Why is my acne NOT getting better? 5 possible reasons and solutions

Acne is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages. It’s caused by 4 main factors- including oil (sebum) production, clogged pores (keratinization), inflammation, and bacteria. While there is no cure for acne, there are many ways to improve it.

Start with a complete skincare routine with products paired on purpose for your skin type. 

Here are five factors of acne treatment you may not have heard of, but we always want to address:

  • Prioritizing moisturization is essential. Repair your skin's moisture barrier to prevent breakouts and tolerate acne treatments better. A thicker moisturizer can be the answer for breakout-prone skin and helps with retinoids and other acne treatments. One option is to incorporate a thicker moisturizer, particularly at night. Do this in combo with a gentle cleanser, and you’ve completed to first step to acne treatment.
  • Treat the yeast. When the skin's protective moisture barrier is compromised, it allows normal yeast and bacteria on the skin to cause issues. Use Nizoral shampoo, available at the drugstore, to target breakouts caused by yeast. Apply on clean skin, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, and rinse in the shower. Use it three times a week for about a month then use once weekly for maintenance. It can also be beneficial for oily hair and body acne.
  • Dairy can be a culprit for some breakouts, but it's usually not the only cause. Try avoiding dairy for 4-6 weeks, then reintroduce one dairy product at a time. If breakouts return, it could indicate a sensitivity. Pay attention to creamy coffee drinks and whey protein, which are common dairy triggers. You can also consider trying organic dairy or eliminating dairy from your diet for a month to observe any potential differences. This includes whey protein too! The best alternatives to whey protein are pea protein (plant-based protein).
  • Niacinamide: This ingredient is beneficial for everyone. It repairs and supports the skin barrier, helps control breakouts, and reduces irritation without the need for a thicker moisturizer. It's great for all ages. I especially like it as a serum twice daily, and especially before a retinoid at night.
  • Hormones constantly fluctuate, both positively and negatively. If you've recently started birth control or experienced hormonal changes due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause, or perimenopause, keep in mind that it takes at least three months for hormones to regulate.

Don't hesitate to schedule an appointment at your local dermatology clinic. There are prescription medications, whether in pill form or topical treatments, that are often necessary or at least improve your skin quicker. 

If your current skincare routine with active ingredients isn't yielding desired results, adjustments may be necessary. A comprehensive skincare routine is crucial, and I would argue 100% necessary, because many acne products tend to be drying.

I’ll fill the gap for you in a 1:1 consult if you don’t receive a complete routine from your dermatology visit. 

I hope these tips help you improve your acne. It’s important to understanding breakouts and remember, patience and persistence are key. With a little effort, you can clear up your skin and achieve the clear, healthy complexion you desire.