Keeping your face, neck, body, and other parts affected by acne clean is the best preventive measure you can adopt. This clears your skin of dirt and excessive oil that clog pores and cause acne. These days, there is a range of soaps available to treat various skin disorders or simply to keep the skin glowing and hydrated. You get super-fatted soaps, soaps with deodorants, rejuvenating soaps, soaps made from oatmeal, avocado, aloe vera, sandalwood, citrus, peppermint, wintergreen, vitamin E, patchouli and so on.
Your cosmetologist or dermatologist will advise you as to the best acne soap that will suit your skin type.
Techniques to follow
This may sound like the warden of a hostel ordering kids to wash behind their ears! However, for acne-prone skin, there are simple wash techniques that can ease the symptoms. The kind of soap you use also matters. Using a mild soap twice a day is sufficient. Do not scrub acne areas too vigorously for this aggravates the condition and cause acne to flare up.
- Use lukewarm water to wet the soap
- Use a soft washcloth or fingertips to apply the soap on affected areas. Rub gently using a circular motion. To get the best effect out of your acne soap, leave it on for at least 5-10 minutes. Sandpapers, loofahs, brushes and sponges all are harsh on the skin and must not be used.
- Wash your face completely with lukewarm water
- Pat dry gently using only a soft cotton towel – never scrub vigorously for this can pop the pimples
Soaps for Acne
There are different acne soaps available and while there are many with exotic names, using products that have been around for long is better. So, depending on your skin type, you can use the following soaps:
- Ivory soap for oily skin
- Dove soap for dry skin
- Non-soap cleansers for extra-sensitive skin prone to allergic reactions, such as – Aquanil, Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser or Cetaphil
- There are also acne soaps available made from benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, antibacterial cleansers or triclosan
- Liquid soaps with special exfoliating agents are also good for acne treatment. These products will contain salicylic acid or glycolic acid. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells on the top of the skin and clear clogged pores.
- Antibacterial soaps are also good acne soaps for they fight bacteria that cause pimples and pustules to form.
Soaps made using special ingredients
Sulfur soaps and other sulfur-based products have been used for years to clear acne. They dry out the skin; cause it to peel and clear whiteheads and blackheads. Be careful for sulfur soaps can promote new follicle blockage. The one negative about sulfur soaps is that it smells bad. Using it at night might help.
Charcoal Soaps: It sounds bizarre to talk of charcoal and soap but in recent years, activated charcoal is being used to produce cleansers and natural soaps. Charcoal can draw out toxins and impurities from the face to relieve acne. Although there is no substantial proof about the benefits of activated charcoal on the skin, it will not harm it. Hence, a soap containing this can be added to your cleansing routine and is safer than soaps with harsh chemicals.
Natural Soaps: Soaps made using natural products like essential oils, saponified oils, glycerine or lye are all good for soothing acne skin. Natural soaps are available as liquid or bars, scented or unscented. Popular essential oils used for acne soaps are bergamot, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, rosemary, ginger, tea tree and rosewood, sweet marjoram, clary sage all of which contain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Soaps made using such natural ingredients cleanse the skin gently and soothe the acne inflammation. They prevent pores from getting clogged and keep skin clean.
There are special facial cleansers that are made for delicate skin. Facial cleansers are usually oil-free and contain gentle cleansing agents that fight acne. Inexpensive cleansers available at drug stores. Ensure they do not have harsh, abrasive elements. Medicated alcohol-free cleansers containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfacetamide are good for acne-prone skin. A facial cleanser that contains lanolin, petrolatum or mineral oil – emollients – and humectants like alpha-hydroxy acids or glycerin can hydrate the skin and help smooth rough skin.
Tips when choosing acne soaps
Do not use the same soap on the acne areas as on the rest of the body. Do not keep changing your soaps very often. Avoid soaps that contain alcohol or other harsh chemicals that can dry the skin.
When choosing acne soaps, make sure you consult your dermatologist to ensure they will suit your skin and not worsen acne conditions. Sometimes a product will be labeled as ‘natural’ but could contain ingredients that inflame the skin. Some manufacturers may not follow proper guidelines when using essential oils in acne soaps.
Acne soaps are only the first line of defense and cannot cure acne symptoms – especially severe ones. They can be part of a good daily cleansing routine that will keep the skin clean, free of dirt and debris and excessive oil. Acne soaps and cleansers help to prevent clogging of pores and this in itself can help control an acne outbreak. It is important to choose a soap that is mild, free of chemicals and one that will suit your skin type.