Celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau already taught us how to get rid of blackheads, so now we’re tapping her for advice on our next burning question: how to prevent breakouts! “While some breakouts may be completely unavoidable, there are a few key tips to follow to help prevent many of them,” she told us.
Click through our slideshow for her tried-and-true tips to stop pimples before they start!
Rouleau’s first tip to avoid breakouts? “Don’t over-dry your skin with harsh cleansers and alcohol-based toners!” she says. It may surprise you, but the acne products in your medicine cabinet could actually be making your breakouts worse. How? When fighting a broken-out area, anti-acne products also attack the healthy surrounding skin. “Dehydrated skin cells will trap oil and acne-causing bacteria, which will ultimately cause an increase in breakouts,” she says.
The solution? Ditch the cleansers and toners loaded with alcohol or high amounts of ingredients like benzoyl peroxide. Instead, stick with gentle formulas and use spot treatment products for breakouts instead. (Keep clicking for product recommendations!)
“Salicylic acid helps to prevent blemishes and penetrates pores to clear out impurities,” Rouleau says. Luckily, the powerhouse ingredient is common in cleansers, moisturizers, and spot treatments, Rouleau says. “It’s a fabulous ingredient with proven results!”
You may not be able to prevent every breakout, but you can control how you react—so don’t pick at your skin! “A blemish usually lasts five to seven days,” Rouleau says. “But the red or dark scar from picking at the blemish can linger for weeks—or even months.” Plus, Rouleau reminds us that an ugly-but-intact blemish is much easier to cover than an open pimple!
Origins Super Spot Remover Acne Treatment Gel ($15) treats any pimples you have with a hefty dose of salicylic acid.
Cover your pimple with a medicated, green-based concealer, like Clinique’s Acne Solutions Clearing Concealer ($17)—which will treat the blemish and diffuse redness.
Neutrogena’s classic Oil-Free Acne Wash ($8) is based around pore-clearing salicylic acid.
Or try Rouleau’s AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel ($36), it has salicylic acid to keep pores clear without drying out your skin.
Oily skin? Dermalogica’s Clearing Skin Wash ($36) is packed with salicylic acid, plus tea tree oil to help regulate sebum.