Extremely widespread, acne affects at least 80% of adolescents and 40% of adults1. To fight against blemishes, we automatically think of creams and treatments… and forget all about daily cleansing which is nothing other than the first measure to take to prevent spots. In France, 1 woman out of 42 doesn’t regularly wash her face in the morning. Too often neglected, cleansing skin should always be part of any anti-acne routine, to try to take action before the spots appear. This is even more true in the current health context, where wearing a mask aggravates any problems. The dreaded ‘maskne’ – a contraction of ‘mask’ and ‘acne’ – is a new and daily concern for oily skin. We know today that an adapted facial cleanser used twice a day is the first measure to take in caring for oily and acne-prone skin.


1   F. Ballanger and B. Dréno, “Acné,” EMC (Elsevier Masson SAS, Paris), Traité de Médecine Akos. pp. 2–0650, 2010
2  IPSOS, France, 12 July 2019
Woman touching her pimples

From oily skin to acne, three key points

Spot and blackhead problems are tied to three phenomena that are typical of oily skin, and that act together.

Excess of sebum

1. Your skin produces too much sebum

Hyperseborrhoea is typical of oily skin and often comes with dilated pores. This sebum is produced in excess and is also of lesser quality. Thicker, more irritating, it favors imperfections.

Pores get clogged

2. Your skin thickens

In oily and acne-prone skin, skin cells tend to multiply (hyperkeratinisation) and plug pores, creating ideal conditions for comedones to form, as blackheads and whiteheads.


Bacteria convert in pimples

3. Bacteria develop

The accumulation of sebum in plugged pores, with little oxygen, creates the perfect environment for Cutibacterium acnes to proliferate, the culprit behind inflamed red spots. 

woman looking at her reflection

Contrary to accepted wisdom, spots are not tied to a lack of hygiene. Closer to the truth is poor hygiene, meaning cleansing that isn’t adapted. Often it is too harsh, such as cleansing with soap. The best way to have fewer spots and blackheads is to adopt the right and complete routine, from cleansing to cream, in addition to any treatment that your doctor may have prescribed. Daily hygiene plays an important role in all types of acne, and even more so with inflammatory acne2. As long as the cleansing product is adapted to oily and acne-prone skin’s requirements.

The ideal cleanser to fight against spots and blackheads must act on the excess of sebum and prevent pores from becoming clogged, so that comedones don’t form. There are two key points to hygiene for acne-prone skin: 

  •  A gentle cleanser, containing a cleansing agent that doesn’t strip skin and that does effectively reduce the excess of sebum and eliminate impurities (sweat)
  • A keratolytic cleanser, able to refine skin, to lightly exfoliate the surface so that pores become unclogged.

Cleansing your face is a key step when caring for oily or acne-prone skin. Choosing the right cleanser is decisive, as we’ve just seen. However, the frequency of cleansing is also important. With oily skin and spots, often all we want to do is remove all trace of unsightly imperfections (sebum, shine, dull skin, uneven skin tone…), so that we go a bit overboard. But washing too intensively or too often could damage the skin’s protective barrier function and sensitise it, especially if a harsh product is used.

    clock in a bathroom

    The right frequency for cleansing: 

    • Twice a day, in the morning and at night
    • Daily with a gentle product, specifically formulated for oily and acne-prone skin
    • Occasional extra care, with an active cleanser that contains keratolytic active ingredients (AHA & BHA), every time you have clogged pores, blackheads and pimples, until they disappear.