This tip works for everyone. Whether you have acne or not, oily skin or dry - washing your face twice a day is a great way to remove dead skin cells and excess oil from the skin surface. Just remember not to overdo it, this doesn’t mean washing it more than twice a day will be even better - on the contrary, it can make things worse. So, wash your face in the morning and in the evening before bed, with warm (never hot) water. Don’t use harsh soaps and don’t scrub your face roughly with the washcloth. Instead, dry your face gently, dotting with a clean, soft washcloth. Remember to leave the washcloth for laundry after - using the same cloth more than two days can help bacteria grow and get in contact with your face.
We already mentioned that you shouldn’t scrub your face with your washcloth - well, you shouldn’t scrub with anything, at all. Facial scrubs are considered way too aggressive for blemished skin because they are physical exfoliants. And, you might have noticed that scrubbing already inflamed skin with acne leads to more inflammation, redness and maybe even pain. Scrubs are great for blackheads and whiteheads, maybe even some mild pimples because they work only on the skin’s surface, but they don’t help with more serious acne problems since they can’t penetrate into deeper skin layers.
This is old news, but way too important not to mention again. Avoid touching your face or propping your cheek or chin on your hands. If you must, then make sure you wash your hands first. If not careful you can easily spread a lot of bacteria on the face which will additionally irritate the skin and contribute to more inflammation.
Fragrances, oils, pomades, or gels can make the hair greasy, and this can affect the skin around the hairline on the forehead as well as the cheeks. If you have bangs, then a lot of the products you use on your hair end up on your face as well.
Even if you don’t use oily products, still, the hair naturally produces oils with time and gets greasy. Like or not, careful or not, part of that grease will end on the face, which is why you need to wash it frequently.
If you want to be even safer, then tie your hair overnight. Sleeping with your hair on your face can irritate the skin.
Dirty towels can harbor bacteria and bring new bacteria to your face. If you think about it, you don’t eat from the same fork you ate last time before washing it, right? Well, it’s the same with towels - a lot of dirt and makeup residue stay on the cloth, even if we don’t see it. The good news is, you don’t have to use a new towel every time you use it, but changing it every two to three days is a good idea.
The precautions advised above apply here too. You are spending around seven to eight hours rubbing and touching your face on the surface of your pillowcase every night. During that time, dead skin cells, makeup, skin-care products residue, bacteria from the face, and hair grease all mix together into an acne breakout welcoming party. Seriously, you need to change your pillowcase at least once a week.
Disinfect your phone’s surface and avoid spending too much time on your phone. I have read once that our mobile phones have more bacteria on them than public toilet seats. Would you touch your cheek on a public toilet seat? I’m guessing not a chance, but then you might think about your phone for a while. We leave our mobiles everywhere, we touch them constantly - with dirty and with clean hands, and then we place them on our face. They’re the most destructive necessity we have. Think about having a disinfectant in your purse and use it occasionally. Just don’t apply or spray the mix directly onto your phone. Gently wipe your phone with the cloth to kill unwanted bacteria.
Inflamed skin with acne doesn’t look good and I’m sure the temptation when you get in front of the mirror is great, but you should never - ever pick or pop pimples. First, you will probably just end up inflaming the skin even more. Second, you can bring a lot of dirt and bacteria deeper into the pores and contribute to new outbreaks. Finally, in the worst case scenario - you are going to end up with a bad infection that will certainly leave scars on your face.
Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid are some of the names use are most likely to find in over-the-counter acne products. You have many options, so experiment with concentration intensity as well as the acid agent until you find the right product for your skin type. Be patient, since it can take several weeks before you see results.
Never use more than one product at a time.
Recent studies have shown that people with acne have vitamin E, A, and zinc deficiencies. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have some vitamin deficiency but supplementing in a small amount can really help your acne condition. If you don’t want supplements, you can always read about food rich in these vitamins and include them in your diet. Here are two amazing, detailed articles about what vitamin E and vitamin C can do for your acne.
This one is tricky. On one hand, antibiotics can help you get acne outbreaks under control and provide relief when the skin is severely inflamed, on the other hand, sometimes antibiotics can be responsible for new outbreaks. You need to be careful and always consult with your doctor and dermatologist about all the pills you are taking. They can advise you whether you need to change pills, decrease, or increase the dosage.
