10 Daily Practices to Prevent Acne
- 1 Keep your face clean
- 2 Get the Right Nutrition
- 3 Exercise regularly
- 4 Keep the hands out of your face
- 5 Watch out what you put in your hair
- 6 Keep it Moist!
- 7 Watch out for the Sun
- 8 Rejuvenate through enough sleep!
- 9 Keep your pillowcase clean
- 10 Stay hydrated
In this article, I will present 10 powerful daily practices that will help you to prevent acne. If you already suffer from it, they will greatly reduce its severity and frequency. Some of them might sound trivial but often ingenuity lies within simplicity. Make those practices integral part of your daily routine and first results will show up within 2 weeks. Check out the Infographic I made, it that sums up the 10 practices. Feel free to download and print it – putting it somewhere where you will see it every day, will help to get your daily routine set.
Keep your face clean
What a surprise! But relieving your face from dead skin, excess oil and other impurities will help to prevent acne.
Things to keep in mind when washing your face:
- only wash your face twice a day – in the morning and at night before going to bed. Overdoing it, will only cause your skin to become dry and destroy its natural protection. Thus, Acne outbreaks will become more likely and worse
- always use a gentle cleanser, harsh products (e.g. cleansers with alcohol) can irritate your skin and cause inflammation which is thought to be the primary cause of acne. Cleansers containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide have proven to unclock pores, clean the skin thoroughly and kill p.acnes – Bacteria associated with acne (link cleanser)
- use warm, not hot water to wash your face and dry it gently with a clean and soft towel
- No rubbing, just dabbing!
Here you can find a thorough review of one of our favorite skin cleansers – perfectly suited to sensitive skin!
Get the Right Nutrition
Dairy products and foods with high processed sugar may trigger acne, so stay away from them and get your fair share of fresh fruits and veggies. Besides preventing acne, they will fuel up your vitamin and mineral levels and enhance your overall health and energy!
Even though there is no hard scientific evidence, that certain types of food directly cause acne more than one-third of people with acne see a direct relationship with their meals and acne outbreaks. Missing evidence is most likely due to the lack of scientific studies and the complexity of the issue. Our nutrition interacts in a myriad of ways with our body and neither of them is one dimensional. Our skin needs vitamins and nutrients to repair and recover, a bad diet will slow down this process. Your diet also directly influences your hormone household which in turn is known to be directly linked to acne.
More recent studies suggest, that a low-glycemic diet may help to reduce or prevent acne. In western societies, we are used to high-glycemic diets because of all the processed food and artificial sugars we consume. This causes the body to produce large amounts of insulin and exhibit insulin resistance, which is linked to a change in sebum production and therefore inflammation and acne. Fresh vegetables, fruits, and less processed sugar will prevent that. Another fact that points in that direction are that, indigenous societies do not experience acne. This might not only be due to the reason that they don’t consume processed food but also because of less pollution and exposure to stress hormones.
So, what is good for you? You’re not limited to those foods only, rather take them as an example of what is a healthy approach.
Are essential to building, maintaining, and repairing tissues, cells, and organs throughout the body – the right protein intake benefits the healing process of acne and also keeps the skin healthier. It also balances blood sugar levels.
- Organic Poultry
- Beans or chickpeas
High Fiber Foods
Besides reducing the risk of stroke, hypertension, and heart disease, high Fiber foods lower the blood glucose and cholesterol levels, reduce bacteria inside your body as well as improve your digestion.
- Split peas
- Veggies in general!
Research shows that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats reduce cholesterol, have anti-inflammatory properties, benefit cell growth and can benefit insulin and blood sugar levels which in turn is connected to acne.
- Use olive oil instead of butter or cheap vegetable oil
- Coconut oil
What should you try to avoid?
In general, you should try to have a balanced diet and get all the necessary vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats that your body needs. It will significantly influence the way your body fights and prevents acne and also boosts your overall health. Move on from our high-glycemic western diet and avoid the following foods:
- High-glycemic foods (white bread, processed breakfast cereals, deep frozen pizza, potato chips, cookies, cakes, and other processed foods)
- Cow milk
- Low-quality fats like in butter, fatty meat
- Fast foods
Regular exercise will be good for your whole body as well, it boosts your metabolism and decreases stress hormones that can also trigger acne. It also lets the blood circle through your body which provides the skin with oxygen and nutrients and carries away they waste – detox and refuel!
- Decreases stress hormones
- Supplies skin with oxygen and nutrients
- Boosts metabolism
- Detoxifies the skin
To keep in mind:
- Avoid clothing that irritates your skin
- shower right after (sweating during exercise doesn’t make your acne worse, it only happens if you leave it on the skin)
- always use a clean and soft towel
- If you work outside don’t forget your acne suited sunscreen (link: sunscreens for acne prone skin)
Keep the hands out of your face
I know it’s hard but think about all those places your hands have been during the day, you don’t want all this dirt and bacteria in your face. They're likely to clock your pores and make an acne outbreak more likely. Even worse in areas where the natural barrier of the skin is not working it can lead to infections and severe acne.
If you are a poker, things become even more dangerous. Bacteria that are naturally present on the skin, as well as those gathering on your hands, are likely to penetrate to a deeper level, leading to a breakout or causing an infection of an existing pimple which can lead to cystic acne. Not to mention that popping pimples can lead to severe scarring!
