Products & skincare routine for acne prone skin

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“People who don’t wash get spots”. You’ll have heard that before, but it’s not that straight forward. Acne is primarily caused by hormones and even the cleanest people get acne too. Find out more in acne and hormones.

That said, a conscientious, daily skincare routine − using cleansing and care products specially formulated to meet the needs of your skin − will help to reduce pimples and keep your blemish-prone skin under control. 

This article explains what you should look for when choosing skincare products and recommends a routine to suit your skin. We also look at some of the other steps you can take to help care for blemish-prone skin.

Why do I need a special skincare routine?

A conscientious daily skincare routine is crucial in the fight against pimples and blackheads

If your skin is blemish- or acne-prone it will benefit from a regular skincare routine using products that have been specially formulated to address your skin’s particular needs.

When it comes to choosing the right skincare products it might help to understand a little bit about how blemishes form. 

There are many complex and interrelated factors involved in their development - inflammation, seborrhea, hyperkeratosis and bacterial growth - and you can read more about each of these as well as how they work together here.

The most appropriate products for blemish- and acne-prone skin will address all these factors to support your skin, reduce blemishes and prevent them from reappearing.

The development of blemishes and acne

Skincare routine for blemish-prone skin


Effective cleansing − using products that have been specially formulated for blemish-prone skin − is a key step in reducing and preventing blemishes. We recommend that you cleanse twice a day. In the morning to remove the excess sebum and dead skin cells that have built up overnight and in the evening to ensure the day’s dirt, as well as all traces of make-up and concealer, are fully removed before you go to bed. This will enable your skin to renew and repair overnight. We recommend that you use lukewarm water (water that is too hot can stress skin) and choose products that have been specially formulated for blemish-prone skin such as Eucerin DermoPurifyer Cleansing Gel.


A toner that has been specially formulated for blemish-prone skin helps to clarify and refresh skin and prepare it to absorb maximum benefit from your care products. Tone as a last stage to your cleansing routine using a product such as Eucerin DermoPurifyer Oil Control Toner. We don’t recommend that you use an alcohol-based toner if you are undergoing medical acne treatment.


Blemish-prone skin requires moisturisation to help strengthen skin’s natural protective barrier but you’ll want to use a product that is non-greasy.  If you have mild to moderate blemishes, and are not undergoing medical acne treatment, choose a soothing and mattifying moisturiser such as Eucerin DermoPurifyer Oil Control Mattifying Fluid.

For clearer and smoother-looking skin over time, you may like to incorporate a skin peel such Eucerin DermoPurifyer Skin Renewal Treatment into your evening routine.

Sun protection

Sun protection is an important step in your morning routine. Blemishes can cause pigmentation issues if over-exposed to the sun, and acne medications can make blemish-prone skin even more sensitive to UV rays. Use the DermoPurifyer Protective Fluid SPF30 to prevent blemishes, control shine and protect post-acne marks from darkening due to the sun. For enhanced efficacy, use in combination with DermoPurifyer Triple Effect Serum.

Eucerin Oil Control Sun Gel Crème SPF 50+ offers the levels of protection that your skin needs and should be applied before your cover-up and make-up. If you’re applying sun protection after a topical acne treatment, wait five minutes to allow the treatment to fully absorb. Find out more in acne and sun protection.

Cover-up and make-up

Use only products that have been specially formulated for blemish-prone skin and are proven to be non-comedolytic. Anti-Pigment Day SPF 30 Tinted Light provides tinted coverage for immediately even skin.

Don’t forget to remove all traces of make-up before you go to bed. Find out more in Make-up for blemish-prone skin.

If you also experience dry patches as well as blemishes then you can read about our combination skincare routine.

Does exfoliating help with acne?

Regardless of skin type, regular exfoliation can help keep the skin looking radiant and feeling healthy and this is especially true when it comes to blemish-prone skin.

The skin naturally sheds off dead skin cells but in those with oily, blemish-prone skin, the excess sebum can cause the dead cells to stick to the skin and prevent this process from happening. Over time, this can block the pores causing acne and inflammation.

Acne-prone skin can benefit from different types of exfoliation.

Physical exfoliation

Physical exfoliation involves using a product with grains or microbeads to shed dead skin cells.

We recommend Eucerin Dermopurifyer Oil Control Scrub to help unclog pores, reduce blackheads and blemishes and refine skin texture.

It has been specially formulated to help manage oily and blemish-prone skin. It contains gentle exfoliating agents that can remove excess oil, dirt and dead skin cells, which can contribute to blocked pores and breakouts. The scrub can also help improve the skin’s texture, leaving it smoother and less prone to blemishes.

Chemical exfoliation

Chemical exfoliation involves using peeling agents, also known as fruit acids, that dissolve the protein bonds between dead skin cells and allow for their removal.

