By some estimates, somewhere around 60 million people suffer from active acne. Most of those are young adults and about 25% of those people will actually have long-term scars as a result of severe acne that goes untreated.
Needless to say, acne can be a real problem for some people and a constant source of anxiety for many others. Many people are not aware that the everyday habits they engage in can be causing or exacerbating their acne.
Your skin is the most important (and one of the most sensitive) organs in your body. Here are some little-known acne-fighting tips to keep your skin clear, beautiful, and healthy.
Clean Your Face Regularly
The most important thing you can do to prevent acne from taking hold on your skin is to wash your face. Every time you go out into the world, exercise, sweat in any way, swim in a pool or lake, or expose your skin at all to the elements; dirt and oil can become trapped in your pores.
Other than genetic factors, these are the primary vehicles for acne to form. Even sleeping on dirty sheets or other surfaces can make your facial skin dirty. It may not look dirty but trust us, it’s there.
Each morning when you wake up, wash your face with a gentle exfoliator. Then do the same each night when you go to bed. Develop a routine habit of this and you should start to see improvement of existing mild acne and prevent new acne from forming.
Clean Your Phone
This sounds silly but our phones are some of the dirtiest objects we use each day. Some people say they are even dirtier than our money because we use our phones in all situations. We use them when we are eating, when we are in the bathroom, after we’ve handled other dirty objects, etc.
With that said, no consider the fact that you put your phone to your face at least a couple times each day. If you have never cleaned your phone, all of the things you touched in the time before you put it to your face are on there.
A good tip is to keep some wipes that are labeled as antibiotics. Choose something that kills germs and keep it in your car, at home, and at your place of work. Make a habit of wiping your phone screen down at least once a day.
If cleaning your phone is not practical, try using devices that allow you to use a phone function without touching your face. For example speakerphone, Bluetooth headsets, or the headphones that came with your phone are all good options.
Washing your skin is great but keeping it moisturized is even better. Moisturizers keep pores in your skin open and make it less likely that dirt and oil will become trapped in your skin. Moisturizing after you’ve washed your face in the morning and at night is a good routine to follow.
It is a common myth that hot water or steam opens the pores in your skin and cold water makes them close. In reality, your pores are not activated by temperature. Hot water has a tendency of making the outer layers of your skin swell which can make them look open but that is not why they are opening.
Heat causes enlargement of the capillaries near the surface of your skin and makes the area swell. In other words, hot water does nothing for you and cooler water is easier on the skin.
Plan a Healthier Diet
What you eat has a lot to do with what your skin looks like. You can help prevent acne by simply avoiding certain foods. While every person’s body and metabolism are different, here are some basic things you should avoid eating too much of:
Sugar: This is probably the worst for your skin. Some studies have shown that sugar has some sort of link to breakouts and consuming a lot of it can throw your body off balance. Keep track of your sugar intake. If you notice a breakout hours or days after consuming a lot of sugar, it’s best to steer clear.
Fast food: This is probably not good for anyone anyway but for acne sufferers, fast food can be a big no-no. Much of this kind of food is high in fatty acids and oils which make their way through your body and into your skin.
Wash Your Pillowcase
You would be surprised at how much a person can sweat in their sleep and we all do it. Even if you wash your face, shower, and moisturize before bedtime, your pillowcase and sheets accumulate dirt and oil overnight. Sweat builds up on our bodies and then it has no other place to go than into our bed linens.
Make a point to wash your pillowcases as often as you wash your other clothes. Change your pillowcase at least every couple of days to a clean one. This is one of those strategies where if you’ve tried a lot of other things to prevent acne, this may be yet another opportunity to avoid getting your skin dirty.
If you’ve tried many of these and failed, do not beat yourself up. Sometimes acne requires professional care and there is no way around it. Some people are predisposed to developing severe acne and require medical intervention. If you have chronic mild or severe acne and you haven’t done anything about it yet, these tactics are great places to start.
We are all products of our environment and the same principle can be applied to our skin. Make changes in your daily habits as a first step in combating your acne before contacting a professional or using more aggressive treatments. You may be able to save yourself a lot of frustration and money by simply doing things a little different in your everyday life instead of adding treatments that may not be necessary.
*Photo courtesy of Karolina Misev with www.cushyspa.com