Top Tips for Breakout-Prone Skin

The cause of breakout-prone skin is varied and can be down to a number of reasons but first of all, let’s clear a few things up (no pun intended):

There is a difference between breakout-prone skin and acne. 

Acne is a chronic skin condition. 

'Breakout-prone skin' is skin that is consistently prone to breakouts every so often or on a consistent but sporadic basis.

A note on this: ‘breakout prone’ doesn’t always mean oily skin; your skin can be breakout prone but dry or combination too. 


Think your skin is breakout-prone? Read on for top tips to help care for your complexion:

Breakout prone skin can be reactive to things easily so keeping it simple and focusing on your skin's health can prevent a flare-up:

  1. Try not to overdo it with the actives and overwhelm your skin with too many at once. 

  2. Don’t get drawn into every trending skincare product and end up with a 9-step skincare routine

  3. Think gentle cleansers, hydrating your skin sufficiently and protecting it with an SPF.


  • Use a salicylic acid toner or pre-soaked pads once a week to help prevent congestion. Salicylic acid is a BHA (beta hydroxy acid), an oil-soluble ingredient that works to decongest and unclog pores. This makes it perfect for breakout-prone skin.

  • Use a product including vitamin A (e.g., retinol) according to as and when you may need it. This could be a higher strength formula that you use as a spot treatment rather than all over your face.

  • Spot treatments work well for breakout-prone skin as you can really target the affected area specifically (think of the arcade game ‘whack a mole'). Pimple patches or products containing vitamin A, salicylic acid, succinic acid, and niacinamide are perfect to apply as and when you need them.

  • Don’t fear oils. Squalane and rosehip are great choices as they're lightweight and can help to calm inflammation and redness left after spots. 

  • Make a note of any trends in triggers you find that cause your skin to breakout. This can be anything from specific foods you eat or even which stage on your menstrual cycle you are in. Breakouts aren't always down to what you are or are not doing within your skincare routine. 


Words by Ella Gorton, Skin Specialist

Qualifications – NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Beauty Therapy


Follow Ella @_myskinstory

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