Now it’s time to look for products that will help you get on the path to clearing your skin. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have “actives,” in every step to clear your skin. In fact, going overboard with these strong ingredients could end up damaging your skin barrier and exacerbating breakouts. 

In fact, as pro esthetician and acne expert Sofie Pavitt once told mbg, “Use really active ingredients placed within a really hydrating and barrier-supporting routine whether it’s a professional treatment or your home care.” Basically, buffer your active ingredients with more gentle, hydrating supporting ingredients.

As for ingredients that address acne: You’ll want to use chemical exfoliants, specifically BHAs like salicylic acid, and some form of retinol in your routine. Don’t use them on the same evening (AKA, cycle through your products), as they can be irritating when mixed. 

Cleansing, actives, moisturizer, and SPF are essential for clearing skin. The rest—like toners, face mists, etc.—are all extra. If you’re not sure where to spend your money, keep it on the must-haves for now. 

If you want more details on this step—here’s how to create an oily skin routine from derms and a trusty morning routine in order





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