The first and most useful tip we can give for how to get rid of acne is to invest in the right acne treatment system. Acne systems like Murad, Exposed Skin Care, or Rodan & Fields are the best way to get clear skin without all the unnecessary harshness, risks, and expenses of other treatment options. But even after you find the right acne system for you, there are other subtle ways to change your lifestyle that will also improve your skin. Below are 9 changes you can make to your daily life that could lead to drastically clearer skin when combined with an excellent acne treatment system.
1. Change Your Pillowcase At Least Once a Week
In addition to using your acne system every day, one way to significantly improve your skin is by changing or washing your pillowcase at least once a week. This prevents bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells from building up on your pillowcase and transferring directly back onto your skin when you lie down at night. If you have body acne, it’s a good idea to change or wash your sheets once a week as well to prevent the same thing from happening with your body.
2. Be Sure to Use Non-Comedogenic Makeup
The word “comedogenic” means “likely to clog pores,” so when it comes to makeup and acne, it’s incredibly important that you look for non-comedogenic makeup. Clogged pores directly cause blackheads and whiteheads, and they can lead to issues with pimples and cysts as well, if your skin is prone to that type of acne. The trick is, any makeup can call itself non-comedogenic, it’s up to you to determine if it really is or not. The best way to do this is to bring your smartphone to the drugstore or beauty store and simply look up the ingredients in each product before buying. If you search “ingredient + comedogenicity rating,” you should find how each ingredient ranks on a scale of 0 to 5, where 0 is incredibly unlikely to clog pores and 5 is all but guaranteed to clog pores. We recommend sticking to ingredients that are a 3 or lower, or a 2 or lower for very sensitive skin.
3. Shower Quickly After Exercising and Keep Exercise Clothes Clean
Acne mechanica is a specific type of acne caused by friction. It’s often called sports acne because the combination of sweat and tight exercise clothing often results in acne mechanica, but it can also be caused by playing certain instruments or tight clothing in general. The best way to avoid acne mechanica is to shower right after exercising to help soothe any potential irritation caused by friction that could lead to acne. Additionally, you’ll want to keep your exercise equipment and clothing clean to prevent the buildup of bacteria that can also contribute to acne formation.
4. Wear Sunscreen Every Single Day
Does your acne often leave behind dark spots that last anywhere from a few days to a few months after the acne itself goes away? Do you burn easily, causing an increase in skin irritation and inflammation? If so, applying sunscreen every single day is one way you can fight back. The dark spots left behind by acne are called hyperpigmentation, and exposure to the sun often makes them turn darker and last longer. And burning is a definite no-no when it comes to acne care. All acne starts when the skin becomes inflamed and the pores close and trap bacteria, oil and dead skin cells inside. Sunburn seriously irritates the skin which leads to inflammation, which means it can also lead to acne.
Even if you don’t burn or deal with hyperpigmentation, daily sunscreen isn’t a bad idea. Even if you don’t burn, the UV rays from the sun can still cause skin cancer. Like with makeup, just make sure that your sunscreen is non-comedogenic.
5. Find Unique Ways to Make Sure You Do Your Skincare Routine Every Morning and Night
One of the best things you can do for your skin is develop a consistent skincare routine that you perform every morning and every night. But for a lot of people, this can feel borderline impossible. Maybe you’re raising a family and find yourself passing out at the end of the day without taking the time at the end of the day to do your skincare routine. Or maybe you wake up without a minute to spare before you have to leave for work and only have time to run a makeup wipe across your face before applying fresh makeup. Whatever your scenario, know that you are not alone. Many people struggle with developing routines of all kinds, but don’t worry, there are ways to make it easier.
One way to increase your odds of actually doing your skincare routine regularly is to simplify your routine. If your goal is to spend half an hour on skincare every morning and night, and it’s just not happening, maybe start with something a little simpler and then build to the full routine you want. Another popular method for sticking to your routine is pairing the new routine with a routine you already stick to diligently. For instance, if you already brush your teeth every morning and night, make brushing your teeth a trigger for doing your skincare routine. Tie a note around your toothpaste that says something like “Wash face!” so you don’t forget.
6. Be Mindful of Your Diet (But Don’t Get Too Restrictive)
The connection between diet and acne is tenuous at most, but if you find that how you eat tends to affect your skin, trust your gut and watch your diet. The strongest link between diet and acne seems to be related to large jumps in blood sugar because they encourage increased production of certain hormones that can lead to oilier skin, which leads to clogged pores. To avoid this, try to cut down on processed, sugary foods that release a lot of sugar into your bloodstream very quickly. But don’t try to cut out all sugar entirely. Highly restrictive diets are very bad for us, both physically and mentally, and they often cause serious stress, which can actually cause more acne. It’s better to simply cut back where you can, but still allow yourself to eat as normally and intuitively as possible.
7. Work on Accepting Your Acne as Normal and Okay
We know it’s much easier said than done, but a big part of being happy in your skin is accepting it the way it is, even if that includes acne. Our society often talks about acne as if it’s shameful or something inherently embarrassing, but did you know that 80% of people ages 11 to 30 experience acne at some point? For reference, that’s double the number of people who own an iPhone. Basically, acne is incredibly common and definitely nothing to be ashamed of. But sometimes, when you have a particularly bad breakout on the worst possible day, it’s hard not to feel alone. We recommend reaching out to others with acne on acne forums and message boards online, and trying to go without makeup once or twice a week so you can get accustomed to your natural look, acne and all. At first it will probably be hard, but you might be surprised at how much you grow to love your skin and yourself.
8. Drink Plenty of Water
You don’t necessarily need to drink 8 full cups of water a day—many scientists now say that you just need to drink when you’re thirsty. But the trick for many of us is realizing when we’re thirsty rather than hungry or tired or other conditions that our body sends us signals about. Then, once we’ve identified our thirst, we need to make the active choice to drink water rather than a sugary drink like soda or juice. These drinks are okay in moderation, but you will get far better hydration from water, and you’ll avoid those blood sugar spikes we discussed in the section on diet and acne. Keeping your body hydrated helps keep your skin hydrated, which in turn helps prevent acne-causing irritation and inflammation. When our skin is dried out, it is much more prone to inflammation, which could lead to more clogged pores and more acne. Moisturizer is the most effective way to soothe dry skin, but staying hydrated is a close second.
9. Regularly Clean Your Phone and Other Objects That Touch Your Face
Finally, we recommend buying alcohol wipes and regularly wiping down your cell phone at the end of the day to prevent the transfer of bacteria and oil. We bring our phones everywhere with us, and as a result they are often ridden with bacteria, which we then press against our cheek and transfer to our skin any time we take a call. Alcohol wipes are a great way to keep your cell phone clean because they clear away oil and kill bacteria, and the moisture dries very quickly so it doesn’t cause any kind of water damage to the phone.