Many people tend to panic when they notice the first signs of an acne breakout. The irony is that stressing out about your acne actually can make it worse. I know that acne can be upsetting, but there are a number of things you can do to prevent and minimize it.
A good skincare routine (look for products that contain the acne medication Salicylic Acid, as well as hydrators and anti-inflammatory agents) is usually the best way to keep acne at bay. But there are other things you can do to reduce the chances of breakouts.
Here are some everyday tips and tricks that you can add to your skincare routine for clearer, healthier skin.
- Use a clean pillowcase every night. Changing your pillowcase daily can help reduce your skin’s exposure to acne-causing agents like bacteria, dust and makeup. You wouldn’t press a dirty washcloth against your face for six to eight hours, so don’t sleep on a dirty pillowcase.
- Eat foods rich in water to flush impurities from your system. By eating more water-rich foods such as raw fruits and vegetables, you can help support your body’s natural mechanism for purifying and detoxification.
- Clean your cellphone every day. Think of all the places your cellphone goes during the day – your purse, your desk, the counter at the store, and even the bathroom sink. It can carry a collection of bacteria that you don’t want to press up against your face. Keep antibacterial wipes handy to clean your phone before it touches your face.
- Eat foods rich in Lecithin, Vitamins A and C, Zinc and Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Your skin can be more vulnerable to breakouts if you have vitamin deficiency, especially Zinc, Vitamin C and Essential Fatty Acids.
- After sweating, take a shower with gentle, exfoliating cleanser. Exercise is a great way to help keep skin clear. Breaking a sweat helps to flush the body of toxins. But make sure to thoroughly wash those toxins off the skin once you are done by taking a warm shower and using a gentle, exfoliating cleanser after you work out.
- Try not to stress. Stress can make acne flare-ups worse. Take time for yourself each day and relax. What’s good for your mind is good for your body too.
- Eat healthy. A balanced diet with lots of water-rich raw fruits and vegetables promotes clear skin. Unhealthy eating in general can contribute to unclear skin. Try to avoid foods that are high in grease and fat. But you don’t have to avoid chocolate! A long-standing myth is that chocolate makes people break out. Bittersweet dark chocolates with 45 to 80% cocoa actually are good for you in moderation because of their flavonoids content. Darker chocolate means more flavonoids and potentially greater health benefits.
- 80/20 Rule. My “Pitcher of Health” philosophy encourages the 80/20 rule, allowing for 80% healthy, balanced diet and 20% comfort foods. By giving yourself permission to make yourself happy and permission to live without a feeling of guilt about cupcakes and other things you like to eat, you alleviate cell-killing stress.
Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Read more about Dr. Murad.