Acne Dos And Don’ts, According To Shani Darden

Image courtesy of Shani Darden

If you can not afford to visit the dermatologist or prefer an at-home solution to acne-prone skin, here are the dos and don’ts you must know, according to expert esthetician Shani Darden. She’s behind the faces of Hollywood celebrities such as Lala Anthony and Kelly Rowland. Trained under industry-leading dermatologists, she developed her own product line to help beautify the skin of her now private clients. Her most popular product, Retinol Reform®, helped build her huge celebrity following. With over 300,000 followers on Instagram, Darden treats high-profile clients at her studio in Beverly Hills.

Shani Darden Do’s

Do use chemical exfoliate. According to Shani Darden, when dead skin cells, bacteria, and your skin’s natural oils build in your pores, acne can result. We’ve all heard of facial exfoliate as a solution. However, you may have only used a physical exfoliate, which can result in micro-tears in the skin. Shani Darden recommends you use products which contain glycolic or lactic acid. “One of my favorites is the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel,” she said. “It helps keep pores clear without being too harsh on skin.”   

Do use retinol. Retinol, a form of Vitamin A, is the most effective anti-aging ingredient tfor addressing uneven skin tone and texture. Retinol is very effective for improving skin’s overall texture and minimizing the appearance of dark spots and dullness. It is the best ingredient for reducing fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging—key for those with adult acne. “I always recommend my Retinol Reform® serum to clients with acne-prone skin,” Darden said. “Just remember that if you’re using an exfoliator with acids, like the Dr. Dennis Gross Overnight Texture Renewal Peel, don’t use it on the same night as retinol.”

Do avoid an acne-prone diet. “If you’re wondering how to get rid of acne, know that the right skin-care products will only get you so far, Darden said. “There are many internal factors that contribute to breakouts, and diet is a big one.” According to Darden, as an esthetician, she has her acne-prone clients eliminate dairy for a few weeks, since animal products contain hormones which can impact the skin. Most clients find their breakouts are reduced. Other processed foods that have caffeine, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods may result in more acne. 

She suggests you remove a product from your diet, like dairy, for a few weeks to see how they affect your skin — “just eliminate one food group at a time, so you’re able to accurately pinpoint which one you’re sensitive to.”

Shani Darden Don’ts

Now you know what to do, here are three tendencies you should avoid to help treat acne-prone skin.

Don’t use a bad moisturizer. “I see so many clients with congestion and breakouts due to using the wrong moisturizer,” Darden said. “People with acne-prone skin tend to use harsh products that overdry their skin, and then they use a heavy, oil-packed moisturizer to combat the dryness and peeling.” Avoid depriving your skin of its natural moisture; instead, integrate hydration into each phase of your skincare regimen. Her recommendation involves opting for an oil-free formulation such as the Shani Darden Daily Oil-Free Moisturizer. This choice effectively nurtures your skin, delivering hydration without the risk of pore blockage or triggering breakouts.

Don’t over-treat your skin. Do not treat your skin with harsh cleansers, scrubs, and drying masks which can exacerbate your acne. According to Darden, products like these can dehydrate skin and cause inflammation. You should only exfoliate twice a week max for an at-home treatment. Use a chemical exfoliant, like Dr. Dennis Gross’ Alpha Beta Peel, rather than a facial scrub which can cause micro-tears on your skin’s surface and increased acne. 

Darden recommends you use a non-drying cleanser, like a Cleansing Serum, with a concentrated, hydrating formula.

Don’t be extra with your skin care routine. If you have acne-prone skin, do not try too many products at once. Darden says you should wait a week between the addition, or change, of products so you know which product has impacted your skin. You may feel if you use more products, your acne will heal faster, which is a myth. You should cycle in effective products and cycle out products you react to weekly, not daily. 

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