Acne is a real pain. The problem with this awful skin condition is that there are so many variables that may be contributing to painful and persistent bouts of acne breakouts.
And the thing is you have probably tried a whole bunch of things too, from acne-busting fad diets and natural home remedies to the myriad lotions and creams that you can find over the counter (OTC) at your nearest pharmacy. The fact is, a trip to the dermatologist or aesthetician is worth considering if you have stubborn acne, as they may be able to offer some suitable treatment options that can help stop acne breakout in its tracks.
There are, however, a few random day-to-day things that you may unknowingly be doing (or not doing) that is exacerbating your skin condition, things that you may wish to pay attention to and that could actually help to turn things around. Let’s check them out.
Lack of Moisture
In many cases, OTC acne treatments contain strong chemicals that can kill off acne-causing bacteria effectively. However, they can also end up stripping your skin of its natural moisture and leave behind dry, flaky and irritated skin.
And if your acne-prone skin tends towards greasiness, you may also be hesitant about applying yet more moisturiser to an oily complexion. According to dermatologists, however, moisturising your skin twice daily can actually improve the acne situation. You probably want to avoid heavy creams; instead, do try a gel or water-based moisturiser that is non-comedogenic.
Exfoliate … But Very Gently
When skin is actively breaking out in acne, it might seem like a good idea to take it on with a strong and grainy exfoliating scrub that can give the skin a robust ‘clean’. But these exfoliators are simply too abrasive and can end up irritating or scratching the skin, even potentially spreading bacteria.
Instead, it is recommended that you use a chemical exfoliant that contains salicylic acid or fruit acids, which are less likely to irritate sensitive skin.
Sanitise Your Mobile Phone
To be honest, our mobile phones are gross. And when we rest our cheeks on the phone to take a call, it invariably had to come into contact with pimple-causing bacteria. Furthermore, the skin also starts to sweat and in the process, traps oil in the pores.
Thankfully, this is quite an easy fix. First, you should clean your cell phone daily with a sanitising wipe. Second, you might want to use earphones or activate the speakerphone option to avoid having your face come into contact with your phone as much as possible.
Launder Your Pillowcases
After a long day at work, nothing beats the moment when you finally get to throw yourself onto your bed and lay your head on your soft and fluffy pillow.
Unfortunately, as is the case with your mobile phone, your pillowcases are yet another thing that your face comes into regular contact with, and which might end up worsening or causing acne.
The everyday dust and grime, on top of the natural oils and dead skin cells that accumulate on your pillowcases and bed sheets, can end up irritating your skin and clogging up your pores. So set yourself a reminder to wash your bed linens on a regular basis. Your pillowcases should be washed at least once a week, while your bedsheets, blankets and comforters, should be tossed into the washing machine every couple of weeks, at least.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
As you may know, one of the major causes of acne is stress. When your body is stressed, it releases the hormone cortisol, which in turn, leads to an increase in the production of androgens that can trigger acne breakouts.
The fact is that you can have the most amazing skin products available in your arsenal but if you don’t get your stress levels under control, you’ll probably be fighting a losing battle.
These are some effective ways to help you de-stress: deep-breathing exercises, regular afternoon walks, and a yoga or meditation class.
A hot shower may feel good for sore muscles but it is a terrible idea if you have acne-prone skin. This is because hot showers can dry out your skin, irritate and aggravate acne, and potentially cause it to spread. The hot water also causes the capillaries near the surface of your skin to dilate, causing acne to look even more inflamed than it already is.
On the other hand, a cold shower can calm inflammation as well as tighten pores temporarily, which helps to prevent them from becoming even more clogged.
Speaking of keeping things cool, it is also a good idea to apply ice to calm angry pimples. While it won’t get rid of acne completely, ice can help to reduce the severity of the breakout by reducing inflammation. Icing the pimples about two minutes a day should suffice.