My Top Tips for Avoiding Acne Breakouts
Sometimes acne feels like a vicious cycle. You spend a fortune on products in hopes it will clear things up, you then start to see some promise, and a week later you’re back where you started. Why? Because it goes way beyond using the right products for your skin. If you follow some very simple steps, your skin will start to clear up!
Switch your pillow cases often.
Did you know that while you sleep, any dirt, oil, dead skin cells and bacteria on your skin will accumulate on your pillow? Last thing you want is to rest your head where all that yuck is hiding. Switch your pillow cases OFTEN. Depending on the severity of your acne, try to switch your pillow cases at least once a week, or daily if you have active breakouts.
Have you cleaned your cell phone lately?
Think about how often you have your phone resting on a table, then picking it up to text someone, putting it down and then picking it up when you get a call. This is almost the equivalent of you touching your face several times a day! Antibacterial wipes (or even a baby wipe) can help remove any residue that is being left behind and then transferring to your face. Give your cell phone a good wipe down and see what comes off! I even bought this UV phone cleaner from Amazon to give mine an extra cleaning every now and then
Check out what you’re eating.
This is probably the BIGGEST factor for most people (and certainly for me). I don’t know why it took me 38 years to figure this one out. I had heard that certain foods triggered acne, but I really didn’t believe it. Now I know that certain foods like dairy and large amounts of sugar can exacerbate a small problem and turn it into a full fledged break out. Other foods you may be sensitive to are soy, peanuts, gluten, iodine, seaweed, biotin supplements, and whey protein powder. Your mileage may vary – for me, dairy was the biggest trigger.
Keep your hair off your face.
I know it sounds strange, but think of the products you put on your hair for styling. Now think of each time your hair brushes against your face and is slowly depositing hairsprays, serums, or gels bit by bit on your skin. Be conscious about where you apply your hair products and the hairstyles you stick with. Those forehead and sideburn breakouts can start to disappear with a little extra thought! Check the labels on your shampoo and conditioner too. Certain heavy ingredients like coconut oil can be major acne triggers. SLS (sodium laurel sulfate) and derivatives may also be a problem if you’re sensitive.
Less stress, baby!
Stress in general creates havoc on our entire system. Cortisol levels raise, inflammation ensues and before you know it a breakout occurs. Everyone is different in how they go about reducing stress, and it’s up to each of us to figure out what works! Some need alone time, some people meditate, and some like to hit the weights. Try out different things to see which affect your mood and reduce stress.
I know some of you may roll your eyes, but being active can really help improve skin health! For one, it improves circulation which brings nutrients and oxygen to the skin! And bring on the endorphins! Endorphins are our feel good hormones that help reduce cortisol which can trigger acne breakouts. Working out gets the blood flowing, and also helps the lymph system remove toxins and excess acne-triggering hormones.
Acne skincare products
And let’s not forget products that can help reduce and prevent acne. I avoid coconut oil and many other oils that tend to cause breakouts. For acne treatment, you can choose from benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and sulfur (and other natural ingredients like zinc, tea tree oil and lavender). I personally prefer benzoyl peroxide, it just works better for my cystic, hormonal acne. But some people prefer salicylic acid or other ingredients. One of my favorite benzoyl peroxide products is from Jan Marini.
I like to use glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid and retinols. They help to renew your skin cells, and exfoliate the build up. If you’re acne prone, your skin is already shedding at a fast rate, and it’s important to remove this outer layer before it causes clogged pores. Pixi has an inexpensive glycolic acid option and Bliss also has a great, fragrance-free, budget-friendly, cruelty free glycolic acid peel – both can be found at Target. The good news is that AHAs and retinols also help to reduce fine lines, so they’re great for acne AND anti-aging. Always, always, always wear an acne-safe sunscreen when you’re using active, exfoliating ingredients. If you don’t, your skin will be more likely to get new hyperpigmentation (dark spots) from the sun.