The best skincare routine for acne-prone skin

If you’ve suffered from acne as a teen or as an adult, you’ll know how frustrating it can be when people oversimplify the equation. We’ve all heard the classic old wives' tales about what causes your skin to break out, and as a result, it’s easy to blame trivial lifestyle factors. But, chances are, that slice of pizza you ate over the weekend is actually not what caused you to break out *pause for dramatic effect*. 

While lifestyle factors such as stress can absolutely play a factor, they’re probably not the biggest offenders behind your breakouts. So if you’ve felt like you’ve tried everything to get rid of acne but nothing seems to be working - here are our top tips about why you may be experiencing breakouts and the best skincare routine to stop them in their tracks - based on science, not wives tales. 

Understanding different types of acne

Acne is a universal skin condition, affecting everyone at some point in their lives. It manifests in various forms, so the first step is to identify which category you fit into. 

Blackheads (open comedones)
Blackheads form as a result of oil and dead skin clogging pores and oxidising. Oxidising means that it has been exposed to air which turns them black. Blackheads are a common and mild form of acne. 

Whiteheads (closed comedones)
True to its name, whiteheads are round pimples with white tops. Unlike blackheads, whiteheads are closed at the surface of the skin as they do not come into contact with air and oxidise.

Papules are collections of small raised red spots which don’t form a head. Compared to blackheads and whiteheads, papules are more of an inflammatory type of acne.  

When a papule accumulates pus/fluid it becomes a pustule. A pustule is similar to a whitehead except the pore is extremely clogged, begins to swell and is also red and inflamed.

Nodulocystic Acne
On the surface, cysts can look like boils. They are large, sit deep within the skin and are filled with pus that has nowhere to go. Cysts are softer than nodules.  

Nodule growths are also large, they remain intact deep under the skin and feel like hard knots. They are stubborn and can last weeks or months. While inflamed and painful, the surface is often skin coloured. 

While this may seem simple enough, some of us will experience more than one type of acne at a time and often experience different types over our lifetime. If it all seems like a bit too much, definitely consult a specialist, while acne can be incredibly disheartening you can absolutely create an effective treatment plan for your skin. 

What is causing my acne

See our causes and types of breakouts article for a more in-depth run down, however, at a glance, there are six main types of acne: 

Not Washing Your Face Before Bed
During the day, dirt and oil will naturally accumulate on the face - even if you’ve barely gone outside. If you don’t use an effective cleanser before you go to bed, this dirt and bacteria will transfer onto your pillowcase. If you expose your skin to this bacteria while you sleep, this can lead to breakouts - particularly around the chin and cheek area. 

Fix It: Cleanse with Murad Clarifying Cream Cleanser or Skinsmiths Purifying Gel Cleanser before bed, and consider changing your pillowcase regularly, opting for silk to reduce bacterial buildup.

Stress and Lack of Sleep
Higher stress levels increase cortisol production, which can exacerbate acne. Similarly, inadequate sleep affects skin health. Hormones, unfortunately, are a huge contributor to acne, so knowing how to keep them at bay is crucial to long-term skin success. 

Fix It: Manage stress with activities like meditation or exercise, and prioritise a full night's sleep.

Excessive scrubbing can dry and irritate the skin, worsening breakouts rather than improving them. Dry skin in general can be a cause of acne, and whether that dryness comes from genetics or your skincare routine, it doesn’t matter. If you use an exfoliator too often, you may be drying out and irritating the skin, which actually leads to more breakouts - not less. 

Fix It: Reduce exfoliation frequency to once or twice a week using gentle chemical exfoliants like Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser.

Sun Exposure
Speaking of old wives' tales… have you ever been told that the sun will help clear up your acne? Well, it actually has the opposite effect. As we spoke about, dryness can be a number one contributor to acne and breakouts, sun exposure drains moisture from the skin and can trigger excess oil production. While it can feel logical for people to ‘dry out’ their skin when they’re experiencing breakouts, this is actually the opposite of what you should do! It’s also dangerous and can increase your risk of developing skin cancers. 

Fix It: Always use Murad City Skin Age Defence Broad Spectrum SPF 50 and limit time in the sun, protecting your skin from damage.

Skincare Product Ingredients
Certain ingredients, like coconut oil, can clog pores and cause breakouts, despite popular trends.

Fix It: Research and choose skincare products carefully, seeking advice from reputable sources or skincare specialists.

Sweaty Workouts
Leaving sweat, dirt, and makeup on your skin after exercise can lead to clogged pores and breakouts.

Fix It: Remove makeup before workouts and cleanse skin promptly afterward. Consider using Skinsmiths Blemish Rescue Treatment to prevent post-workout breakouts.

Popping Pimples
Look, we get it. Popping pimples is almost impossible to resist. But when you press on your breakouts, you are pushing bacteria deeper into the skin and making the situation worse. This can also lead to inflammation and will make the redness and pain last for longer than it needs to. In fact, touching your skin in any capacity is usually a guaranteed way to make breakouts worse. 

Fix It: Avoid touching your face unnecessarily and use Murad Rapid Relief Spot Treatment to help heal pimples overnight.

The best in-clinic skin treatments for acne-prone skin 

See our article on the best way to treat acne-prone skin for a full rundown of our product and treatment recommendations. If you’ve had a breakout and you’d rather leave it up to the professionals, there are a few treatments available at Caci that are proven to stop breakouts in their tracks. Here are our favourites: 

LED Light Treatment

LED light therapy is basically the go-to when it comes to effective acne remedy treatments. This is a gentle, non-invasive treatment that works to soothe inflamed skin while stimulating the skin’s natural regeneration process. 

There are two types of lights used depending on what is best for your skin. Blue light works to fight acne-causing bacteria while helping with skin cell turnover and calming inflammation. The red light enhances the skin’s natural defence mechanisms to help speed up healing and encourages happier healthier skin.

Blemish Control Facial  

As the name suggests, the Murad Blemish Control Facial is designed specifically with acne sufferers in mind. This 30-minute hydrating facial focuses on opening clogged pores and calming inflammation. 


A fan-favourite for a reason, the Hydraderm works to combat two main contributors to acne-prone skin; dryness and congestion. It simultaneously deeply cleanses while also penetrating a detox solution into the skin. 

The best skincare routine for acne-prone skin



Skin treatments

Ready to banish breakouts?

If you're ready for clearer skin, consult with a skincare professional at your local Caci clinic for personalised advice on products and treatments. They can help you tailor a skincare regimen that addresses your specific concerns and skin type, ensuring optimal results and long-term skin health.

Some additional tips and tricks

Beyond skincare products and treatments, incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine can further support your journey to clearer skin. 

Nourish your body

While specific foods may not directly cause acne, a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can support overall skin health.

Hydration, hydration, hydration

Drinking plenty of water helps maintain skin hydration and supports natural detoxification processes, contributing to healthier skin.

Avoid harsh skincare ingredients

Opt for gentle, non-comedogenic skincare products to minimise irritation and prevent pore clogging.

Get your stress under control 

Incorporate stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises into your daily routine to support skin health.

Get active

Physical activity promotes circulation and reduces stress, contributing to overall skin health.

Managing acne-prone skin involves understanding its causes, adopting effective skincare routines, and seeking professional advice when needed. We know that acne and breakouts can be an ongoing battle, but by implementing these strategies and staying consistent with your skincare regimen, you absolutely can achieve clearer, healthier skin over time. Remember, patience and persistence are key in the journey to banishing breakouts and maintaining radiant skin.