Acne in the Tropics: How to Deal

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.
  1. High UV exposure from the sun can quickly darken spots where acne once existed, making spots more prominent.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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’d 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 Clearly’s 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; azelaic acid to reduce redness and inflammation; and pracaxi oil, a potent antioxidant that kills P. Acnes bacteria.

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: don’t 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)!


#RealResults

See what others have to say about Clearly Basics.

@mysevereacneblog I’ve been using @clearlybasics for over 4 months but here’s a difference from June 3rd and August 2nd! The azelaic acid and retinol in @clearlybasics Clear Out is AMAZING for hyperpigmentation. A complete GAME CHANGER!

@brittaneyshanae I swear the Power Duo (Clear Out and Lighten Up) are a GOD-send! I’ve been using both consistently for 3 months now and my skin has NEVER looked or felt better! I haven’t experienced a breakout since March and more than 80% of my hyperpigmentation is GONE!

I’m so grateful to have finally found a product that actually works for my skin!

If you’re dealing with acne breakouts and hyperpigmentation, you should def research Clearly Basics.

@theclearskinroad My @clearlybasics update!! The photos on the left were October 2nd and the photos on the right were today (October 11th).

I’ve been using the Power Duo for Clearly Basics for about 2 months now, and now starting to see quick results! My favourite is the “Clear Out” 🤗 Loving the results and exciting to keep using Clearly products!

@acneisntugly Thank you @clearlybasics for being on this journey with me for the past 5 months.

No more green concealer or green primer! My skin tone is so much better, I don’t use as much foundation as I once did, I don’t constantly worry I look like I have chicken pox and I feel much more confident within my skin!

The power duo really has been an absolute game changer for my skin and I’m so glad I’ve shared my results day in and day out so we could all see this progression.

@pimpledgirl The 1st week was amazed! Fascinating skin texture, there were no stinging. The 2nd week were pretty same. The 3rd week – purging starred – bumpy skin, redness. The 4th week – same but I added #ProtectiveMoisturiser either from @clearlybasics and in three days redness was reduced. The 5-6th weeks – skin smoother, less red, breaking out badly. The 7-8th week – is it my skin? not red (even after washing as it used to be).

I’d say the amount of pustules has been reduced in 85%. I still have some tiny-tiny pimples and will keep going with mu treatment. • Honestly I’m very grateful to Clearly Basics • I’ll keep you updated.

@gemskin__ A little progress goes a long way! 🙌🏻 In the first picture I think my skin was purging from the first week of using @clearlybasics ‘Clear Out’. I believe I actually cried either before or after I took this photo, my skin was super painful and I felt so ugly and self conscious!

The second picture is 5 weeks after using Clear Out, just scarring (being helped by using Lighten Up) and no actives!
I’m so happy with the results so far using these products and they have been the only thing that has helped my skin!