below is just a brief outline of products that have helped my skin look better and helped me hide my flaws (for links with more information about these items, please visit my "about me" page). I personally use all of the products listed below and my skin has noticeably improved.
It is vital to take care of your skin. Using the right products in the right way does make a difference. In addition, the appropriate products create a canvas out of your skin for ease in covering up blemishes and hide flaws.
Step 1: Cleansing
The cleanser you use can make or break your skin. If you choose one with the wrong ingredients, your skin can break out more. If you choose one that's too harsh, your skin can become dry and irritated. I recommend using a mild cleanser that is made specifically for oily or blemish-prone skin. I personally use Purpose's Gentle Cleansing Bar. It lathers up quickly and gives my skin a squeaky clean feeling. It also does a great job of removing makeup. I prefer bar cleansers over any other form because they usually do a better job of cleansing and they also tend to be a bit less expensive.
Step 2: Medicating
If you use any type of topical acne medication (like I do!), this is the step to apply it. I use a gentle benzoyl peroxide peroxide cream (2.5%). I've used so many other medications (including prescriptions) that would dry my skin out and just make things worse that I was quite skeptical putting anything on my face. But, since the concentration is so low, using a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide cream does not dry me out nearly as much and is just as effective as higher concentrations.
Step 3: Moisturization
To me, this is the most important step. If you choose the right moisturizer, you can greatly reduce uncomfortable dryness. I use Eucerin Skin Renewal Day Lotion with SPF 15. This moisturizer is wonderful and very light! My skin used to flake terribly, especially during winter months. Even when I used moisturizers my skin would flake. Eucerin has lactic acid in it which helps exfoliate and I've noticed that my skin does not flake (even after I used benzoyl peroxide). I also highly recommend using a moisturizer with sunscreen. If you use acne medication, your skin is even more sensitive to sunlight, so sunscreen is essential. Another great benefit of moisturizer is that it evens out your skin's texture and makes it much easier for foundation to glide smoothly and evenly. When choosing a moisturizer, make sure that it's oil-free; heavy moisturizers and those that contain oil can make your skin break out!
Step 4 (optional): Oil-Control
If you're like me, your skin is not only acne-prone, but also oily! One product that I've found that really helps reduce the amount of shine from all the oil on my skin is Mary Kay's Oil Mattifier. Oil mattifier is applied after moisturizer but before foundation. It's been my experience that it helps keep my skin from shining for about 6 hours.
So you've taken all the right steps to ensure that your skin is taken care of. Now it's time to cover up any blemishes or flaws that might be rearing their ugly heads!
I don't ever use concealer! I've tried many different concealers in the past and could never find one that matched my skin tone close enough. However, if you have particularly dark circles, a lighter concealer provides an effective solution for cover up.
I use foundation as both my concealer and foundation. I use liquid foundation for a few reasons. I've used several different cream foundations. While the coverage this type of foundation provides is unbeatable, my skin would always break out after using it (even with foundations that claim not to clog pores!). I've also found that liquid foundation is a bit easier to blend and looks more natural. Mary Kay's Medium Coverage foundation is my favorite for acne-prone skin. It doesn't make my skin break out (it's oil-free) and it has special ingredients to help control oil. Again, when choosing a foundation, make sure it's oil-free to ensure it will not make your skin break out.
When it comes to applying foundation, I begin by smoothing the foundation over my entire face. I prefer using my fingers (rather than a sponge or other tool) because the foundation warms a bit and is easier to smooth on. Plus, blending is easier. I make sure to blend the foundation well, especially at the hair and chin lines. Then, I dot on foundation over specific blemishes or problem areas and blend.
It's important to dust your newly foundationed face with some face powder so that your makeup will last. I use Mary Kay's Loose Powder in the bathroom and Cover Girl Pressed Powder when I'm on the go. Go easy though, too much powder can give your skin a cake-look.
To keep the oil at bay when you're away from home, beauty blotters provide an alternative to using more makeup. Just gently dab a sheet over a problem area and allow the oil to be absorbed. If you're like me, it make take more than one sheet!
Thank you for taking the time to read this guide! I hope that the information it contained has been helpful. If you are looking for Mary Kay items in particular, please check out my store. For more information on any of the products listed above or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me! :)