Some dermatologists use birth control pills to treat acne, although science hasn’t confirmed anything yet. Basically, women who are healthy and in need of contraception can benefit from birth control pills on more than one way. When someone goes through puberty, they experience a range of hormonal changes. One of these changes is the activity of androgen hormones which stimulate the sebaceous glands in the skin to produce more sebum. The oil when in excess, can lead to clogged pores and acne. These hormones are the same ones that trigger acne flare-ups before menstruation. In this context, oral contraception that contains both estrogen and progesterone lowers the number of androgens in your body.
Be careful though, a variety of women started having skin problems after using birth-control pills. Talk to your gynecologist and your dermatologist before making a decision.
Several studies found that certain diets can contribute to healthier skin overall, which can reduce or prevent acne outbreaks. Nutrients linked to fewer acne are vitamins C, E, and A, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and complex carbohydrates.
An excess amount of insulin in the body may cause oil glands to produce more oil. This means you have increased the risk of clogged pores and acne outbreaks.
So, what foods are believed to worsen your skin condition?
- Dairy, processed food, snacks, fast food, trans fats found in fried food, white bread, pasta, and sugar, should be avoided.
What foods are believed to help your skin condition?
- Blueberries, strawberries, lemon, orange, citrus, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, leafy vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, brown rice, quinoa, etc.
The best advice would be to try an elimination diet. Start slowly by eliminating one type of food, and see how the skin will react. Reintroduce foods that don’t seem to affect your acne condition. If you organize this system well and be patient, you can find out what is best for your organism.
You can also do a food intolerance and allergies test.
Staying hydrated can help you get bright and glowing skin. Drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water a day will help your skin eliminate toxins, and boost your overall health. I don’t want to overstate this since water won’t magically eliminate acne, but you should know dehydration leads to poor skin health, more wrinkles, and dry skin. In any case, drinking water can never hurt you, it can just help you look more lively.
Green tea is full of polyphenols – antioxidants found in food. They help to decrease inflammation in the body, which can help prevent more acne outbreaks. The polyphenols play a role in balancing hormones as well, by lowering the androgen levels in the body. When androgen levels are low, the sebum production is also less active. You know by now that excess production of sebum leads to clogged pores.
The research on this topic is limited, but drinking unsweetened green tea can’t hurt you in any way, so give it a try and see how you’ll feel. If you are interested to find out more about the role of green tea for acne and get some easy-to-make, highly efficient, facial masks you can check out our article on green tea and acne.
In a way, alcohol is poison, so it comes as no surprise that it decreases and even destroys some protective mechanisms in our body. But not only that, alcohol can actually dry out your skin and usually comes accompanied by sugar - is never good for the skin. Alcohol affects hormone levels, something that can stimulate oil glands. And you know the drill - increased activity in the oil glands equals an increase of sebum in the skin, which spells an increased risk for clogged pores and a face prone to acne. Our body processes alcohol as sugar, which contributes to inflammation.
Coffee is another drink that can stimulate oil gland production, dry out the skin, prevent the absorption of key minerals that help the skin stay healthy, and also contains a lot of toxins. You can read about all these characteristics of coffee and its relation to acne here.
Exercise is often mentioned as a prevention method against acne, which is certainly true if you do it right. If not, then it becomes just another thing that triggers more acne. You must be wondering what exactly do I mean by this, well… Working out keeps stress low, which prevents stress-related acne and other skin conditions, like wrinkles. While exercising, your circulation increases and you sweat, which is helping the body remove toxins and dirt out of the pores. The concern comes with sweat - what happens to it after it leaves our body? One of the most destructive things we can do to our body is to let the moisture of sweat dry on our skin. Another thing that can mess up the benefits of working out is a filthy mat, dirty gym equipment, even just an unventilated studio or an overused towel. You need to be careful. Working out is a good idea, but always follow this advice:
I won’t go into details since I already covered this in the above paragraph, but there are some things worth mentioning.
Post-workout care is crucial for clear skin. Otherwise, just don’t do it.
You should change your workout clothes as soon as possible, and if your workout routine is highly intensive or long consider keeping spare gear close at hand. Protecting your face is crucial, so avoid touching it on the mat or other equipment. Wash it right after working out or clean it with a skin-cleansing wipe. These measures are just additional prevention you can take before showering is possible.
