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Beauty Writer Sofia Kim Gets Real About Dealing With Congested And Acne-Prone Skin

Makeup might give the illusion of porcelain-like, radiant and clear skin, but what's underneath is far more important.

I have a less than optimal sleep schedule and usually clock in about five to six hours every night. I am never in bed early and usually fall asleep after three in the morning. Now, it should already be common knowledge that our skin regenerates and recovers best at night, so when I don’t get proper — and sufficient — sleep, my skin quality is compromised. And trust me, it does not get any better on weekends. What I do always ensure though, is that I’ll never skip out on my skincare regime no matter how tired I am before I head to bed. This way, I can at least give my skin the nutrients and vitamins it needs. Plus, I do mask every other day too.

When I was in my teens, I also had terrible acne, especially on my forehead. It got better after a few years and I while I thought that those days were over, adult acne paid me a visit. My skin, if not well taken care of, tends to flare up easily — especially in between my eyebrows and on my chin. Having dealt with acne-prone skin and congestion over the years, above are the six products that I’ve put on constant rotation.

#1: 111Skin 3 Phase Anti Blemish Booster, $170
Whenever I am in the beginning stages of breaking out or when I have visible pimples on my skin, I always reach for this. I really love how this calms any flare-ups without breaking me out or irritating my complexion. Willow bark extract controls the skin’s sebum secretion, heals and refines the skin while anti-bacterial colloidal sulfur targets acne-causing bacteria, reducing inflammation. #2: Indie Lee Banish Stick, $41, Sephora
For a more targeted treatment, this is my go-to — and I even have it in my bag so I can touch up easily when I’m on-the-go (yes, you can apply it over makeup). It is formulated with salicylic acid and other soothing ingredients to reduce the appearance of redness and irritation of the existing acne. #3: Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask, $88
Incorporating clay masks into my routine helps with congestion and acne-prone skin. This non-drying clay mask uses the brand’s proprietary ingredient, Umbrian Clay, to unclog and remove dirt and grime stuck within pores, all without drying out the skin. It also helps to rebalance, soothe and minimise irritation thanks to a blend of sandalwood oil, chamomile flower and lavendar water. #4: DrGL Cleanser Acne, $78
What’s so special about this is that it can be used on body and hair too (so those of you with back acne, you might really want to try this out). It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that treat acne-prone areas and regulate sebum production while retaining moisture for the skin and even the scalp. It is made with almond extracts that soothe redness and fight acne-causing bacteria. #5: Kiehl’s Breakout Control Targeted Blemish Spot Treatment, $52
Mineral sulphur instantly destroys bacteria that causes acne while niacinamide helps to calm the skin and reduce post-acne scarring. #6: Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch, $5.90
One individual packet comes with 24 pimple patches of different sizes. While I was travelling, I did break out a little around my chin and immediately applied the patch to my affected area before I went to bed. The next morning, I saw a huge decrease in size of my pimple and all the pus was absorbed onto the patch. It also helps to prevent future breakouts from occurring. Main image: