how to deal with breakouts if you’re oily + sensitive

Dear Miss Beauty Nerd,
I’ve been breaking out a lot lately and don’t know how to stop the break outs without killing my pores…do you have any ideas I could use? I break out with pimples a lot…and I have combo skin it’s kinda oily and sensitive to certain products (e.g. Noxema and various scrubs). I haven’t been using any products out of the ordinary. Currently, I am using Neutrogena oil-free acne wash and Clean and Clear dual action moisturizer.

Hi B,
Thanks for your fantastic question! Let me assure you that you are not alone. I frequently get asked the “how do I get rid of my breakouts when I have sensitive skin” question. Noxema and other scrubs can definitely lead to irritation for sensitive skin types, so I would advise you to try and avoid any kind of exfoliation, if possible. Because you are oily + sensitive, you should use a regimen that can combat pesky pimples while calming the skin at the same time.

Here are my recommendations:
Cleansers: Choose cleansers that can minimize excess oils, but also contains anti-inflammatory benefits. Cetaphil’s Daily Facial Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin is always a safe bet (although not the sexiest product, I know). I also like Philosophy’s Clear Days Ahead™ Oil-Free Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment Cleanser.
Breakout treatments: Look for spot treatments that contain 2.5% benzoyl peroxide. I would avoid anything higher than this % as it may irritate your skin. Neutrogena’s On-the-Spot Acne treatment is a pretty good choice.
Moisturizers: Because your skin already produces excess oils, make sure you choose a moisturizer that is non-comedogenic so that it won’t clog your pores. Also, try to choose one which is going to help calm and soothe the skin, since both acne and skin sensitivities will result in inflammation. I like Aveeno’s Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30 because it contains feverfew which has powerful soothing properties. You’ll also get some sun protection with this product!
Masks: Masks are an oily skin gal’s best friend. Skinceutical’s Clarifying Clay Mask is absolutely excellent, although it’s a bit pricey. DDF’s Sulfur Therapeutic Mask is quite popular as well. Feel free to use 3-4x per week.

Try this out for about 6 weeks and let me know if your skin improves. Also, don’t forget to fill your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables. Grapefruits are especially good for you because they are high in Vitamin C. I’d also drink green tea frequently for added antioxidant benefits. This way, you are giving yourself the maximum chance of clearing up your skin! If you do not see any progress after 6 weeks of following the above recommendations, you should consult with a dermatologist.

Good luck and let me know how it goes!


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