Why do I focus on this so much? - Sweaty clothes and sweat in general, trap moisture that encourages the growth of fungus, yeast bacteria, and germs, which can cause a serious infection at worst or contribute to more breakouts at best. It’s one of the most often causes of shoulder acne.
The ultraviolet sun rays can seriously damage your skin and increase inflammation and redness. Additionally, some acne products actually make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. This is why it’s imperative for you to never leave without protecting your face. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with 6% zinc oxide or higher and SPF 30 or higher at least 30 minutes before you go out.
The bad news is, makeup can be responsible for more acne breakouts. The good news is, there are ways to prevent this. “Don’t wear makeup” is one of the last things one wants to hear while battling acne. It’s hard enough to face the mirror completely exposed, let alone go outside without any cover. I understand, which is why I won’t tell you not to wear any makeup. While it can worsen your acne condition, you can get away with it if you use it in a smart way you’ll get all the benefits and none of the side-effects. Here are a couple of things you should have in mind:
It goes without saying - but here we are, saying it again. Clean your brushes frequently, preferably once a week, with antimicrobial soap. After using them, it’s a good idea to spray alcohol on the brushes and then clean residue of makeup and alcohol with a clean paper towel. Makeup applicators are magnets for bacteria that irritate the skin and contribute to more acne.
You already know the importance of clean pillowcases, because we spend eight hours rubbing the surface of our skin on the pillowcases' cover. The same logic applies to going to bed without makeup. The skin needs to breathe. Makeup covers the pores, and while pressing into the pillow they get clogged, leading to irritation and new breakouts.
You don’t need to use scrubs or fancy skincare products. All you need is a gentle cleanser, water, and a strong motivation to take care of your skin.
Organic and natural skin-care products are gaining a lot of popularity and people are falling in love with them. And it hardly comes as a surprise, as the abrasive chemicals in traditional beauty products are contributing to more breakouts and more intense irritation. If you have sensitive skin, you’re already aware of this problem. Natural remedies and products can be used alongside traditional acne treatment, without any side effects. They are the perfect solution for everyone who wants to try something new without fearing it’ll damage the skin. Search for a local shop in your neighborhood, or google some of the most famous organic products available online.
It’s not about how many of the products you're using, but how much time you’re using them. Many people lose faith after a week or two - the key is to be patient and persistent. An acne-free face is not something that happens overnight. Experts agree that at least six weeks are required until any improvement becomes noticeable. Impatience can lead you to think that if you use two or three acne products, results will happen quicker. The only thing you are going to accomplish with this is irritating the skin and drying it out. Healing takes time.
If you have sensitive skin you probably have a problem. Breaking out after waxing? Well, this happens because of the allergens in the wax itself, but also because of the skin trauma waxing causes. If you’re allergic to an ingredient in the wax, then try different waxes and see if you are going to notice a difference. You can even make a homemade, natural waxing paste, which will be 100% non-toxic. All you need is white sugar, lemon, and water. Simple as that.
In a medium pot mix the sugar, lemon juice, and water. Turn it on high heat and wait for the mixture to boil. Stir constantly. Be careful not to burn the mixture (when burned it will turner a darker brown). When you see bubbles, it’s time to reduce the heat to medium. The goal is for the sugar to completely dissolve in the liquid. If the mixture continues to bubble rapidly at medium heat, turn it down to low. Remove the pan from the heat when the liquid gets golden brown, and be quick about it, since when done, it can cross to burned in seconds. Let it cool down for half an hour and then you are ready to go.
Another common problem when it comes to waxing is the trauma rapid pulling leaves on the skin. This causes the protective layer of dead skin cells on the surface to be removed, leaving pores exposed. To prevent irritation, infection, and inflammation post-waxing skincare is crucial. Apply pure aloe vera or some natural aloe-vera product, immediately after waxing. Wear loose clothes and don’t shower in the next 24 hours.
