You did it.
You were consistent with your skin care plan, you trusted the process, and you stayed patient throughout your journey. Now, you’re seeing clear (or almost clear) skin and acne has become much easier to control. Yay!
It almost feels like the end of a chapter, doesn’t it?
So uh, what now? Can you toss your skincare routine in the bin and move on?
In fact, this ‘post-acne’ stage is crucial. For one, now that the war against acne has ended, it’s time to repair skin and bring it back to peace. For another, a maintenance routine with proper skincare and healthy habits is a must to make sure acne stays away – for good.
Here are five things to do now (and in the long run):
1. Clean up the red and dark marks left by acne.
You know the pinkish red acne marks you get after pimples have flattened?
When a pimple is active, it is inflamed because the body increases blood flow to the tissue surrounding the clogged pore¹. It is the body’s natural response to fighting off the bacterial infection.
After the pimple has flattened, it normally takes 8 to 12 weeks for the blood vessels to return to their original size. The residual blood and dilated blood vessels are what cause red post-acne marks.
It is important to address and fade these red marks early on because if exposed to the sun, they can quickly collect melanin and turn into even more stubborn brown marks2.
Lighten Up is our unique formulation for soothing skin and reducing the appearance of red post-acne marks. Apply it morning and evening to see a significant improvement in skin tone within a month.
If some of these red marks have turned into dark marks, or if you have sun spots and melasma, an easy way to reduce the look of these is to use Dark Mark Defense.
Dark Mark Defense contains potent pigment-regulating agents that fade the appearance of dark spots up to 4x faster than normal. You will see good improvement within three months of use and a significant improvement after six months.
2. Use retinol and AZA to keep skin clear in the long term.
Whether it was prescriptions from your dermatologist or consistent use of Clear Out, no matter how you arrived at clear skin, keeping it clear is key.
Topical agents are the mainstay of maintenance therapy, and these include topical retinoids and AZA3 - both of which are in Clear Out, our special formulation for acne-prone skin.
Clear Out is formulated with BOTH retinol (a gentler type of retinoid) and AZA to perpetually clear clogged pores and make skin less acne-prone. It is perfect for use when you have acne, but is just as helpful as part of your clear skin maintenance plan.
If you have been using Clear Out all along, you can continue using it to keep acne away.
If you have been using other treatments and are looking for a simple and gentler way to keep skin clear for the long run, add Clear Out into your routine.
Since you're now in maintenance mode, you can use Clear Out on alternate days, at night only. This will keep breakouts away.
What’s more? The retinol in Clear Out can help fight the signs of aging and AZA can further help with post-inflammatory dyspigmentation4.
That’s what we call a win-win-win!
3. Target new spots and stop them from surfacing.
Even after acne has cleared, and even if you’re using Clear Out regularly, a pimple or two will still pop up every now and then. It’s completely normal because hey, we’re human!
These breakouts are likely to come and go fast, but if you would like to tame them before they get super inflamed and out of hand, our new spot treatment gel is here to help.
Stop Spot* is our NEW acne spot treatment gel that can target and treat pimples before they surface. This means they never get a chance to break through and show on the skin. It is also formulated to heal and flatten active pimples so they clear faster.
4. Adopt an overall healthy lifestyle.
Taking care of your skin starts with taking care of yourself as a whole!
This means ensuring you sleep well, eat well, stress less, exercise more, and check on your mental health often.
Living healthy overall can help improve your skin, keep it clear, and of course, keep your body and mind functioning at their best. What’s there to lose?
Remember to carve out time every day to do things that make you feel relaxed and happy!
5. Continue with a clear skin maintenance routine.
While the treatments you use are likely to change now that the acne has cleared, you still need a proper skin care routine. With Clearly Basics, all you need is 3 steps.
Step 2: Treat once every 2 days, at night, with Clear Out.
If you have emerging or active pimples, use Stop Spot* up to three times a day, as needed.
In the morning, make sure to top it all off with your favorite non-comedogenic sunscreen.
Once a week, you can also give your skin a gentle chemical peel to exfoliate it and break down excess sebum. Just leave Balancing Cleanser on for 30 minutes to feel all renewed!
Want a customized clear skin maintenance plan?
- Deirdre Connolly et al, 2017: Acne Scarring—Pathogenesis, Evaluation, and Treatment Options
- Paula Begoun: Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation
- John E Wolf Jr, 2004: Maintenance therapy for acne vulgaris: the fine balance between efficacy, cutaneous tolerability, and adherence
- American Academy of Dermatology: Acne Clinical Guideline
*Stop Spot is known as Calm Down outside the US. While the names are different, the formulation is exactly the same.
Calm Down is only available as an add-on product. Shop it here with your Clearly favorites.
Disclaimer: This article should not be interpreted as personal medical advice. For medical-related matters, please consult your dermatologist.