Acne is no laughing matter. This skin condition is one that almost all of us can relate to at some point in our lives, and whether severe or not – it can have some pretty severe outcomes on our emotional well-being. Whether it’s insecurity, isolation, or depression, acne is an important condition to address and help reduce for that sake of our entire being. So if you are one of the millions of Canadians affected by acne, here are six steps that you can take in the comfort of your home to help improve the appearance of your skin.

Step #1: Cleanse Your Skin Morning and Evening

First and foremost, you must keep your skin clean, however, it is important to not over-wash your face. Keep your cleansing regimen to once in the morning and once at night in order to avoid over-washing, which can leave your skin dry and irritated, which will only make it worse. Use a gentle cleanser like SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser, PCA Skin Facial Wash or Vivier Hexam cleanser.

Step #2: Apply Alcohol-Free Toner

Often, you may not realize, but over-cleansing combined with harsh ingredients such as alcohol-based products can do more damage than good for your skin. So it’s important to choose products, such as an alcohol-free toner, that won’t dry out the skin and force it to produce more oil in the long run. Choose a toner that doesn’t contain harsh ingredients, like SkinCeuticals Equalizing Toner or PCA Nutrient Toner.

Toners are essential for tightening up your pores and reducing the oil and dirt that can settle into them. Don’t skip this step!

Step #3: Avoid Cosmetic Products Containing Harsh Ingredients

Often with skin conditions such as acne, the first thing you turn towards for a cover-up solution may also be exacerbating the problem. Many makeup products contain fragrance, dyes and fillers that can irritate your skin and leave it looking worse over time. But luckily there are better options available on the market. If you look for mineral-based makeup, anti-inflammatory products, and even medical-grade cosmetics, these can reduce irritation and breakouts on your skin. We recommend Jane Iredale mineral makeup.

Step #4: Gently Exfoliate

Exfoliation removes dead skin cells that lie on the surface of your skin and clog up pores. These dead skin cells can also prevent skincare products and topical treatments from properly penetrating the surface layer to achieve what they are supposed to do. In addition to at-home exfoliation methods and products, we recommend coming to the Ottawa Skin Clinic for an Advanced Medical Grade Facial specifically tailored to your unique skin type.

Step #5: Use a Proper Moisturizer

We all have different skin types. It can be confusing to know which products are best suited for your skin type. Selecting a moisturizer that won’t enhance your acne can be difficult. Again, it’s best to consult with your dermatologist or a skin care professional to help select the right product for your skin. We recommend PCA Skin Clearskin Moisturizer.

Step #6: Manage your Stress

Aside from hormones and genetics, stress is one of the leading triggers for breakouts on your facial skin. Therefore, you must learn to manage and reduce your levels of stress. Exercise and meditation are great ways to achieve this.

These steps may seem like a regular run of the mill, but they are essential for reducing the triggers that can cause and exacerbate your acne. It is often the simplest steps that are the most important. So stick with these six steps to help reduce those daily irritants that may be contributing to your breakouts.