Can you recommend a face mask or other post-acne maintenance treatment?
August 10, 2013 4:16 PM   Subscribe

After acne comes under control, are there face masks and other home treatments for maintaining good skin texture?

I'm a male in my 30s and at long last, acne is less of a problem. I only get 1-2 breakouts a month now and only use Cetaphil cleanser every day. I am mindful, though, about keeping acne at bay and doing other things to help with the uneven/textured damage caused by acne.

Are there good face masks for this scenario? Mild acid peels? Other good home treatments to keep the skin even, smooth, bright, not too greasy / not too dry?

(I've asked my dermatologist and he wasn't much help)
posted by deern the headlice to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Look for products with retinol- daily use will help even out your skintone and fade acne damage (just make sure you're wearing sunscreen, as retinol makes your skin extra sensitive to the sun).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:20 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Something like this, for instance.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:22 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

For keeping acne at bay, I have had some success with the DDF sulfur mask. Won't help the texture of scarred skin, though.
posted by purpleclover at 4:33 PM on August 10, 2013

Peels definitely help with acne damage. You can get TCA online for pretty cheap and apply it yourself at home. Start at a low percentage (10% or 15%), and expect to look like something out of a horror film for 3-4 days while you're peeling. It's worth it though.
posted by zeri at 5:01 PM on August 10, 2013

If you have any enlarged pores and/or still get occasional cystic outbreaks, ice is very helpful - it's not a permanent treatment, but 10 minutes of icing every night can prevent a lot of lingering inflammation and excess oil production, and generally make your mush appear smoother (especially if you're using harsh acid products).
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 5:26 PM on August 10, 2013

If you don't mind spending a little, Arcona products are worth their weight in gold for the impact they've had on my acne and acne scars.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 6:23 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

It took me awhile to find products that work well for me; I suggest you expect to try a few different brands before you find something you stick with. You might also want to consider seeking out the recommendations of a professional aesthetician at a spa or beauty salon; my skin improved tremendously after one helped me out.

If you're not using a moisturizer every day you're making a mistake. Other than that, the two things I recommend most highly are a scrub (which is harsh on the skin, but helped the texture of my skin tremendously) and a mattifier or primer (which keeps my skin from looking greasy all day long).

My routine for chemical warfare vs. acne + bad skin is as follows:

Every day moisturizer & a mattifier to control oil.
Every night moisturizer & a toner with salicylic acid.
Sometimes I tone my skin after shaving; sometimes that's going to irritate my skin too much and I don't.
A few times a week I use a facial scrub.

I have a sulphur mask to get things healed up quickly when I break out & something called "stress solution" to manage redness/inflammation while I'm broken out.

The specific products I use that I recommend:

a moisturizer good for oily skin
a scrub that is probably good for everyone

I've also had good results from products in Clinique for Men's lineup.
posted by elsp at 6:54 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have really difficult skin since puberty -- rosacea, seb dermatitis, sensitivity. For me, I've been looking into what to use for years, and what's generally useless. It's taken me a long time to identify something that works for me. I have tried practically everything in that time. And nothing, too.

The biggest piece of wisdom I can empart is this: Everyone is different. What someone swears by may not work on you, and you really need to do trial and error to find something that works for you. Secondly, people will give you a lot of 'advice/preaching/rebukes' on the assumption that your regime is lacking or you're somehow causing your own skin conditions (acne, etc), but will have no idea about the reality of living with problem skin. For example, there is no cure for rosacea, despite all the forums and help blogs and such, but I often get told what I 'should' be doing by people who have never had it, ever. So, really, take any very adamant advice with a grain of salt.

Cleansing / Moisturizing / Eyecreams:
- Most of these are created equal. They're really just an emollient.
- Doesn't matter on the cleanser so much, just use one that won't strip your skin too much. Cetaphil is great.
- Absolutely swear by microfiber face washers in lieu of face towels. (My fave is this one because it has a fluffy side and a rougher side.)

Skin Texture / Evening Out:
- Non-Astringent Toners: 1, 2.
- AHAs: Lactic Acid: 1, 2.
- BHAs: Salicylic Acid

- Retinol
- Hyaluronic Acid (Humectant which can help the skin retain moisture. I use it where I have emerging fine lines, because my skin is dry. Use 100% if you can get it. But be careful to moisturize over it when in dry conditions or it can have a reverse osmosis effect on skin whereby it sucks out the moisture instead).

- Identify dietary triggers
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods/supplements
- Sleep. Lots of sleep. Make sure to switch pillowcases every couple of days.

All of those should help a bit. I get acne occasionally but it's acne rosacea which tends to be exacerbated when my skin is dry. It's not like normal acne. Things people swear by (coconut oil, witch hazel) don't benefit me at all and make things worse.

Anyway I tend to not use AHAs and BHAs so often. Maybe once a week. Be careful with them, because I feel they're very hit and miss, but Paula's Choice has some good ones. For me it's Cleanser > Toner > Moisturizer/Serum. Occasionally, I'll do a home-made mask.

Also it's expensive, and most expensive skin-care brands are a lark. But I personally swear by SK-II Facial Treatment Essence because it completely retextured my skin, which was very problematic prior-- scaly, dry, red and cakey and moisturizers wouldn't work-- they generally irritate my skin and don't absorb. It's just a beer-yeast extract. I really don't use much nowadays, because I find the toner I linked softens just as well, so I tend to alternate. People will say it's a gimmick, but I haven't found anything that helped as much as this, prior nothing had helped. I think it's always worth at least trying.
posted by Dimes at 10:04 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

I agree with a lot what Dimes said, especially about the "everyone is different" part.

You get breakouts 1-2 times a month? I would not consider this acne. So now, post acne, what is your skin actually like? Still oily? Combination skin? Dry? It would be important to evaluate your skin to recommend specific products.

One thing that is not product specific and was not mentioned yet is the "hot cloth method" [video] for cleansing.
posted by travelwithcats at 3:17 AM on August 11, 2013

I am post-acne and I love Korean sheet masks of various types. My personal favourites are Coenzyme Q10 and Marine Algae for moisturizing without greasiness. I have exfoliation products in other places in my skincare regimen.

When buying from Ebay or other online dealers, make sure you understand the active ingredients first. Don't over-exfoliate or buy a whitening product when you don't want to whiten.
posted by Deodand at 9:25 AM on August 11, 2013

Crunchy Betty has an ebook you can buy called Crunchy Betty’s Food on Your Face for Acne and Oily Skin. there is a vid on that page for an calming oatmeal mask and if you snoop around her blog you can probably find some more free recipes too. i found her blog last week looking up recipes to make natural deodorant and i really like her info so far.
posted by wildflower at 6:19 PM on August 11, 2013

Try getting some hydrocolloid bandaids cut a small patch from the bandage that covers the blemish area either before (initial redness), during or after the breakout happens and use a little tea tree, lavender, or jojoba oil (depending on what your skin responds to) light dabbed on the breakout prior to the application of the bandage... get a good night sleep and wake up with happier nearly blemish free skin.
posted by specialk420 at 9:34 PM on August 11, 2013

« Older Bored and constantly worrying about my future   |   Showdowns of brains, not brawn Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.