I don’t know why everything is coming to me in fives lately. This is the third post in the past week that’s been a five pointer. I’m starting to get embarrassed. Ah well, I supposed there’s no harm in it. I’ve mentioned a few times before that I’ve struggled with breakouts in the past few years. It well and truly stinks because it’s something that has the capacity to demolish your self esteem. The silver lining is that I’ve accumulated a decent amount of knowledge about how to fight these loathsome breakouts I speak of.
1. Up the hygiene levels: brushes, pillow cases and towels
Having good hygiene seems like an obvious point, but actually there are a few things that I think are easy to miss. First off, it’s important to wash makeup brushes regularly. I think a good shampooing once a week is ideal. I also like to touch up my brushes in between shampoos with a quick drying brush cleaner. I’ve been really impressed with The Pro Hygiene Collection Makeup Brush Cleaner. Additionally, I’ve heard so many stories of people clearing up their acne by using a fresh pillow case every night. It makes sense when you think about it – you’re lying your face against a piece of cloth for 8 hours every night. If it’s covered in bacteria it’s bound to break you out. Same goes for washing towels. It’s good to use a fresh face cloth every day.
2. Remove your makeup ASAP
Brands always claim that their products are noncomedogenic, but I just don’t buy it. I’ve seen people’s skin clear up dramatically when they lay off the foundation. If you’re struggling with acne I think it’s a good idea to let your skin breathe whenever possible. Try to remember to take your makeup off as soon as you come home from work and give your skin a little break from a full face of makeup on the weekends if you can.
3. Use a hydrating cleanser
So many acne treatment kits come with soapy, foaming cleansers. I can’t understand why. First off, soap based products are alkaline and bacteria grows in an alkaline environment. Secondly, foaming cleansers dry out your skin. Seeing as acne treatments also tend to have a drying effect, the last thing you want to do is be drying out your skin in the cleansing stage. I like to use a gentle cream cleanser, such as The Body Shop Aloe Calming Facial Cleanser, in the morning and an oil based cleanser, such as Clinique’s Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, in the evening.
4. Find the right treatment
Well isn’t that the most annoying bit of advice? Unfortunately there is no simple answer here. Finding the right treatment can take a lot of experimentation. Generally, a lot of people have success using a salicylic acid treatment, such as the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliation, twice a day. If that’s not enough it might be worth adding a benzoyl peroxide and/or a retinol treatment to the mix. I use all three at different times myself because I find they work well together to exfoliate and kill bacteria. If you’re still feeling unsure about your overall acne skincare routine, it may be worth taking a look at this cheat sheet from r/skincareaddiction as it lays out some good options without any trendiness attached.
5. Improve your lifestyle
No one wants to hear this point, but it’s true. Stress, poor diet, smoking and drinking can have a negative effect on your skin. It’s crazy how much worse my skin got when my anxiety levels were especially high. In terms of diet, it’s worth thinking about how much sugar you’re consuming. Sugar feeds bad bacteria, which can provide a nice feast for whatever nasties are trapped in your skin wreaking havoc. Also, keep in mind that non-fibrous foods such as white bread or pasta are essentially processed by your body as sugar.