Acne in the Tropics: How to Deal with Breakouts

When we first started Clearly, we had focused on reaching out to teens since the incidence of acne normally drops off after the age of 19. But to our surprise, adults in their 20's and 30's were signing up for subscriptions alongside teens... why?

While we know that incidence rate of acne remains high even into adulthood, we have an additional hunch. Although there haven't been large-scale epidemiological studies done in Southeast Asia, conditions here make it easier for acne to thrive.


Here are some points to consider:

  1. The heat and humidity that comes from living in the tropics stimulates sebum production which in turn causes more breakouts on acne-prone skin.
  2. High UV exposure from the sun can quickly darken spots where acne once existed, making spots more prominent.
  3. The Asian diet centers around refined carbs like white rice and noodles. These carbs increase blood sugar, insulin and ultimately the production of androgen hormones. Why does this matter? Harken back to those wonderful teenage years when hormones would kick sebum production into overdrive and cause a wave of breakouts. Eating all those refined carbs may create a similar effect.
  4. About 90% of East Asian adults are lactose intolerant, yet we see a lot of Asians consuming dairy. Every individual's response to lactose may be different but increased sebum and mucous production are common reactions.
  5. Towels are hard to dry due to the humidity, especially in the evenings when there is no sun. Damp towels are breeding grounds for bacteria, fungus and mildew which may disrupt our skin's microbiome when we use dirty towels on our skin.
  6. Eight of the top ten countries that produce coconuts are in Asia so it is common to have coconut oil in our cosmetics, creams, moisturizers and soaps. Refined coconut oil is comedogenic and should not be applied to acne prone skin.

While living in the tropics may make conditions a little more 'sticky' for acne to show up, don't get too hot and bothered.

There are simple steps we can take to reduce breakouts, even in this heat.

Back to the Basics

This may be rudimentary, but you would be surprised how many people wash their face improperly. We're inundated with marketing about soaps and cleansers and many of us wash and exfoliate excessively believing that it will help with acne-prone skin.

Unless you have extremely oily skin, washing your face with a gentle soap twice per day is the best strategy. Overwashing has little positive impact on acne and may in fact worsen existing acne if it is causing irritation.

As for acne cleansers and washes, in most cases they are overrated since the active ingredient is not left on for enough time to penetrate the skin before they are rinsed off.

Go with a simple cleanser and follow these steps:

  1. Using lukewarm water, get the soap wet. Do not wash your face while you're in the shower.
  1. Apply the soap to your skin and rub gently with a circular motion using your fingertips or a soft, clean washcloth. Do not use abrasives, loofah sponges, brushes or scrubs
  1. Splash your face with lukewarm water until the soap is completely gone. Expect to rinse your face for just a few seconds
  1. Using a clean, soft cotton towel, pat your skin until it's dry

First Line Treatments

If you are experiencing acne, Benzyol Peroxide (BP) is your first line treatment. BP has the dual function of bringing oxygen into your pores (thereby killing anaerobic P. acnes bacteria), removing dead skin cells and helping to clear blocked folicles.

High concentrations of BP may be just as effective as low concentrations with less irritation so start with a 2.5% concentration and move up in strength as needed.

Apply a thin layer of BP to areas of your skin that has acne or is acne-prone. Start out applying every other night and increase the frequency if there is no irritation. Be patient. BP takes some time before results start showing. You can pick up BP at your local pharmacy. As for brands of BP, Clearly recommends using high-quality generics since the active pharmaceutical ingredients are the same. The price premium you are paying in a branded product is largely marketing and packaging.


The Big Guns + Good Habits

If BP alone has not worked in the past, consider using the Clear Out formulation. It is packed with three active ingredients which work together to address acne from several angles: retinol to flush out the dead skin that is the material that forms clogs; AZA to calm redness and inflammation; and pracaxi oil, a potent antioxidant.

In addition to serums and lotions, we cannot over-stress the importance of the good habits that must go hand-in-hand in order to maintain healthy skin.

For the acne-prone amongst us (and we are many), watch for the points above and practice all the great stuff that does come from living in the tropics anyways: donate stress, sleep more, keep hydrated, and enjoy the bounty of local fruits and vegetables.

If you are out in the sun, remember to apply your sunblock (non-comedogenic of course)!



 

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See what others have to say about Clearly Basics.

Based on 24 reviews
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Skin Type: Normal
Comments: Any ideas on how to get rid of brown skin damage
Skin defence

Marks of sun damage are still there they haven't faded much after using twice a day for 60 days. . I will continue until product is finished. I'm a bit disappointed

Skin Type: Combination

I am so happy that I stumbled upon clearly basics on instagram. I was skeptical at first but decided to give it a try and bought clear out clarifying lotion. It's been 2 months and my skin has improved a lot. I can see significant reduction in pores and acne.

