9 Top Tips for Clearer Skin and Reducing Acne Breakouts
Is there such a thing as perfect skin?
Having suffered with acne since my teens, I have come to learn one golden rule; "There is no such thing as perfect skin, there is no secret to clearer skin". Nobody’s skin is perfect. Clever cameras, make-up and good lighting can give anyone that 'flawless' finish. I'm not going to promise you that the tips below will give you perfect skin, for me, it's something that doesn't exist. What I can give you is tips and advice, tried and tested methods from over 15 years of experimenting (and still experimenting!). Hopefully the following tips will give you a naturally healthy and glowing appearance that will boost your confidence.
And remember, acne is normal! Nine out of ten people have it so you're not alone. Acne isn't just something that teenagers suffer from, it is very common amongst adults too. A combination of hormones, genetics, diet and external factors all contribute to a multitude of acne problems.
Face mapping for acne
- Face Mapping: What Are Your Acne Breakouts Telling You?
Face mapping helps us understand how internal factors cause acne breakouts. What does the acne on your forehead tell you about your digestion? Discover your acne zones and their internal corollaries.
Drinking water for glowing skin
That worn out five letter word that is instantly thrown at anyone who is suffering with acne. However, it's with good reason. Think about your daily water intake, are you really getting your eight glasses a day? (Plus one for luck!). Water flushes out the toxins in your system, cleansing you from the inside out. So try replacing a few of your fizzy drinks with a tall glass of H2O, and try keeping a log to ensure you're getting enough! Make sure your up your intake during the warmer months and try eating more water soluble fruits such as grapes for an addition boost.
Personally, I love drinking detox water. Put a slice of lemon in your glass of water. Not only will it taste better, but the lemon water will flush additional toxins out of your body and give you a much needed vitamin C boost.
Can sleep improve acne breakouts?
When you sleep, your skin, much like your other organs, takes this opportunity to heal, renew and rejuvenate. Studies have shown that those who are getting enough sleep (around seven to eight and a half hours per night) can reduce their stress levels which can cause your skin to become dry and dull, increasing the likelihood of breakouts. Remember, it's not called beauty sleep for nothing!
A top tip for sleeping is to try to sleep on your back. Sleeping on your back allows gravity to give you a 'natural' face-lift, and means you will not be sleeping with your hair, pillow or quilt rubbing against your face and transferring bacteria. Ideally, you should change your pillowcase once a week and aim to wash your pillow once a month.
Does exercise cause acne?
Exercising increases and improves your blood circulation and, lowers stress levels by releasing endorphins. An improved circulation helps your cells to renew and your body to move toxins out of your system.
By lowering your stress levels, you can reduce breakouts. Before exercising, I would always recommend removing any make up or thick product from your face. These mixed with the sweat from exercising will clog up your pores.
After exercising, make sure you cleanse your skin to remove all traces of dirt and sweat.
What foods reduce acne breakouts?
Aim to include food and drink high in antioxidants in your diet. Antioxidants are amazing things that cleanse your system, removing toxins and impurities.
Try including some of the following in your diet; strawberries, grapes, pineapple, kiwi, red cabbage, peppers, apricots, soybeans, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds and green tea.
Look for foods high in vitamin E - a skin-loving nutrient that will aid in improving your skin, for example; sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, kale, olives, kiwis and tomatoes. Notice how some of those foods fall into both categories?
Avoid over consumption of foods high in fat and sugar. These excess fats can cause excess oils which, when excreted through your pores, can cause a buildup of bacteria, resulting in breakouts. Be sure to wash around your mouth/chin area as well as your hands after eating to remove excess oils and grease from the skin.
Is my moisturiser giving me acne?
For a while, I thought that moisturising was what caused my oily skin. I avoided using any moisturiser on my face for some time, which resulted in dry and sore skin. I had more frequent breakouts when I wasn't using a moisturiser.
If your skin feels taught and dry, it will start to produce excess sebum, which results in oilier skin and a bacteria build up. Select a moisturizer that is right for your skin type and always look for those that include an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15. Remember to change your moisturiser with the seasons, something lighter during summer and thicker during winter to help combat the change in weather.
Did you know? Naturally oilier skin visibly shows less signs of ageing as opposed to dry skin.
What's my skin type?
Knowing your skin type will help you select the right products for your skin. Be it oily, dry, sensitive or a combination, knowing your skin means you will select the right products designed to work with that skin type.
Using products for oily skin on dry skin will cause dry skin to become dryer. Even if you don't have sensitive skin, I would always say treat it as if you do,. Avoid harsh chemicals, alcohol based products.
Consult a specialist or ask at the beauty counter for a consultation on your skin type.
What products should I use for healthy, glowing skin?
The right products can help immensely with skin care, but buying the most expensive product on the shelf does not mean you will get the best results. You have to find the right products for you. Avoid alcohol-based toners as they dry out the skin, and keep exfoliating to once a week for normal skin, twice a week for oily.
Treat yourself to face masks; clay based are fantastic for removing deep-rooted impurities. Try to minimise the amount of lotions and potions you put on your face, and look for multi-purpose products such as balms and salves. Always wash your hands before application of any product, and if you use brushes or sponges, be sure to wash them at least once a week as they can build up quickly with bacteria, grime and dead skin cells.
It's worth noting that you can either invest in visiting a specialist, or you can invest in skin care products. Whichever path you choose, do your research. Trial different specialists, and do your homework on the ingredients in skincare products.
Bare faced beauty
Try having a few make-up free days in the week, allowing your skin to breathe. If you find it impossible to leave the house without any make up on, then make sure you remove it as soon as you get home for the day, and take it off properly. Make up residue left behind on your skin will clog your pores. (As will using dirty make up brushes, so aim to clean them at least twice a week and air dry). For heavy make-up, try double cleansing. Use an oil cleanser to breakdown and remove the make-up, and a foam or gel cleanser to remove and remnants of make-up, dirt and grime.
Try using BB creams, tinted moisturisers, or, if it's suitable for your skin type, use mineral make-up. These will be lighter in consistency, reducing the risk of clogged pores and breakouts.
The overnight cure for acne
You cannot clear up your skin over night. It’s a process that can take some time, understanding your skin, changing your habits, lifestyle and diet, trying out new products etc. It all takes time.
Start believing you will have clear skin, mind over matter. I strongly believe in the power of thought, how your thinking can almost train and alter your body and behavior in certain ways.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Sarah Campbell