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Ridding yourself of acne: part one

Updated on August 31, 2013

One of the most embarrassing parts of life is acne. For someone that suffers with adult acne, it can bring them back to days of high school, walking into class with that third eye or the large red pimple on the end of their nose. There is a common idea that acne sufferers are only teens, but those who have adult acne know that’s far from the truth. On television and in movies we see perfectly clear skin, but since HD came into play, we’ve seen that even the most beautiful actors and actresses are not immune to acne, they just have better makeup artists and post-production editing than we do.

The only real way to deal with acne is to make it disappear. The face is something that cannot truly be covered. Trying to use makeup to cover blemishes can result in looking unnatural and make acne worse. But there are so many products, tips, and theories of how to get rid of acne, it can be quite confusing to navigate through it all without running into a few walls.

As an off-and-on adult acne sufferer, I have tried just about every product possible trying to get rid of it for good. My skin tends to be dry, but oily, which is a perfect breeding ground for the unsightly skin menace. Here are some things I’ve learned and tried along the way. Part one will have tips, and part two will explore some of the products that are available for acne sufferers.


Sometimes, minor lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in your acne. Here are some easy tips that you can start using today to help your acne disappear.

1. Change your pillowcases regularly.

People often forget that when you sleep, dirt and oil from your face go directly onto the fabric beneath your skin. It doesn’t matter if you wash your face right before bed; during the night, your face will still produce oils. All of that disgusting dirt and oil can build up fast on your pillowcase. Generally, people will change their pillowcases once a week, sometimes once every two weeks. If you suffer from acne, I recommend changing your pillowcase every 2-3 days to keep that buildup from transferring back onto your skin. On days that you don't change your pillowcases, turn your pillow over, so you're using a cleaner side the second night.

Wash your pillowcases separately from clothing, and use a perfume-free, dye-free detergent. Part of the going to bed process is falling into a soft, good smelling pillow. You don’t have to sacrifice that by using these types of detergent. When washing pillowcases, I lightly spray my pillows with a body spray (generally a favorite fragrance from Bath & Body Works). When the pillowcases are done in the wash, the spray has dried and penetrated the pillow. I get my awesome smelling pillow and a pillowcase that is free of harsh dyes and perfumes.

2. Oily skin? Try a moisturizer.

It seems like something you shouldn’t do: treat oily skin with a moisturizer. If you understand why your skin is producing oil in the first place, it really becomes quite simple. Dry skin produces oils to moisturize itself. The oils, however, end up making your skin the perfect playground for acne. When skin gets oily, people tend to try to wipe their skin off with their hands, adding dirt into the mix. When they are met with an outbreak, they don’t understand why.

Using an anti-acne moisturizer in the morning is a great cure for oily skin. Your skin will not feel the need to produce as much oil throughout the day. When it does, use a face-friendly oil absorbing sheet for a quick fix. These sheets are great for quickly absorbing excess oil throughout your day and less oil on your face makes for clearer skin. They can easily be stored in your purse or wallet, and are very quick and easy to use. When you see the oil from your face on the sheet the first time you use one, you quickly realize the benefits of these nifty little sheets.


3. Wash those digits every chance you get.

People think that washing your hands is just for sanitary reasons or for keeping away the viruses and bacteria. An added benefit to washing your hands is that you have less dirt, oil, and grime to put all over your face. Even if you don’t think you’re a face-toucher, you probably are. Everyone has the need to touch their face at some point during the day, especially when they have a pimple.

Washing your hands frequently under warm water with lots of anti-bacterial soap can truly help. Make sure to scrub your whole hand. Some people forget that there is a backside to their hands, or that they have spaces in between their fingers. Get it all, and get it good if you want to help your acne get gone.

4. Open up your pores prior to washing.

If you want to get deep inside those nasty pores, especially blackheads, before washing your face you’ll want to open up your pores. The quickest way to do this is to rinse a washcloth with hot water. Squeeze out the excess water, and apply directly to your face. Don’t make it so hot that you burn yourself, but make it hot enough that you feel your pores opening up. Wash your face immediately after you do this to get the deepest clean possible.

5. Hair is a number one offender.

Women especially need to be cautious about the products they put in their hair. If you try a new hair product, and you suddenly notice an outbreak around your hairline and on your neck where your hair touches your skin, it is probably that product that is causing your acne in those areas. Try to minimize the amount of product you use in your hair, and if something causes you to break out, stop using it, no matter how good of a product it is.

One other thing women forget about is when you sleep, pull your hair back. Hair works just like a pillowcase against the skin while you’re sleeping. If you washed your hair in the morning, so much dirt and grime has built up in your hair that you might as well be sleeping in an acne bath. Even with washing your hair at night, dirt and sweat can get into your hair while you’re sleeping, and you’ll have the same results. Putting your hair in a ponytail or bun at night is a simple solution, and one that will have you seeing less acne in the morning.

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6. Don’t race to cover up.

The first thing people want to do when they see a pimple is to cover it up with makeup until it finally disappears. This doesn’t make the pimple go away, but feeds it and makes it bigger, giving it a longer lifespan on your face. If you must cover up the zit, make sure to put on a acne-zapping product first so the makeup isn’t sitting directly on your pimple. Some products are tinted to go perfectly with makeup.

If you’re prone to acne, find friendly makeup that is meant for sensitive skin, or that works best with your skin. If you start a new makeup and suddenly you’re getting a lot of acne, immediately change your makeup. Even then, less is more. Don’t clog your face with layers of cake. Not only will it help your acne, but it will make you more beautiful and natural.


7. Quit smoking.

Ah, the old "quit smoking" admonition. Okay so this tip is maybe not-so-easy. Quitting smoking is not just good for avoiding health and personal hygiene problems, but it can help with your acne. Because the cigarette goes in your mouth and the smoke is blown out from your mouth and nose, it is natural that your skin will absorb some of the nasty ingredients that doctors warn you to keep out of your lungs. Quitting smoking is beneficial in so many ways, and helping relieve acne is just one more benefit.


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    • Santano McCalla profile image

      Santano McCalla 4 years ago

      Thank you, and to the pillowcase thing, spot on. I checked his pillow cases and they seemed to have changed colour if you can believe it. In any case, I'm sure he will be grateful for the information.

    • Angie Martin profile image

      Angie Martin 4 years ago from Frazier Park, California

      I'm so glad if it helps others. My youngest son sometimes gets acne located around the side of his jaw and his neck. Whenever he does, he gets upset. The first question I ask him is how long it's been since he changed his pillowcases. We find that's always the culprit of his pesky outbreaks. I'll post part two in the next day, which will have some of the products I've had experiences with and my personal results.

    • Santano McCalla profile image

      Santano McCalla 4 years ago

      My brother has terrible acne. I'll have to direct him to this hub, I feel it could help him tremendously.