General Question

Scarlett's avatar

Why is my skin breaking out more after I've used a cleanser ?

Asked by Scarlett (915points) October 11th, 2010

So I just recently bought a new cleanser, Neutrogena rapid clear foam cleanser, and it just seemed to give me new pimples instead of healing them…. What gives ?

My acne isn’t severe, maybe 1 or 2 pimples here and there, so I thought using a cleanser for acne would help, but for the past 4 days that I’ve tried this product my skin has gotten worse.

Is it because I’m over washing ?

I don’t know what’s going on, but I feel like this product didn’t help at all. Instead of fighting my acne it just made it worse.

Or do these things take time ? Like if I use this product longer, maybe my skin will get used to it ?


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22 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

You could be overcleansing and drying out your skin. Dry skin is prone to tiny breaks which allows more bacteria in, which causes blemishes. I would stop using the new product. If you only have minor breakouts a spot treatment might be a better option.

diavolobella's avatar

My dermatologist has told me that it usually takes around two weeks for your skin to adjust to a new product. Also, it may be bringing acne to the surface that was lurking under your skin. Give it two weeks for your skin to adjust before you stop using it.

JLeslie's avatar

Are they new pimples, or is it more of a rash? Maybe you are allergic to it? Also, are you washing your facw more than you used to? It might be drying out your skin, which can cause redness and “pimples” so you need to make sure you moisturize.

Scarlett's avatar

They are new pimples. I just started this cleanser no longer than 4 days max, and I’ve noticed bigger, and more pimples on my cheeks…. I think I could just be over-drying my face.

I wash my skin in the morning and night, but I think I could be using too much of the cleanser itself.

Yes I’m washing my skin more now… I used to wash my face with another cleanser, but I still had pimples here and there so I thought buying an acne cleanser would do the trick :( I guess not lol.

I’ll tone it down and only use it once a day, and see how this goes..

JLeslie's avatar

@Scarlett do you hold your phone next to your face? Are the breakouts where your phone is?

Scarlett's avatar

@JLeslie – No I don’t :( I usually have it on speaker, so my cell is away from my face.

I get the pimples all on my cheeks, where I’ve been scrubbing the most.

diavolobella's avatar

If you are using it that much and scrubbing hard, you are probably actually irritating your skin. Use it once a day and don’t scrub so hard.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I am still curious to know why you are using a harsh cleanser to treat “one or two pimples here and there.” Are spot treatments not helping? I just worry that you are using something much too strong for your issue.

JLeslie's avatar

Does the cleanser have exfoliators in it? I would not use an exfoliator every day.

Scarlett's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie – I just thought it would help. I get pimples now and then, but I also have black heads, white heads, oily skin, and sometimes I get more pimples randomly, and then less pimples, so I don’t know what’s going on with my skin.

I haven’t tried acne spot treatments, and I wear a lot of makeup and foundation too, so I thought a cleanser would be good.

Scarlett's avatar

@JLeslie – Yes it does. It’s a foam but it has these little micro srubs bead things..

JLeslie's avatar

@Scarlett I would recommend not using something like that more than twice a week. Your daily cleanser should be very gentle. You are not only cleansing, you are scrubbing off skin, exfoliating the skin.

Loreal used to have a nice foaming cleanser, not sure if they still do. If you are oily they had a gel one, I think it was blue. Probably Neutrogena has something similar.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Scarlett the makeup may be contributing to the other skin issues you are mentioning, but a harsh cleanser is not always the solution. Often using something too strong will have the opposite effect, causing your skin to produce even more oil in an attempt to stay naturally hydrated. (Assuming you aren’t completely stripping it.. which it sounds like you are doing.) I’m not a professional, but I do have skin ;) and I have a feeling that this is not the right product for you. It may take a while to find the perfect formula for your skin, but it is worth searching for.

Lightlyseared's avatar

If your skin is acne prone you should not use an exfoliator at all. It makes it worse.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Hormonal fluctuations because of pregnancy will also affect your skin, and cause random breakouts. Treat your poor skin gently, it has an awful lot to adjust to right now. Good luck!

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

OP is pregnant? That does change things. Hormones can wreak havoc on your skin.

JLeslie's avatar

Yeah, but I still think her skin getting worse when starting to use this new cleanser is probably the prevailing problem to the recent uptick in pimples and irritation.

MissAusten's avatar

Here’s what I would suggest, not just in your case but for anyone.

Use a gentle soap cleanser twice a day. I’ve been using Clinique for years, and it is great. After washing, use a good moisturizer. You might have to try more than one product to find what works for you, but one thing to try is to visit a Clinique counter at the mall. Or, use their website which has a quick “quiz” you can take to help decide which products work for you.

It’s more expensive than many products you can buy at the drug store, but it lasts a long time. The 3-Step system from Clinique is nice: soap, toner, and moisturizer. There are different formulas depending on your type of skin. The toner is supposed to be used twice a day, after the soap, but I only use it at night. If you switch to something like this, it might take time for your skin to adjust. The idea is to gently keep your skin clean and moisturized.

You could also try something like Clearasil to use on problem areas as-needed. If it dries your skin out, just use it less often.

lonelydragon's avatar

Because this product doesn’t contain any of the primary acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. You need a cleanser with one of these two ingredients in order to effectively treat acne. Also, I noticed that your cleanser contains glycerin, which is a moisturizer. Perhaps the glycerin is too heavy for your skin, hence the breakouts. Like you, I am acne-prone, and for a while I was using facial soap that contained glycerin. When I stopped using it, my acne dramatically improved.

Scarlett's avatar

@lonelydragon – The cleanser I am using does have salicylic acid.

JLeslie's avatar

When I have a zit, I just put some alcohol on it morning and night, and it goes away in a few days. I only wash my face in the shower with a gentle cleanser, I use either baby liquid soap, Cetaphil facial liquid cleanser, or lancome liquid cleanser.

mollysmithee's avatar

Some cleaners do make your skin a bit worse before it gets better, but it may be an indication that it is simply not right for your skin! For one thing, it may be drying out your skin which can cause acne-surprisingly-to get much worse.
This article on fighting breakouts might help:

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