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CeraVe Skin Smarts Skincare Tips Advice Expert Tips For Exfoliating Without Disrupting The Skin Barrier


Acne affects up to 50 million people annually, making it the most common skin condition in the United States.¹ When starting an acne-focused skincare routine, it’s important to remember that the root cause of acne begins in your skin’s pores. When pores become clogged with excess oil, dead skin cells, and dirt, it usually creates small bumps or blemishes on the skin—known as comedones. The key to getting ahead of whiteheads (open comedones) and blackheads (closed comedones) is a straightforward skincare regimen that is designed to help keep your pores clear. With effective skincare products that penetrate pores to help consistently remove dirt, oil, and debris, it’s possible to take control of your blemishes and support clearer-looking skin.

Simple Acne Routine Tips

  • Whiteheads (open comedones) and blackheads (closed comedones) are two types of acne that form when pores become clogged with excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria.
  • Gentle, yet effective ingredients, such as salicylic acid, that deliver light exfoliation can help prevent pores from becoming clogged with dead skin cells, and act as a proactive measure against blackheads and whiteheads.
  • To help minimize potential scarring, avoid picking or squeezing blemishes, which can potentially damage your skin.
  • A take-charge acne routine doesn’t need to be complicated. Even a simple daily routine with just three steps can deliver multifunctional skincare benefits to help you get ahead of your acne.

Why Do You Need an Acne Routine?


If you struggle with pimples and acne flare-ups on a regular basis, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Although getting ahead of your breakouts can be frustrating at times, the good news is that acne is treatable. Consistently incorporating the right skincare products, like CeraVe’s Acne Control line, can help keep pores clear of acne-causing materials, and help to clear existing blemishes and prevent new ones from forming.


CeraVe recommends a simple, yet effective skincare routine specifically formulated for acne-prone skin that features targeted ingredients—like salicylic acid. Commonly used to help prevent and treat whiteheads and blackheads, salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid that penetrates pores to help gently exfoliate and loosen pore-clogging dead skin cells. Look for salicylic acid-formulated products containing complementary ingredients, such as niacinamide for its skin-soothing benefits, and ceramides to help restore and maintain the skin barrier.


Yet another acne-fighting ingredient to consider is benzoyl peroxide. Whereas salicylic acid is known to help prevent pores from becoming clogged with dead cells, benzoyl peroxide works to help minimize the bacteria that plays a key role in acne breakouts. Regardless of which products you decide to use, always remember: Even a simple acne routine can deliver multifunctional skincare benefits, such as protecting your skin from the sun and addressing other concerns as well—like post-acne marks, dryness, or rough and bumpy skin.


What’s the Ideal Skincare Routine for Acne-Prone Skin?


Although the wide variety of products and ingredients out there can feel overwhelming at first, a take-charge acne routine doesn’t need to be complicated. When it comes to acne blemishes, knowledge is power and consistency is key when trying to keep acne under control. If you have acne-prone skin and are trying to get ahead of your breakouts, there are a few basic steps we recommend to help make a noticeable difference.


First and foremost, this includes a proactive acne treatment routine that helps keep breakouts under control without overdrying the skin. We recommend choosing a hydrating acne face wash, an oil-free skin moisturizer, and daily sun protection. A simplified acne routine is all about knowing the ground rules, such as which ingredients are known to minimize the occurrence of whiteheads and blackheads, and what order they should be applied in. Keep reading to find out what they are in our straightforward 3-step acne routine.


CeraVe’s Simple 3-Step Skincare Routine for Acne

Below, we’re explaining CeraVe’s simple 3-step skincare regimen to take control of acne blemishes, using our gentle, yet effective products developed with dermatologists.


Step 1. Cleanse With CeraVe Acne Control Cleanser (A.M. & P.M.)

CeraVe recommends an effective acne cleanser as the first step in your anti-acne skincare regimen—and choosing one that is formulated to help unclog pores and maintain your skin’s natural moisture barrier is key. CeraVe Acne Control Cleanser is a refreshing salicylic acid-formulated acne face wash that effectively removes dirt and excess oil, gently exfoliates, and penetrates pores to help eliminate most blackheads, whiteheads, and acne blemishes.


It's formulated to help clear up acne blemishes, reduce the number of blackheads, and allow skin to heal—with 2% salicylic acid, three essential ceramides, hectorite clay to help absorb excess oil, and niacinamide to help calm the skin. It even features Oil-Absorbing Technology to help minimize visible shine. Use this gel-to-foam acne face wash in the morning and evening by working a dime-size amount into a lather and massaging gently onto wet skin.


Step 2. Treat With CeraVe Acne Control Gel (P.M.)

A gentle, non-drying acne treatment is another essential product for anyone looking to minimize breakouts and maintain clear, healthy-looking skin. CeraVe Acne Control Gel is a hydrating daily acne treatment with 2% salicylic acid that helps clear acne and helps prevent new acne pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads from forming. It offers gentle exfoliation with AHAs and BHAs, along with calming niacinamide and barrier-strengthening ceramides.


Recommended for evening use, CeraVe Acne Control Gel provides the perfect option for a lightweight, full-face acne treatment that is formulated to be oil-free, free of drying alcohol, and gentle on the skin.


Step 3. Moisturize With CeraVe AM or PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion (A.M. & P.M.)

Although it’s a common skincare myth that people with oily or breakout-prone skin don’t need to apply moisturizer, the reality is that all skin types can benefit from proper hydration. That’s why applying an oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer that’s specifically formulated for either daytime or nighttime is the final essential step in this simple routine. Choose a daytime moisturizer and nighttime moisturizer that are formulated with beneficial ingredients, like soothing niacinamide, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and three essential ceramides to help restore and maintain your skin’s natural barrier.



For daytime, apply CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, which is also formulated using InVisibleZinc™ Technology and broad-spectrum sunscreen to help protect your skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays. Sun protection is especially important for blemish-prone skin, due to the symptoms commonly associated with breakouts, post-blemish marks, and discoloration. Many skincare formulas used to treat breakouts can also cause the skin to be more sensitive and vulnerable to the sun’s rays, which makes proper sun protection key.



In the evening, switch to the PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion—a soothing, ultra-lightweight night cream formulated to deliver hydrating and soothing benefits while you sleep. Created with dermatologists, this moisturizer uses patented MVE Delivery Technology to provide a steady stream of much-needed moisture throughout the night. Apply this moisturizer at nighttime by smoothing a liberal amount onto your face and neck.


If you experience any new symptoms or ongoing acne flare-ups after a few weeks of starting an acne skincare routine, it’s generally best to seek the advice of a dermatologist to see what your best possible treatment options may be.


To learn more about controlling acne and restoring a clear complexion, read our practical skin tips to help prevent breakouts.

    1. “Skin Conditions by the Numbers.” American Academy of Dermatology, 2021, www.aad.org/media/stats-numbers.

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