The 10 Step Routine for Sensitive, Acne-Prone Skin

By December 6, 2017

Introducing our 10 step routine for sensitive, acne-prone skin! Soothe irritated skin while keeping breakouts at bay with these products.

When it comes to fighting acne, it seems like every brand claims to have the solution. From deep cleaning facial brushes to harsh scrubs, there are “acne treatments” around every corner. But the issue with most of these treatments is they are super harsh on the skin. Oftentimes, people with acne also deal with a lot of sensitivity and problems with irritation. For me, half the products that claim to clear my breakouts end up just making my face even more red, broken out, and sensitive than before.

So I decided it was time to sit down and pull together a list of products that are tough on acne but not on your skin. Read below to discover the products I love for keeping my acne and sensitivity at bay.

Banila Co Clean It Zero Purity

banila co cleanser

This cleanser is a total cult product and for good reason. Few products are as effective as the Clean it Zero at removing makeup and impurities, and the consistency is absolutely heavenly. With the Purity edition, Banila Co has offered us all the benefits of the original Clean It Zero without any coloring, synthetic fragrance, alcohol, parabens, or mineral oils. And to top it all off, its pH is a gentle 5.9. Long story short, it’s the oil cleanser of my dreams. 

Acwell Bubble Free pH Balancing Cleanser

acwell cleanser

I was drawn to this cleanser because of its unique formula. It has a gentle pH of 5.5 and a gel-like consistency, meaning it’s formulated without any harsh foaming agents. However, unlike other ultra-gentle gel cleansers, this one actually has ingredients that really put up a fight against acne. Formulated with salicylic acid and witch hazel, it helps to exfoliate the skin and keep pores clear. It also features centella asiatica to help reduce redness and irritation. Basically, it’s a super gentle cleanser with really powerful acne-fighting ingredients.

RE:P Bio Fresh Mask with Real Calming Herb

rep mask

When you have sensitive skin, few steps in the routine are scarier than exfoliation—especially when its physical. However, this mask has proven to be a total godsend for those of us with sensitive skin. Formulated with real herb particles, the mask gently exfoliates the skin when you apply it. Then the kaolin clay kicks in—drawing out impurities and antioxidants from deep within the skin.

But what you’ll really feel is the calendula and chamomile, which calm and soothe the skin. It’s super cooling, providing just enough exfoliation, and is a miracle worker at reducing redness and inflammation. Every time I use it, it leaves my skin visibly clearer right away. It’s really the dream product for those us with ultra-sensitive skin who still crave a good physical exfoliation.

Cosrx Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol

cosrx natural bha returning a sol

When it comes to steps in the routine that get overlooked, I feel like toners are often under-appreciated. At the end of the day, your toner is the base of your routine, so you need to make sure you’re using a toner that will treat your skin exactly like you need it to.

If you’re battling acne and sensitivity, you need an acid toner that will work to clear your pores but also soothe and hydrate your skin. Few products are as effective at this than the Cosrx Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol. Formulated with AHAs and BHAs, it goes to work to deeply chemically exfoliate the skin to keep pores clean and clear. It also boasts 60% black bee propolis, which is a total powerhouse for its hydrating, restoring, and anti-bacterial properties. This toner will leave your skin exfoliated, hydrated, and soothed every time.

Zymogen Centella Ferment Essence

When coping with breakouts, I like to use an essence that is really soothing and hydrating to help heal my skin before going after my breakouts with more targeted treatments. For soothing, my absolute go-to ingredient is centella asiatica, renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties.

That’s why when I heard about this essence, I was so excited. It’s formulated with fermented centella asiatica extract, meaning it really doubles down on the benefits of centella. The formula also boasts a handful of other calming plant extracts, working in tandem to keep your skin soothed and calm.

CNP Propolis Energy Ampoule

After my essence, I like to jump into my treatments. While sometimes I like to use an acid or a particularly astringent oil, for general blemish care, I prefer to use propolis, a super gentle and calming ingredient that also has incredible anti-bacterial properties.

It offers many of the same blemish-fighting qualities that harsh spot treatments do, but in a much calmer manner. This ampoule is one of the best propolis products out there, with a super high concentration that puts propolis as the second ingredient in the formula. Plus, it’s mixed with hyaluronic acid, which helps to hydrate the skin.

Manefit Green Tea Pore Care

manefit sheet mask

When it comes to cooling, soothing, and clearing the skin, few ingredients are as effective as green tea. Packed with antioxidants and balancing properties, it is a powerhouse ingredient that has been used for centuries. And when it’s applied with a cooling hydrogel sheet mask, it’s basically heaven.

Erborian Ginseng Infusion Eye

erborian total infusion eye

When you have sensitive skin, the skin around your eyes is even more prone to irritation and dryness, so having a good eye cream is an absolute must. This eye cream draws on ginseng—a tried and trusted ancient remedy—to help calm, soothe, and fight signs of aging. Plus, it also has centella asiatica (noticing a trend here?) to help reduce redness and puffiness.

Etude House SoonJung 2X Barrier Intensive Cream

etude house moisturizer

Moisturizers can be the hardest step to fill for acne-prone sensitive skin. You need one that is deeply hydrating and soothing, but that won’t clog pores and cause breakouts. That’s why I love this cream; it’s rich and hydrating, but is formulated without colorants, fragrance, and parabens, and has a low and gentle pH. Plus, it draws on centella, sunflower seed oil, and shea butter to soothe and nourish the skin, leaving it moisturized and refreshed without causing breakouts.

Missha Near Skin Dustless Defense

missha dustless sunscreen

And finally comes sunscreen. It’s super important to protect sensitive skin from the sun to prevent redness and further irritation, which this one does with its powerful SPF protection. It also draws from botanical extracts to re-enforce your skin barrier, fighting off free radicals, dirt, and pollution. So it protects your skin from a whole lot more than just the sun, and your skin will thank you for it.

The bottom line

I carefully chose these products because they are formulated with powerful anti-acne ingredients, but are still soothing and gentle on the skin. If you’re like me and you’d like to get clear skin without feeling like you have to peel your entire face off with acid, give these gentle warriors a try.

+ What would be in your 10 step routine for sensitive, acne-prone skin? Share your routine in the comments!

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