How to Layer Skincare: Acne-Prone and Oily Skin Edition
Hardly a day goes by without our customer care channels buzzing with the question “How do I layer my skincare?” And we don’t blame them—figuring out what to use and when can be likened to solving a complex puzzle. This is especially true if you’re prone to acne or oiliness, skin concerns that can easily worsen when faced with too many products or harsh ingredients. Keeping in mind what ingredients play well together and how often to incorporate treatments like exfoliants and facial peels, we put our heads together to come up with an AM and PM skincare regimen you can follow if you’re acneic or have oily skin. Bookmark or screenshot our schedule below.
A few tips: Breakout-prone skin, in particular, is prone to irritation and sensitization. We suggest introducing one product at a time or performing a patch test before reinventing your entire routine. Some treatments should only be applied a few times a week to avoid stressing out the skin—we include how often to use those below. And finally, don’t forget that there are many causes of acne. For best results, avoid touching your face and popping pimples, wash your pillowcases regularly, disinfect your phone, and avoid cleansing with piping hot water.
AM SKINCARE ROUTINEStep 1: Cleanser with Salicylic Acid
Start your routine off with our Acne-Calming Cream Cleanser. The hero here is the 1.5% salicylic acid, a BHA that unclogs pores and clears up breakouts. Anti-inflammatory blue tansy calms and irritation and redness while apple fruit extract removes excess buildup and oil.
Step 2: Toner with AHAs (3-4x per week)
Grab a Reusable Cotton Round and swipe Weekend Glow across the skin. Toner helps catch any leftover residue and makeup post-cleanse, but this one also uses AHAs to remove gunk that can stretch out pores. It also exfoliates, helping to treat post-acne marks and hyperpigmentation.
Step 3: Clay Mask (2x per week)
Once or twice a week on the days you skip toner, incorporate a non-drying clay mask, like our Purifying Mask into your routine instead. It uses a blend of clays and charcoals to mildly exfoliate the skin, sopping up excess sebum and detoxing pores.
Step 4: Clarifying Serum
While skin is still slightly damp from toner or rinsing off the mask, gently pat on 2-3 drops of Just Breathe Clarifying Serum. Niacinamide, willow bark extract, and zinc work together to prevent breakouts, calm inflammation, and strengthen and promote healthy, balanced skin.
Step 5: Lightweight Moisturizer
Don’t skip this step: While it may seem counterintuitive, oily skin types should still moisturize. Otherwise, the skin may see the lack of moisturization as a sign to produce even more oil, making things worse. Avoid heavy creams that could weigh you down though and reach for something lightweight, like Dew Point. Its gel-cream formula hydrates skin, yes, and it’s also infused with soothing green tea extract.
Step 6: Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen
No matter your skin type and concern, everyone needs sunscreen. Wearing daily SPF can also prevent sun-exposed acne from leaving behind hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
Step 7: Body Mist (optional)
Those prone to bacne should incorporate body care into their routine, too. Spritz on Back-Up Plan Acne-Control Body Mist after working out or showering to combat breakouts on the back, bum, shoulders—anywhere.
PM SKINCARE ROUTINE
Step 1: Physical Exfoliator (1x per week)
1-2 a week, physically exfoliate using Day Maker. Its creamy texture is made with uniform microcrystalline (not harsh shells or seeds) to dredge up dead skin cells and other pore-clogging impurities.
Step 2: Cleanser with Probiotics
Oily skin types will usually benefit from washing their face twice a day to eliminate excess sebum and shine. Probiotics help keep the skin’s microbiome in balance, feeding the good bacteria and strengthening the skin’s defense system. Reap their benefits for problem skin by washing your face with our Milky Cleanser. It’s also made with astringent blackberry vinegar, which suppresses acne-causing bacteria.
Step 3: Facial Peel (1x per week)
Block off 2-3 minutes one night a week for this Instant Resurfacing Mask. Formulated with AHAs, BHAs, and fruit enzymes, it removes layers of dead skin that can clog pores while reducing redness and discoloration. Keep the rest of your routine gentle for 24 hours before and after use, avoiding acids and retinol.
Step 4: Retinol Serum (4x per week)
Retinol isn’t just a hero ingredient for aging skin, its ability to boost cellular turnover benefits acne-prone skin too. Retinol helps heal breakouts faster than they would on their own while reducing the appearance of enlarged pores.
Step 5: Lightweight Moisturizer
For oily skin, use Dew Point once more. If you’re acne-prone but on the dryer side, you may choose to incorporate a thicker night cream here instead.
Step 6: Spot Treatment (when applicable)
Target existing pimples with a spot treatment. If pimples are non-inflammatory (such as blackheads and whiteheads) use a drying treatment such as Game Over. If they’re beneath the surface and inflamed, reduce swelling with Nix It.