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March 10, 2016 | Dermatology
After waking up to discover a big, red zit on your face, one of the first things you might ask yourself is: “What did I do wrong?!” The causes of acne are complex and varied, and its treatment is often even more complicated. If you have ever heard the phrase “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” you’ll see why these 15 secrets for preventing acne can truly change your life in the long run.
1. Don’t stress.
Stress is a leading cause of acne, but acne itself can also cause stress. Examine your schedule and see if there is something you can cut out to make your life just a little less stressful. If you can’t change your workload, change your attitude. This can be as simple as changing the way you think from “My boss has made me work overtime for three weeks now,” to “All of this extra work has really boosted my savings and will look great on my resume.”
2. Drink water.
Particularly for those with dry skin, drinking water keeps your skin continually hydrated and flushes out impurities that can cause acne.
3. Choose your makeup wisely.
If your skin is acne-prone, try to have at least a couple of bare-faced days per week. On the days that you do wear makeup, opt for a base with salicylic acid and ingredients like aloe and witch hazel that are known to soothe irritated skin. Use a primer to better protect your skin and ensure a smooth application, and don’t forget to wash all brushes and applicators regularly.
4. Never sleep with makeup on.
Ideally, you should wash your face before bed every night, but at the very least, use a gentle facial cleansing wipe to fully remove makeup on days where you’re truly exhausted.
5. Use a gentle exfoliant.
Exfoliating your skin is great for deep cleanings and removing dead skin cells, but you’ll want to avoid being too harsh. Wash your skin no more than twice per day with lukewarm water, using just your hands instead of washcloths, brushes, or other harsh materials. A few times per week, you can use gentle, all-natural exfoliants (like oatmeal or raw honey) to thoroughly cleanse without irritating your skin.
6. Wear sunscreen.
Sunscreen not only protects against skin cancer and signs of aging, but it can also prevent breakouts and reduce scarring.
7. Never pop or pick at your skin.
Popping and picking can cause bacteria to sink even deeper into surrounding pores and causes scarring that takes months to heal. When the urge feels too great, apply a spot treatment to problem areas instead.
8. Shampoo daily.
Your hairdresser might disagree, but oily hair leads to oily skin that can cause acne. Use dry shampoo and baby powder to further reduce hair oils throughout the day.
9. Avoid high glycemic foods.
Avoid foods with a high glycemic index, such as white grains, sweets, and certain dairy products.
10. Eat foods with anti-inflammatory benefits.
Fish, nuts, flaxseed, and others high in omega-3 fatty acids can help tame inflammation, as well as probiotics found in yogurt, sauerkraut, and miso soup.
11. Talk to your doctor about oral contraceptives.
A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that oral contraceptives can reduce acne by 55 percent, compared to 53 percent for antibiotics. Oral contraceptives help to regulate hormones, thus preventing breakouts caused by imbalance.
12. Change your pillow sheets.
As you sleep, your bedding—particularly, your pillow sheet—gathers dirt, oil, and other contaminants from your skin and hair. Changing your pillow sheet nightly and washing your bedding regularly prevents the spread of bacteria, thus preventing acne.
13. Visit a dermatologist.
Mild cases of acne can sometimes get worse before they get better. Visit a dermatologist early to determine the exact cause of your acne and treat the problem on the spot.
14. Use all-natural facial masks.
At least once per week, give your skin a spa treatment with all-natural facial masks. Turmeric and honey are two particularly beneficial facial mask ingredients that prevent and treat acne, while also reducing scars and promoting a healthy glow.
Even if you have oil-prone skin, moisturizing your skin is important for maintaining health and balance. Aloe-Vera is a particularly effective, natural moisturizer to limit oil production and calm redness for adult patients with acne-prone skin.
These simple lifestyle changes will undoubtedly benefit your skin, but sometimes getting deep into the root of the problem requires some professional help.
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.