There are three things in life all of us have to deal with: death, taxes, and acne.
Joking aside, acne may not be quite that universal, but it is a figurative and sometimes literal pain a vast majority of people encounter throughout their lives.
If you are among the majority that has not won the dermatological lottery, acne is simply a fact of life. It can be embarrassing, painful, and an annoyance that never seems to go away. You want clear skin and to get rid of your acne, but what you may not realize is that there are a number of ways in which we can sabotage ourselves. That’s right, there are ways in which we can make our acne worse without even knowing it!
Stop touching your face
This is among the more common mistakes by those of us who deal with acne on the daily. It may be out of nervous habit, it may be out of self-consciousness, or there could be some other reason altogether, but for some people, it’s easy to forget not to touch your face. While your hands may be clean at different points throughout the day, they don’t stay that way. When you touch everyday items like doorknobs, your cell phone screen, a computer keyboard, a kitchen counter… the list goes on and on—all of these items, community-used or not, end up having some sort of bacteria on them. This bacteria can then get into our face, which can easily lead to the formation of acne.
On top of the persistent annoyance of bacteria being everywhere, there are certain times of the year you may need to use more lotion on your hands than usual, particularly in the colder months. The use of that heavy lotion can translate to bad news for the sensitive skin on your face.
The less you touch your face, the better!
Moisturize, but do it right
Speaking of the colder months of the year, during the winter in most parts of the world, you may experience drier skin on your hands and elsewhere.
While skin care is important during any time of the year, and particularly when the air is dry and cold, it’s important to use the right kind of moisturizer.
Even if your skin has a tendency to not break out, it’s important to moisturize. However, it’s important to use the right kind of moisturizer if your skin is particularly sensitive. The moisturizers you are looking for should be labeled as oil-free or non-comedogenic. Thankfully, these moisturizers are not especially difficult to find. These moisturizers will protect your skin’s hydration levels all without clogging your pores.
Some face masks are also great for moisturizing your skin. Make sure you find the one that will work best with your skin type and prevent future acne breakouts.
Watch your spot treatments
It’s tempting to reach for your favorite acne cream when a zit breaks out. However, take a step back and relax for a second. Your usual spot treatment may not be the best way to handle your newest facial blemish. Spot treatments include ingredients that will dry out the skin, including salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Using treatments with these ingredients dry out the skin and cause your skin to naturally produce more oil, which can clog your pores and create more acne.
The good news is while those spot treatments probably aren’t right for you, there are alternatives. Hydrocortisone creams, while normally used for itchy skin issues, can kill the swelling and redness in zits. After this, applying concealer that contains chamomile can further calm the redness of the zit. Using this combination of treatments a few times a week (doing this every day may hurt more than help) should make a difference in your skin. Don’t be afraid to give it a shot if you haven’t tried this before!
Be nice to your face
The skin on your face is much more sensitive than your hands. There’s a reason that hand soap and facial washes are separate. If you were to, for example, use hand soap on your face, the harsher formula isn’t going to do it any good.
Using a harsher cleanser in addition to using a rougher exfoliant on your face isn’t going to do your face any good. Your skin, particularly on your face, has a protective layer that helps keep bacteria at bay, and scrubbing your face isn’t going to help said layer.
To keep your face clean and still be gentle with that sensitive skin, look for gentle exfoliators like glycolic and lactic acid.
Mind your pillowcase
No, really; your pillowcase could be a source of skin problems you haven’t considered. A pillowcase, no matter how clean and fastidious you are, will start to accumulate bacteria and germs over time. Even if you wash your face, it’s going to happen; it’s just a fact of life. If you start to change your pillowcases more often, you lessen your chance of bacteria transferring to your face during the night.
Use cleansers, not wipes
It’s easy to get complacent when it comes to removing makeup at night. You don’t want to go through the process to wipe off the makeup with makeup remover, wash your face, properly moisturize and then go to bed. It’s easy to get into just wiping your face with remover and hopping into bed.
This turns out not to be a great idea, especially for those of us with sensitive skin. Makeup remover wipes typically don’t get everything in the first place, which can clog the pores, and, you guessed it, cause an acne breakout.
Instead of going with a simple wipe-and-go, taking the time to use a makeup cleanser ensures all the makeup comes off of your face and makes sure your pores stay clean and clear.
There are a number of factors out there that can contribute to acne breakouts. The good news is with a little mindfulness and some extra care taken toward cleaning your skin, you could see fewer and less severe breakouts. If you don’t have a set skin care routine yet, it’s recommended you start to build one up. Caring for your skin helps you look younger and feel better both physically and emotionally. Take care of your skin and your skin will take care of you!