Skin Type: Combination
Amazing

After years of medication and products, I decided to try clearly basics. In just 6 weeks my skin has calmed and I am now able to treat scarring.

So glad to have found these products!

Finding products that helped to control my acne without irritating my sensitive skin has always been a huge challenge. The clearly basics products have been my saviour, I can't recommend them enough ☺️

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Excellent and actually works

I am so incredibly impressed with the TLC for pore minimising - it 💯 works and has transformed my skin.

I’m in my 50’s and always had hormonal flare ups with larger pores as I age - this is a game changer and have just reordered my 3rd bottle !

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry
The only moisturiser I trust

I am super sensitive and this is the only moisturiser that I trust honestly incredible.

Skin Type: Combination
Amazing!

I use this product and with the clear out and it has really helped my hormonal acne.

Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry
Here one day, gone the next!

After success with Clearly Basics for my acne scars, I stocked up with all of the active acne products to prepare myself for how angry my acne would get when going off hormonal birth control. I have tried and failed twice as my acne comes back so bad that I just start taking it again. This time I have been using clearly basics without fail every day (lighten up and clear out). I have had 3 pimples start to form and I use ‘Stop Spot’ and the next day instead of a much redder, much angrier pimple with a big white head - the pimple is gone! I have been very happy with this product. I’m one month down (typically when acne gets the worst) - let’s do this!

I love that these products are gentle on my daughter skin.

This skin care routine is the o lay one that has helped clear up my daughters skin.

My daughters skin is really starting to look better!

Skin Type: Oily
So far so good

Bought this for my daughter that has struggled with acne for years. She has seen improvement and less frequent breakouts.

Best moisturizer I have found!

V
Lighten Up Redness Rescue Cream
Veronica Ilenya Ranieri
Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry
Perfect

Has changed my skin from acne pro to almost perfect 😍😍

Skin Type: Combination
Obsessed !!

Obsessed with this cleanser!! It left me feeling fresh and prevented break outs. It is incredible . Loved this product so much

My skin feels so soft after using this moisturiser!

My skin feels so soft after using this moisturiser!

Skin Type: Combination
Fresh and clean!

My face is filled with energy and feels so fresh and clean!

Skin Type: Normal
excellent item!

have been using this for years! so good for my skin :)

C
So Fresh pH Balancing Cleanser
Carmelinda Di Manno
Skin Type: Combination
Fresh Feeling

My skin feels so clean and still hydrated when I use this cleanser. It’s balancing and refreshing. My skin has responded really well to it and at times my skin can be sensitive. I highly recommend this product to anyone with relatively oily t-zone area

Skin Type: Combination
Very happy!

Love the texture, the minty scent and the lather.
I wish the bottles were a bit bigger HOWEVER they are just small enough to fly with.

Skin Type: Normal
Comments: The only thing I now need to use to keep my skin clear.
The holy grail for clearing hormonal acne.

This is the only product that I have needed to keep my skin clear since discovering it about 2 years ago, after suddenly developing cystic hormonal acne at the age of 25. I now only need to use it every second night, so it's incredibly affordable. It has also never irritated my sensitive skin and it has faded previous acne marks to truly clear my skin. After years of trying expensive supplements/products/harsh prescription creams, Clear Out was the only thing that gave me long-lasting results.

Skin Type: Oily
Clearly Basics is the only product that has helped my Adult Acne

I have always struggled with dehydrated acne prone skin. Every month like clockwork I would get a new breakout on my chin or cheek area. These included large cystic acne that by the time they came to a head would take me months to clear. With new breakouts each month this created more & more spots before the first could heal leaving more hyper pigmentation spots that never have time to clear. Clearly basics changed all that for me. It gave my skin a chance to heal and reduced the number of breakouts each month. When I do get a new breakout it resolves itself quickly with less scarring and redness. Now that the acne is under control the products are helping to eliminate the remaining hyper pigmentation spots left from years of acne. I have not been using the product for long but I will continuing relying on this product and look forward to the day I can happily look in the mirror at a smooth clear & even complexion some day soon.

Skin Type: Combination
Comments: Product consistency in terms of smoothness/coarseness/stickiness/ is sometimes a miss, don't believe it affects the result provided.
Great Combo

Have seen great improvements by using these 2 items concurrently, hard to fault and wil continue purchasing.

Individual results may vary

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