My Skin Care Routine For Adult Acne

May 11, 2019

Skin Care Routine For Acne Prone Skin

There's nothing more staggering than having great skin your whole life and waking up one day with a face covered in acne, in your late twenties. I didn't know what to do, I'd never needed a skin care routine before. I could use pretty much anything they had at the drugstore; cheap makeup wipes, moisturisers, face masks, budget foundations and primers. I quickly learned that those days were over. Now I know what serums are, toners, products with comedogenic ingredients. It's taken me 2 years but I've finally reached a point where I'm really confident and happy with my skin care choices. Of course, I still have instances where my skin isn't having the best time but thankfully I manage to cope with those moments as well. My skin is smooth and more importantly fresh and happy. So, if you are someone who struggles with adult acne or with acne in general, here are my personal skin care favorites and recommendations for treating and preventing breakouts successfully.

1. Hydrating acne prone skin

Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum 

One piece of advice I can give you, that is going to make a major difference when it comes to treating your acne, is to start using a serum. Just doing that cleared up the majority of my acne, especially the bumps that just seem to either never go away or always come back in the exact same spot. I didn't start using a serum immediately, it was recommend by my GP when I had an unrelated, bizarre rash on my face. He confirmed I had acne prone skin and he suggested trying a serum. I didn't pick up the one he recommended (I would have if it had been necessary), I just went with whatever I wanted to try and it worked. So if there's one thing I suggest you do, it's to go with whatever feels right for you. You're going to make wrong decisions along the way and your skin is going to have a fit but it's going to get better as you get to know your skin better. I started using Caudalie products because a fellow youtuber with a similar story to mine had tried them as well and had had successful results. The Caudalie serum is now a product I'm unwilling to compromise on. It taught me so much about how important it is to stay hydrated, drinking lots of water, and to hydrate your skin. Not only did the Caudalie Radiance Serum clear the majority of my acne, it also helped reduce the fine lines around my eyes and the redness on my cheeks I'd been struggling with for years at this point. Caudalie has different types of serums, the Vinoperfect Radiance Serum is the one I like the most.

Avène Redness Relief Protecting Emulsion SPF 20

Moisturisers have always been tricky for me. They seem to work in the beginning and then slowly but surely start showing signs that it's time to change it up. The Avène Redness Relief Emulsion is what is my skin prefers now. It's a lot more moisturising than other cremes I've tried which is perfect for the current weather. I like that it contains an SPF and that even though it's a very nourishing product it works great as a makeup base for my foundation. I haven't had to worry about using any kind of primer since using this. Makeup primers is a product my skin gets very upset with, so I like to stay away from those as much as possible. I remember the first time I started using the Avène Emulsion, it was as if my skin had had a little reboot, it was great. I am now on my second purchase and I'll see how it goes from here. It's a hypoallergenic moisturiser which is non comedogenic (meaning it doesn't clog pores) that is suitable for normal, sensitive and combination skin. The emulsion is green but doesn't leave that greyish sheen most green cremes do, it's easy to blend and I have seen great results when it comes to treating the redness on my face.

Skin Care Routine For Acne Prone Skin

2. Makeup Remover for acne prone skin

Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil

It was only when I started wearing waterproof makeup that I actually opted for a makeup removing oil, it makes taking of your makeup so easy. I like that the Caudalie cleanser contains almond and cornflower, those are 2 ingredients my skin has always responded well too, also with products from other brands. I rub it all over my face, dissolving the makeup I wore that day, and then remove everything with a wet washing mitt. The washing mitt helps to exfoliate the skin. When you have acne it's especially important that you clear away dead skin cells so it makes it easier for your products to soak into the skin and to achieve that healthy glow. It also makes your makeup go on smoother and your acne clear faster. Konjac sponges are also a great way for exfoliating the skin, they are gentle and each sponge can be used up to 3 months. I like to use both the washing mitt method and the sponge, obviously it's important to wash/change the mitt regularly to avoid build up of bacteria.

Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water

This is one of my holy grail skin care products. I've written an article about the ultimate Bioderma beauty hack before - where I explain how amazing this actually is but to make it brief: this is perfect as a makeup remover and a toner, when you suffer from acne. I believe some of the ingredients in this product must have some type of anti-inflammatory properties because it has done wonders for my skin. The Bioderma Micellar Water is a very gentle product that doesn't cause any irritation or stinging, which is something that is very important to me. I love to use the pink one, which is for sensitive skin, but they also have many other options available and often have a 1 plus 1 half off. I like to use this after cleansing but before toning, in the morning and evening.

