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Image / Style / Beauty

A dermatologist on the skin texture issue she keeps seeing in skincare-obsessed women


by Holly O'Neill
13th Aug 2020

Here, Dr Rosemary Coleman, consultant dermatologist at Blackrock Clinic breaks down acne cosmetica, a common skincare issue she’s seeing in women who overuse their skincare products. 


I have noticed a new skincare habit develop in the past year, usually in young women who buy their skincare products online. Because of inexpensive, affordable ranges, they’re buying a variety of different skin serums, moisturisers, night creams and they’re applying them all on top of each other as they’re cheap. Sometimes they can be using as many as four different serums and two moisturisers a day. This can result in acne cosmetica.

What’s acne cosmetica?

Acne cosmetica is lots of little lumps, bumps and pustules, often first seen on the forehead and subsequently accompanied by irritation and increasing sensitivity. The next step, if you continue to smother the skin like this, is the development of demodex folliculitis, a condition where the follicles become over-populated with a little mite who happily lives on our skin. This results in red, irritated, sensitive skin which needs medical attention.

What should you do if you have acne cosmetica?

Strip your skincare routine back to the bare minimum and build it back up slowly if necessary. Many women are applying far more than they need. What a waste of money!

For treating lumps, bumps and pustules, if caused by acne cosmetica, they should clear once the overuse of cosmetics has been addressed. However, if they don’t, try 5% benzoyl peroxide over-the-counter for a short while to dry them up, or see a doctor.


Read more: A dermatologist’s guide to what you actually need in your skincare routine

Read more: Dermatologist Nicola Ralph breaks down everything to know about rosacea

Read more:  Inside Bobbi Brown’s new beauty vitamin range