In general, it can be quite hard to get rid of a repetitive behavior, here are some tips that will help:
- Realize the behavior and make yourself aware of it each time you do it
- Visualize the consequences
- Substitution always works – try to find a different behavior that you can exhibit instead. Give yourself a little pinch or clench your fist for a certain time
- Limit your time with the mirror and leave a note that reminds you not to do so
Watch out what you put in your hair
What’s good for your hair is not necessarily good for your skin as well. Oils, gels, hair sprays or any other products are likely to end up in your face at some point. If you don’t want to stop using your favorite hair product, try to evaluate if it affects your acne. Areas that tend to be primarily affected by outbreaks are the neck, upper back, forehead, and hairline.
Which ingredients to watch out for?
- Cocoa butter
- sodium lauryl sulfate
- ammonium lauryl sulfate
- mineral oils
What can you do against it?
- Ideally wash your hair before going to bed and remove hair products, otherwise, they’re likely to end up on your pillow and then in your face
- Use gentle and dermatologically tested hair products
- Keep your hair away from the areas where you prone to have acne
Keep it Moist!
Acne products are prone to cause skin dryness and irritation. Dryness signals the body to produce more oil in affected areas and this can lead to further bacterial growth and acne. Prevent it by using a moisturizer! Always check the ingredients!
Acne products that cause dryness:
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Salicylic acid
- Adapalene, tazarotene, or tretinoin
- Isotretinoin (prescription treatment)
- Essential oil in high concentration (e.g. Tea Tree Oil)
Which moisturizer to choose:
- non-comedogenic, which means it doesn’t block pores and thus is not likely to cause acne
- products tested for acne
Here you can find a review on which moisturizers work well for people with acne.
Watch out for the Sun
A common misconception is that sunlight can cure acne. Especially during times of breakouts, sunlight can worsen it. The ultraviolet rays of the sun can boost inflammation and redness, as well as cause dark discolorations in acne affected areas called hyperpigmentation. Additionally, many products against acne make the skin more sensitive to sunlight, so that a sunburn can already occur only after minutes in the sun. Always check the product description for warnings! I recommend minimizing time in the sun when its strongest (11-15) and always use a “non-comedogenic” sunscreen to minimize the risk of outbreaks and prevent sunburn! Wearing a hat or cap also helps to keep the sun out of your face.
The risks associated with sun exposure
- Increased inflammation and redness
- Dehydration that can cause increased sebum production
Rejuvenate through enough sleep!
It is no secret that sleep is very important for your body and psyche! A regular and consistent sleep pattern of 6 to 8 hours is great medicine for your whole body including acne.
During sleep, your body recovers and reduces stress hormones and heals all those little problems that sum up throughout the day – if there’s no time for it, it won’t happen!
Research finds that a lack of sleep or also an irregular sleep pattern will promote stress, increases insulin resistance and doesn’t give the body enough time to recover. It is also thought to increase sebum production due to increased cortisol release.
Benefits of enough sleep for acne
- Skin recovers
- Time to heal
- Reduce stress hormones that are linked to acne
Risks of sleep deprivation
- High levels of stress hormones
- Increased insulin resistance (higher blood sugar)
- Likely to increase sebum production (high level of cortisol)
- No time to recover, repair and heal
- Metabolic dysregulation
Keep your pillowcase clean
You wouldn’t go five days without washing your face, would you? But we bet you don’t blink an eye sleeping on the same pillowcase for weeks. Sleeping on dirty pillows can be quite counterproductive if you’re trying to combat breakouts!
Pillowcases can house a plethora of bacteria or germs and if not changed often, can lead to skin irritation and acne. All the excess oil on your face, along with any product in your hair are left on the fabric and transferred back onto your skin.
Experts suggest laundering pillowcases after just three nights to keep acne at bay, especially if you are prone to breakouts. Also look for a gentle washing deterrent without any potentially harmful ingredients. While the material of your pillowcase won’t necessarily cause irritation, it’s thought that natural fabrics may be best.
Make it a habit to not only launder your pillowcases often but to wash your face and hair before laying down for the night. An unwashed face and hair not only transfer oil and germs onto your bedding but also lead to more clogged pores.
Try using a specialty pillowcase made out of silk and other antimicrobial fabrics to help your skin heal while you rest. These pillowcases are made to reduce friction and the spread of bacteria while you sleep. Plus, they’re super chic. It’s a win-win!
64 % of your skin is composed of water, thus dehydration will have a significant impact on your skin and also your whole body!
Drinking plenty of water seems to be a cure-all for a myriad of problems. This is especially true in the case of acne.
Dehydration can lead to inflammation, itchiness, excess oil production or increased sensitivity.
While alone drinking water won’t completely rid you of pimples, research suggests that staying hydrated will flush out toxins and help your skin function better. It’s for this reason; water should absolutely be in your arsenal against acne.
When you are properly hydrated, you should see redness decrease as well as more supple skin. Remember, hydrated skin not only glows but is actually better able to heal itself.
Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day if you’re the average girl or guy. Depending on your body size and lifestyle increase from there! Vegetables and fruits also enhance hydration, whereas meals with too much salt are counterproductive!
What other methods of preventing acne have you tried? What were the most successful ones? Share your story with us in the comments below!