Today’s topic is all about dry skin that is acne prone, and how do we treat the red and brown marks for skin of color? Because for skin of color, not only do we get the acne, but we get the inflammation, which triggers our Melanocytes, the cells that produce a pigment melanin, which leads to brown marks. Unfortunately, majority of treatments for acne tend to dry the skin further, which can actually be such a pain for someone who’s already got dehydrated skin, sensitive skin, what do you do? So I think that this video really needs to be made. You guys have asked me to make it a lot, so I’m glad finally we got around to doing it. If that sounds good to you, please give me a thumbs up. Let’s dive right in.
Now, the first mistake that I see being made is that if you have dry oily skin, then it’s more likely that your skin is dehydrated and actually the skin barrier has been damaged. And that’s something we need to repair. When you’re trying to treat your skin often we can become too aggressive with it. So for example, scrubbing is something that I’ve seen, a big mistake that I’ve seen with acne skin. If you’re scrubbing the skin then you tend to damage the skin barrier, and then you’re left with dehydrated skin. Now you’ve got acne and dehydrated skin which is then difficult to treat, because now you have two problems to treat rather than just one.
Often acne is exacerbated by, and damaged skin is exacerbated by irritating ingredients. And by irritating ingredients, I’m sure by now, if you’ve watched enough of my videos, you know what I was about to come out my mouth. Those are things like fragrance, denatured alcohol, which can be quite drying because it evaporates quickly. When it evaporates, it takes water away with it. Essential oils, I’ve actually seen whole brands market themselves on the fact that they have essential oils, but essential oils are a skin sensitizer.
Now imagine your skin is already inflamed. It’s already got acne, which is inflammation, and dry, which means it’s already irritated. Why would you add an irritant on top? It’s not something that I would advise. Have a look at all the products that you’re currently putting on your skin, just to make sure it doesn’t have any of the things that I’m talking about. So, essential oils, denatured alcohol or fragrance. One that I see come up often as menthyl. So menthyl gives you a cooling sensation. And so you actually… You almost feel like you’re getting relief from pain. The problem is that it can also be a skin sensitizer, and for skin of color we have to be more careful. Our standards have to be higher than even for Caucasian skin. So it’s just not something that I would put on your skin. You have to cost-benefit analysis on every ingredient and think, is it worth it or not? And with menthyl I would say not.
So for dry acne skin, first of all, we have to repair the skin barrier. Then we have to get the acne under control. We have to deal with dry skin, and unfortunately the ingredients to treat acne tend to dry the skin further. So things like salicylic acid, vitamin A, benzoyl peroxide are all quite drying to the skin. And then with skin of color we have to deal with the brown marks and the red marks. And then you also need to find a moisturizer and a sunscreen that doesn’t clog your skin. So actually we have a number of problems that we have to treat when it comes to dry acne skin for skin of color.
Now the routine I would give you would start off with your SA. So first of all, I start off with a gentle face wash that is able to unplug the pores. So the one I recommend is Cerave SA because it has humectants in it, so it’s hydrating, but it also has salicylic acid, which is fat-soluble, can enter into the pore, which is basically a pool of fat, and unclog it, which is essential. The reason I probably wouldn’t say go with a benzoyl peroxide face wash is because that really is quite drying to the skin, and I want you to be using humectants. I need you to be using a product that has… That’s able to retain water in the epidermis, and that’s why I would opt for something like a Cerave SA.
The second product I want you to wear is a toner that is hydrating, has no alcohol in it, but it also has niacinamide in it. So something like COSRX Centella asiatica for example, is a great toner for this purpose. So you want to make sure you’re getting your niacinamide onto the skin because that controls sebum. But niacinamide actually does multiple things. It’s also very good for irritated skin, which is basically what you have with dry skin. Dry skin, if anyone’s experienced it, is very irritating. So niacinamide is a fantastic multi-functional ingredient that you want to put on first to the skin.
Next, I would recommend you wear your 2% BHA, your salicylic acid, but the difference between you and oily skin is that I would say, only spot treat it. Just apply it to the areas that you are about to get a spot. You know when it’s starting to feel tender and a little bit swollen, or on a live spot, because what that does will unclog the poor, but it’s quite drying as well and I don’t really want you putting that on the rest of the face when the skin barrier has been compromised.
So the one I like is from Paula’s Choice because it’s quite soothing. It does have anti-inflammatories in and humectants in it, so it’s probably the least irritating 2% BHA. It’s not just about, buy a product that has got 2% BHA in it, because you do actually need to look at the other ingredients. Is there anything else in it that could potentially irritate your skin, such as alcohol, such as fragrance? And especially with inflamed skin, and that’s why I tend to recommend Paula’s Choice 2%.