On the internet, you can find a lot of weird remedies and ingredients that people swear by. But, do they really work? Yes and no. Toothpaste, for example, can help you dry out a pimple, which makes it somewhat of a temporary aid in acne outbreaks, but be careful. Toothpaste is not made for the skin, it’s for our teeth. You do realize how different the texture and strength of the skin is compared to a tooth? Toothpaste contains alcohol, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide in its formula, among other abrasive ingredients. It’s just way too aggressive for the skin. If you have sensitive skin or active acne inflamed skin with acne, expect more irritation and increased redness. There are many over-the-counter products that work more effectively, without the side-effects.
Here are a couple of recipes for homemade remedies that will give your skin even more glow, softness, and recovery push.
Chop a banana peel into pieces, and throw it in the blender along with half a cup of oats, and two spoons of sugar. When you get a smooth paste it means your mask is ready. You should put it on a clean face, and leave it for about 10 minutes. Later, wash it with warm water, and dry your face with a soft towel.
Here you can learn more about how banana peels help the skin get rid of acne.
For this mask, you will need to mix one teaspoon of shea butter, and one teaspoon of raw honey, with a few drops of almond oil. Gently put the mixture on your face and wait for 20 minutes. After that, you can wash it off with lukewarm water. Read more about the benefits of shea butter on skin with acne.
You will need 1 tsp of turmeric powder, half an avocado, mashed and 1 tbsp of coconut milk. Mix the ingredients and apply them on a clean face. Wait for 30 minutes and then wash it off. Wondering how turmeric can help reduce acne? - Read here.
Blend two tablespoons of oatmeal, and then add two tablespoons of rice water, with a few drops of wild rose oil. Apply on face and keep the mask on for 10 minutes, then wash it off. This mask is perfect for people with dry and tired skin. Check out more about the effects powerful rice water has on skin.
Mix one tablespoon of each ingredient - green tea, baking soda, and maple syrup. Apply the blend on your face and wait for half an hour. After that, wash off with lukewarm water. There are many more ways in which green tea helps skin affected by acne - find out how.
People call it beauty sleep for a reason. Science has confirmed this and the pile of research on the benefits of regular sleep and the dangers of chronic sleep disorders is getting bigger every day. Let’s skip other aspects and focus on the profound effects sleep has on skin.
What happens when we sleep?
First of all, if you’re sleep-deprived your body is stressing out and your cortisol levels are going up. Cortisol can lead to inflammation in the body and affect the skin. Research shows that reduced sleep can increase the severity of psoriasis and other skin conditions, especially allergic reactions and sensitivity in general.
Secondly, when we sleep the body’s hydration comes back into balance, meaning the skin is recovering its natural moisture. And, even more, the skin heals itself - literally. While we sleep, our growth hormones are active, and they repair damaged skin cells, leading to more youthful skin without wrinkles.
Some people say beauty is skin deep, but I have to disagree. Beauty comes from the inside out. Everything we have and everything we are physiologically and psychologically is painted on the surface of the skin. It can be hard to accept this if the image we see in the mirror is one we don’t like, but remember - no beautiful thing is perfect. Like it or not, the lines, the wrinkles, the blemishes, the pimples, are part of our identity, and the first step on the journey to better skin is accepting they are going to be there for a while - and that is okay.
I’m telling you this because the number one contributing factor to breakouts is stress. Ironically, whenever you are stressing over your appearance, your adrenaline and cortisol levels rise and make your skin condition worse. It’s like your organism punishes you for not having a positive attitude about life and the things you experience. I agree that in a culture with rigorous and unrealistic beauty standards, overcoming the psychological consequences acne bring with them is the hardest part. Make a commitment to take a deep breath, relax and say to yourself: I’m a strong and beautiful soul that will get through this. In return, with the help of the tips above, and your positive mindset you will get rid of the acne for good.
Be persistent and be patient. The truth is you are not going to see results overnight, I’m sorry. Don’t believe it when sites tell you otherwise. The immediate improvement you will notice with some of these tips include fresher, smoother skin, and decreased redness. Depending on the severity of the acne condition though, you need to prepare yourself for a long-term commitment. Most experts agree that you will notice significant results only starting after three to four weeks of treatment or regular skin care practices. If a month passes and you’re still not seeing improvement or if your skin gets more irritated at any time - go to your dermatologist. For more severe conditions laser treatments are a very popular option. In the meantime, try to keep up with as many of the above-mentioned tips and you will get there eventually.