3. Facewash for acne prone skin

Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk

If you are the kind of person that likes nothing other than foam cleansers - by all means skip this cleansing milk talk because I can't get enough of that stuff. This is one of the first Caudalie products I tried - and one where I could immediately tell a difference in my skin. The milk was so soothing and comforting that I was jumping of joy. Most cleansers I had tried at that point, legit, turned my face into a red - borderline purple looking, dehydrated mess. So you can imagine my excitement when I finally found a product that didn't make my skin suffer - even more. Trying something new from Caudalie is relatively easy, as a lot of their skin care comes in travel size packaging. I couldn't buy the biggest bottle fast enough. I love to use this in the shower every morning as my face wash. When my acne was really bad I would also incorporate it in my routine in the evening to remove my makeup and cleanse my face.

Makeup Remover For Acne Prone Skin

4. Toners for acne prone skin

Caudalie Hydrating Tonic Lotion

A toner is crucial to bring back the ph balance of your skin after cleansing, it's great to treat and prevent acne and make for a glowing complexion. This product from Caudalie was a crucial part of my skin care routine when I had a lot of acne, now that my skin is better I only reach for it it once in a while, during my period for example. I realised over time that when your skin starts clearing up, it's important to reevaluate what exactly you're using on your skin. Sometimes I get breakouts simply because I'm using too many different things. So if you're having issues with the products that usually do a great job, maybe just try cutting some of them out for a while.

5. Targeting acne treatments

La Roche Posay Effaclar Targeted Imperfection Corrector

If you're looking for an effective targeting product for your acne, the Effaclar Targeted Imperfection Corrector might be something for you. It's the only actual product marketed to fight acne I have always gone back to. I do have to be honest though, you have to be able to spot your breakouts pretty early on for this imperfection corrector to work. It's just as effective on small - as it is on bigger breakouts but you have to catch them in time. I like to use this product overnight as well, as putting makeup over top isn't that great, combined with foundation it usually results in flaking. When your skin will start peeling around the breakout a little that is the cream doing its job, the redness and soreness will soon be gone at this point. Random fact: this product is also great if you struggle with ingrown hairs, which is what I originally purchased it for at my pharmacy. It will take care of the inflammation within a day.

Makeup Remover For Acne Prone Skin

6. What to do when even your best anti-acne products don't work

I'm pretty sure every single person who suffers from acne struggles with this: when your skin care products have decided to give up on you. I found that there's 2 reasons that this might happen - either your skin is particularly sensitive at the moment and might be irritated because of the amount of products you're using, which means you should probably try to cut some things out as I mentioned before or - your products have simply been open for too long and have lost their efficacy, due to their exposure to air. The first thing I cut out of my routine when my skin is having a hard time is moisturiser, I also stop exfoliating for a while and I skip the toner. Keeping my routine to a minimum usually seems to do the trick just fine. When that doesn't work, I check which products are almost finished and look at my budget, what can I afford to replace and what will make sure that my skin will be back on track? The Bioderma Micellar water usually is my first answer and my serum the next. See what works for you. Having breakouts even with the best skin care routine can happen and that doesn't necessarily mean that you need to completely change up the products you're using. It also doesn't mean you should toss the products that are almost finished. I mix them in with my new ones or use them again when my skin is doing better. Check in with yourself, have you been stressed out lately? Stress can cause acne and even make it worse. Make sure you take care of yourself.


  1. My skincare used to change a lot, but even if I know my skin and ingredients well there are some problems that I can't really work on.

    1. I found that trying to accept that I will wake with breakouts has probably helped more than my skin care routine itself :)

  2. Ive found myself in your story too and I´m trying to set up my perfect skincare game for like a year. The holy grail for me is niacinamide and I absolutely love chemical peeling. Products with niacinomide, BHA and AHA really made a difference. Now I use Cerave Foaming Clenaser, COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, Glycolic acid by Mario Badescu, Revolution niacinamide + zinc serum and Cerave creme with SPF 25. I used to buy La Roche Posay Effaclar DUO+ and was happy with it too :)

    1. Thanks for letting me know your favorite skin care picks at the moment, I'll definitely look into them. I started using Cerave products about a month ago I'd say - I'm very impressed with how they work :)


Instagram follow @joliennathalie