Let's make-up with Bina Khan: Acne care 101

Getting a pimple (or a huge milky way of them) is easily one of the most embarrassing things in the world.

Bina Khan April 08, 2013
There are a few ingredients that will help you with your acne management, if you are a chronic sufferer.

There is very little you can do to hide Mount Vesuvius if it is sitting on your chin. Or your nose. Or anywhere on your face.

Let’s face it — getting a pimple (or a huge milky way of them) is easily one of the most embarrassing things in the world. So why do we get these rotten pride destroyers?


The Mayo Clinic’s definition of acne is, “Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells.”

So here is the drill. We all have hair on our face. And at the base of each hair are sebaceous glands. In some cases the pore in which this hair sits gets blocked, either with sebum (oil) or with dead skin. This area then becomes home to bacteria, for whom this is the ideal set up. They eat sebum. They hate oxygen. You may as well install a jacuzzi and hard wood floors!

But our own skin’s response is to blame a lot of the time. White pus and inflammation is our body over-reacting to this invader, so it is ironically often our immune system that creates more trouble than the invader.

What to do?

Step 1:

There are a few ingredients that will help you with your acne management, if you are a chronic sufferer. Salicylic Acid, Benzoyl Peroxide and Sulfur are the best day to day acne managers you can get. You can find them in washes, cleansers and moisturisers .

Cleanse your face with warm water twice a day. Doctors say that cleansers are ineffective since they spend such little time on your skin, but I think that that’s hogwash. The wrong one can dry you out or make you break out, so clearly the right one will have an effect on you. I like to splash my face with warm water to get my pores open. Then I rub my cleanser on to my face. I leave it on for a minute or so while I do something else, giving the product a chance to work really well. I then splash myself clean with warm water (removing the almost dry face wash ensures you thoroughly wash your skin clear). Then I seal my pores shut with cold water.


Following up with an oil-free moisturiser and an oil-free sun block (now available in powder form as well) ensures that your skin is ready for the day.

Exfoliate twice or three times a week with a good at home exfoliater. Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant is groundbreaking, not only does it help your acne by removing dead skin and work chemically as well as physically, but it visibly brightens and smoothens as well. For best results, whip this magic powder up in to foam with some water and a brush and apply on to your clean face, allowing it to dry and return to the powder form which it starts in. With moist fingers you can then work this powder in to a physical scrub to attack your worst affected areas. Decrease or increase the frequency of your exfoliations depending on how your skin reacts; if skin appears thin or dry, cut back on the number.

Get a monthly facial. Seriously. They work. A professionally exfoliation is going to clear out your pores properly. At home care is important, but you can’t do homework unless you have done class work first.

Don’t touch your face unnecessarily. People are constantly prodding their pimple, saying “Look at this!” Way to keep rubbing dirty bacteria in to your infected pore. Keep it up, genius.

Stay tuned for more ways to battle those bumps next week!

Bina Khan is a make-up artist, photographer, skin technician and writer who owns a salon and photography studio in Karachi.

All images and content are the property of Bina Khan. Any unauthorised use of the same is illegal and liable for prosecution.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2013.

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boco | 8 years ago | Reply

@MH: Neutrogena sunscreens/sunblocks are a hit and miss, they work for some and do claim to be oil-free and non-comedogenic but they do also more than often leave you looking shiny and at times break you out. You can try SpectraBAN SC SPF 40 Sunscreen 'sebum control gel', its great for oily/combination skin prone to frequent breakouts and does help control the shine to some extent; it also does its job as a great face sunscreen. Its a bit pricey though, you get about 45ml of product for PKR 2000 but they do have small versions for a lesser price so you can try it out first before committing to it. Its available in most pharmacies across Pakistan. I found out about it through a Pakistani beauty blog and its been working wonderfully for me, do read and do your research to find out what other options you have. Hope this helps!

Anna is Clear | 8 years ago | Reply

FYI: our worldwide patent has just been published. In your next article about acne we hope you'll mention also the ingredient we developed next to all the harsh ingredient solutions to fight acne problems. Harsh ingredients which are sometimes helpful against acne, but also with lots of detrimental side reactions. Soon there also will be a 100% natural solution based on a rye ferment. This formulation will only fight the Propionibacterium acnes without harming the healthy microflora of the skin. Anna is Clear

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