In the Eucerin DermoPurifyer Skin Renewal Treatment we use a combination of Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid and Gluconolactone. This innovative and effective 10% Hydroxy Complex opens the pores, promotes the scaling off of dead skin cells and supports skin renewal.

If you are undergoing medical treatment we do not recommend you use skin peels or exfoliators as your skin may be experiencing side effects.

We recommend using Eucerin DermoPurifyer Oil Control Adjunctive Soothing Cream to help alleviate the side effects of acne treatment. Learn more in Acne medication.

What to look for when creating a skincare routine for acne prone skin

If your skin is blemished or acne-prone it will benefit from cleansing and care products that have been specially formulated to suit its needs. Look out for the following properties on pack:

Man applying product to his face
If your skin is blemished, use products proven to be non-comedogenic

Healthy skin naturally has a pH that is mildly acidic. Blemish-prone skin tends to be more alkaline and soap has an alkaline pH so it further upsets skin’s natural balance making it more prone to infection. 

A non-comedogenic product is one that does not contain ingredients that are likely to clog pores (a clogged pore is also known as a comedone). Clogged pores lead to the formation of blackheads, whiteheads and pimples.

Blemish- and acne-prone skin already produces too much sebum so avoid greasy products.

A comedolytic product is something which breaks up comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and opens up clogged pores. You can learn more about the ways you can unclog and get rid of clogged pores here.

Keratolytic products dissolve hard plugs of skin and promote the natural process by which skin sheds its dead skin cells.

A mildly acidic pH
Blemish-prone skin is more alkaline than normal skin which has a mildly acidic pH. Products for blemished skin benefit from being mildly acidic as this helps to return skin to its optimal pH.

All products in the Eucerin DermoPurifyer range have been specially formulated for blemish and acne-prone skin.

Best ingredients for acne

Sebum regulating ingredients
Look out for products that are able to regulate the amount of sebum your skin produces. Ingredients such as L-Carnitine help cells to absorb free fatty acids where the mitochondria turn them into energy. This reduces the amount left over to form sebum, thereby controlling sebum production. Mattifying particles, when added to formulas, can also help to absorb any excess sebum on the skin. L-Carnitine and mattifying particles are part of the sebum regulating technology used in several of the DermoPurifyer products.


Licochalcone A
Licochalcone A is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory extracted from the root of the Chinese Liquorice plant. It reduces redness, helps to soothe inflammation and is a key active in several products in the DermoPurifyer range. 


Mild surfactants
Cleansing is an important step to caring for blemish-prone skin, but harsh cleansers can strip skin of its natural balance and exacerbate symptoms. Look out for mild, soap-free cleansers such as the Amphoteric surfactants and APG Complex used in the cleansers in the DermoPurifyer range.

Woman smiling
Using products suited for acne-prone skin can help reduce acne


SymSitive* regulates the sensitivity of hyper-reactive skin sensory fibres, offering immediate and long-lasting relief from tingling, stinging and burning. As well as calming skin it increases skin-tolerance and, over time, helps to make skin more resistant. It is a key active in Eucerin DermoPurifyer Oil Control Adjunctive Soothing Cream.
* registered trademark of Symrise AG, Germany


These important lipids strengthen the skin barrier helping to prevent moisture loss and keeping out irritants that can cause inflammation and itching. Eucerin uses synthetic Ceramides that are biologically-identical and that enhance skin’s natural barrier – locking in moisture and preventing dryness and irritation.


Lactic Acid
Lactic Acid (also known as Lactate) is one of the skin’s Natural Moisturising Factors (NMF) and a key component of skin’s protective acid mantle which regulates the pH value of skin. It absorbs and retains moisture within the outermost layer of the skin and so plays a vital role in skin condition. It is also comedolytic.

What else can I do to help my acne-prone skin?

  • Leave pimples alone
    Try to keep your hands away from your face as picking blemishes spreads bacteria and makes things worse not better.
  • Shave carefully
    Take care when wet or dry shaving so as not to be too rough on your blemish-prone skin.
  • Steam
    Facial steaming and saunas can help to open up and unblock pores.
  • Keep bacteria to a minimum
    Clean your mobile phone, pillow cases and towels regularly to help reduce bacteria. Find out more in tips for acne.
  • Look after yourself
    Exercise, a good night’s sleep and a healthy, balanced diet will help you to stay healthy and positive overall, reduce stress (which can trigger hormones and exacerbate acne) and improve your skin’s natural resilience.
  • Treat post-acne marks
    To reduce post-acne marks, reduce blemishes and control shine use, the clinically tested DermoPurifyer Triple Effect Serum with patented Thiamidol. Learn more in How to reduce pimple marks.

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