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7 Acne Tips from Esthetician Audrey Ford

An esthetician teaches how to protect and keep skin healthy.


Photo: Shutterstock

Audrey Ford, a licensed esthetician at The Spa at Selenite in Charlotte, NC, estimates more than half of her clients come in for treatments targeting acne. 

Through her current role at the spa, she provides customized facials, including microcurrent, buccal facial massage, lymphatic drainage massage, gua sha facial massage, oxygen treatments, and more. Additionally, she performs dermaplaning, clinical chemical peels, LED light therapy, and lash and brow services. 

“Whether they’re maintaining clear skin or fighting some stubborn hormonal breakouts, they come to us to seek help in achieving clear, healthy skin,” says Ford. 

Ford gives some advice on this tough skin issue and how to combat it. 

How bad is it to pop pimples at home? Is there a “right” way to do it?

Popping pimples is never a good idea at home. Even if you’re taking all the measures to be clean, you’re still opening a wound. Remember, a breakout can and will heal itself when left alone. I’m all for extracting a blackhead, but popping a pimple at the very least will leave a scar that will stick around a lot longer than the initial pimple.

What are the most common skin mistakes that make acne worse?

A common mistake that worsens acne is choosing products because they worked for someone else. There is a lot of information out there from every source imaginable. What works for your sister or your friend or an influencer will work differently, or not work at all, when it comes to you, because your skin is unique to you. Always seek professional advice on your product lineup so someone can treat your skin firsthand and tailor a routine just for you. 

Another common skin mistake is over-drying acne. Some think that acne-prone skin doesn’t need as much hydration, moisturizer, and oil as a person targeting anti-aging. The truth is that it needs just as much to calm and replenish skin. Active, acne-fighting ingredients tend to be drying and when we use these without rehydrating skin, acne can worsen, flake, and the skin will overproduce oil and have barrier imbalances.

What ingredients should people look for when dealing with acne or breakouts?

The most well-known and used ingredients for fighting acne are salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and retinol. A few others to look for and to use in conjunction with those ingredients are enzymes, niacinamide, lactic acid, and glycolic acid.

Do you have any favorite products for breakouts? Do you have a favorite cleanser or toner?

My personal favorite products for breakouts are the Linne Purify Face WashKypris Moonlight Catalyst, Eminence Clear Skin Peel, and the Eminence Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer.  

Do you have any tips for calming skin?

Calm skin by hydrating, moisturizing, avoiding sun and heat, applying sunscreen everyday, icing the skin. Incorporating products with azelaic acid, chamomile, green tea, calendula, aloe, and cucumber is key for reducing acne inflammation.

Do you have any tips to make pores look smaller?

You can refine the appearance of large pores by getting regular blackhead exactions and by balancing your exfoliation and hydration for a healthy skin barrier. Double cleansing your skin morning and night will help dislodge clogged blackheads and prevent new ones from forming.

Any other tips?

Remember your linens. When it comes to pillowcase washing, the more frequent the better. Ideally, it should be replaced after every use. I realize this isn’t completely realistic, so a few times a week is what I recommend. Always having a clean one on hand makes it easy. While everyone has different acne triggers, those who are acne-prone should limit their intake of processed foods, sugar, dairy caffeine, and alcohol. Breakouts will exacerbate when the body is dehydrated and depleted of nutrients, so when you do consume these items, hydrate the body as much as you can.

About The Author

Sophia is an intern for Well Defined. She is passionate about journalism and has focused on writing stories covering adoption, sports, and other topics as a staff writer and copy editor for her high school yearbook staff. She has achieved several high school journalism awards for her writing and has aspirations for a successful professional writing career.