Now, the next step would be, what do we do for the red marks? So, I love the ingredient azelaic acid. So you’ve already got your niacinamide, which is great, but azelaic acid is also excellent. The one I really like is Azeclear A15 serum which has also got Colloidal Oat in it. It’s got aloe and green tea extract. So these are all skin soothers. So if red marks predominantly are your biggest issue, then definitely purchase that product. So Azeclear A15 is excellent. And then moving on to the brown marks.
And now for something that I have been wanting to announce for so long. For everybody who has face pigmentation post acne, you know how we talk about tyrosinase inhibitors? I created a facial pigmentation kit with 10 different tyrosinase inhibitors in it. So it is called the Facial Pigmentation Kit. There you go. Can you see it? I’m so excited. It’s a two piece kit and I’ll show you what’s in it. So it’s a two piece kit. You’ve got your HPC CLEAR, which is twice as big as VITA A.C.E, and you basically wear your HPC CLEAR two nights, and then the third night you switched to your VITA A.C.E and you repeat.
So, are you ready with a list of tyrosinase inhibitors. So we’ve put in Kojic Dipalmitate, Alpha Arbutin, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, my favorite form of vitamin C. Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Octadecenedioic Acid, which is an excellent tyrosinase inhibitor with very little side effects, great for skin of color and not enough people are formulating with that particular ingredient. Then I put in three different forms of vitamin A. So I basically targeted every part of the Vitamin A pathway. So, I’ve got the Retinol, Retinaldehyde, Retinyl Palmitate. I’ve also put in vitamin E, because don’t forget, when you’re using antioxidants, you want to use them in combination. So vitamin A is an antioxidant which works really well with vitamin E. Of course, it’s got no fragrance, no essential oils, no denatured alcohol, and has been designed for skin of color.
So when we did our trials on skin of color, what we realized was often when I started a cream with a cocktail of only three tyrosinase inhibitors or four tyrosinase inhibitors, I really wasn’t getting the results that I wanted when it came to pigmentation, because the skin of color, our melanocytes are very stubborn. They tend to take months and months to calm down and bring back to the normal rate of the surrounding melanocytes. And actually, when you layer a single ingredient actives, by the time you get to the third or the fourth active, you’re not really getting any penetration down to the epidermal-dermal junction, which is where the melanocyte lives. So, generally you’ll see… You’ll get good results with the first ingredient that you put onto the skin, but for us, when we need more simultaneously then often single actives aren’t good enough. It’s a good place to start, it’s the cheapest place to start. And that’s what I would always say. Start cheap.
If for example, 2% Alpha Arbutin from The Ordinary is good enough for you, then definitely just do that. It’s when you’ve tried that, and you’ve tried layering with other tyrosinase inhibitors and you think, actually I’m not getting the reduction of pigmentation that I want. Then you’re thinking I need to be using more tyrosinase inhibitors in combination simultaneously. So start cheap, because this is not a cheap kit. It’s £110 per kit. So it was not a cheap kit. But it’s the only kit in the market that’s been designed for pigmentation for skin of color. Unfortunately, for me to do that, it meant that I had to use multiple tyrosinase inhibitors, which are very expensive. And so it’s not for everybody, but if you’ve tried the cheap things and they haven’t worked, then it might be worth it for you.
So the facial pigmentation kit is available globally, and you can purchase it from my website, which is down, skincare by Dr. V. And all my kits have been designed for skin of color. As you know, everything I do is dedicated to skin of color. So whether it’s a dark circle’s kit, the facial pigmentation kit, the lip pigmentation kit, it’s for skin of color. And all the clinical trials are done on skin of color, and that’s important.
If you feel like your skin is still dry after these ingredients, then I would apply your Cerave cream on top, which is non-comedogenic and fragrance free with ceramides in it. Don’t forget though, with skin of color we have less ceramides than Caucasian skin, and so we do want to top-up with ceramides. If your skin still feels dry at this point, then I would also top up with a 100% Squalane from The Ordinary is great as well, or Marula oil. I love Marula oil from Naturium.
So, choose whichever facial barrier oil you want on top if your skin is still feeling dry, because often a lot of the ingredients that we put on the skin, especially if you’re using vitamin A, it can dry the skin. So even with the facial pigmentation kit, I would only put it on the brown spots. You wouldn’t put it everywhere if your skin barrier has been damaged.