While it is quite common for teens to develop acne or pimples due to hormonal changes, having the acne problem persist in adulthood can be a real confidence killer. It is not only expensive to keep visiting the dermatologist and using prescription medication, but definitely troublesome to buy skincare or makeup products because we need to find those suitable for acne-prone skin.
The key to banishing those pesky pimples for good is to keep ourselves healthy and ensure we have the proper nutrition. This is because our skin is a reflection of our internal health. Factors like a poor diet, ill health or not having enough hydration can affect the state of our skin too.
Here are some ways you can start fighting acne:
1. Refresh your skincare routine
Acne-prone skin needs to be kept from drying out. Wash your face with a gentle antibacterial cleanser every morning and evening, and exfoliate gently 2 to 3 times a week to remove clogged pores. You need to be careful not to scrub your face too hard or wash your face too often as these actions will further dry out your skin. After cleansing and/or exfoliating, use a cotton ball to apply toner to your face. The toner helps to remove residue and restores the pH level of your skin. Apply moisturiser after this.
2. Apply UV protection
Going out in the sun without sun protection is very detrimental as the sun dries out our skin and aggravates acne. Even if the sun isn’t out, it is necessary to apply SPF as we are still exposed to harmful UV rays. If you have acne-prone skin, look for a sun protection product that contains lighter ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone or methoxycinnamte. Sunblock products with ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium oxide are thicker, hence they more likely to clog your pores and worsen your acne condition.
3. Drink enough water
Hydrating yourself regularly helps to flush out the buildup of toxins in your skin and body. The condition of your skin can be improved by drinking the recommended amount of water a day - which is about 8 glasses of plain water. Additionally, to prevent acne breakouts, try drinking hot lemon water first thing in the morning. Lemon has antiseptic properties and Vitamin C which can cure problems and rejuvenate the skin.
4. Eat healthier
Too much sugar and refined carbohydrates in your diet (also known as a “high-glycemic diet”) makes your blood glucose to rise and this increases your insulin level. The excess of insulin causes skin cells to become overactive with secreting sebum which end up clogging our pores and results in the formation of acne. It is wise to stay away from high-glycemic foods such as potatoes, pasta, cereals, grains and processed foods. Instead, try consuming more low-glycemic foods like whole grains, vegetables, tofu and nuts.
5. Sanitise your mobile phone
Surprise surprise! Plenty of studies have shown that our mobile phones are full of germs which we are constantly exposed to. What’s worse is that the bacteria spreads faster because of the heat generated by the phones. When we text, the oils from our fingers are left on our phones. Putting your phone to your face means the bacteria and oils get transferred to your face. To prevent this from occurring less frequently, clean your mobile phone with a hand sanitiser everyday if possible.
6. Alter your lifestyle
Stress, lack of sleep and lack of exercise are co-related. When you’re stressed, your body produces more glucocorticoid that de-stabilises your skin structure and worsens acne, while not sleeping enough hours means your body does not get to repair itself properly. Exercise helps to reduce stress and increase blood circulation that delivers more oxygen to your skin cells. At the same time, it removes toxins from your body and boosts your immune system. Smoking and drinking too much alcohol are bad for your skin too, so cutting down or stopping completely will be a great help.
7. Avoid touching your face
Oftentimes, our hands are full of bacteria and oils. Keeping your hands off your face means that germs don’t transfer to your face, and your skin does not get exposed to further trauma and inflammation – this is true, especially if you try to squeeze any pimples on your face! Other than your hands, hair also contains oils that can deteriorate our skin condition so be sure to keep any loose strands off your face.
8. Change your makeup habits
Before you go to sleep, remove all traces of your makeup and cleanse your face properly. The goal is to unclog your pores and allow your skin to breathe again. If your skin is prone to acne, try to reduce the amount of makeup you use so there is less blockage of your pores. It also helps to wash your makeup brushes and tools regularly (every 1 to 2 weeks) as they tend to collect bacteria and germs.
9. Use a clean pillowcase
We spend most of our sleeping hours lying on our pillows, which means that germs and grease from our hair gets transferred to the pillowcase and spreads to our face. Consider changing your pillowcase every couple of days or covering your hair with a scarf while sleeping.