Acne is a big topic and a medical condition for some. There are so many medications, products, ingredients, methods, etc. to help with acne and to promote “clear” skin. However, not all of us have the budget to try out all the newest formulations of revolutionary skincare products. Do I believe in products and what they can do for your skin? Absolutely. You should see my medicine cabinet…and bathroom counter… and bathroom cabinets…but I digress. Products are great but when thinking through my “journey” with acne I’ve found there are so many things you can do to help reduce breakouts for basically free.
1. Stop Touching Your Face
I remember my friend literally slapping my hand away (gently, lol) every time I would rest my hand on my face. Honestly, bless her. Without her help, I would have never been able to break the habit of constantly touching my face. Why is this important? We carry thousands of unseen bacteria on our hands. Ask any dermatologist, facialist, or beauty editor…and they are going to tell you to stop touching your face. Will this cure every blemish? Probably not. But it can reduce more blemishes from surfacing.
2. Wash Your Pillowcase
Hair oils, dirt, dust, and the list goes on and on and on and on. I’ll keep it brief so I don’t gross you out too much. I wash my pillowcases & sheets weekly. And if you’re anything like me, you’re a classic side sleeper…so our cheek is always resting on a pillow. Wild story, my facialist even knew which side I sleep on as soon as she saw my skin up close. Keep your sheets clean to help keep breakouts at bay.
3. Use Headphones / Speaker Phone
This one actually grosses me out more than anything. Think about how many places you set your phone down. It’s constantly in your hands, or on your desk, on a table, etc. And don’t lie to me and say you don’t take your phone into the bathroom. Germs! Bacteria! Then you press it against your cheek. Your makeup, sweat, and oils hang out and get all friendly. I rarely ever actually have my phone against my check. It sounds a bit extra, but your skin will thank me later.
4. Grab An Ice Cube
While you’re grabbing some ice for your cocktail or coffee…grab an extra cube for your face. I’ve been icing my face for years now. Up until about a year ago, I had always suffered from cystic, hormonal acne. Icing my face was incredibly helpful for me when I would get a really painful, inflamed blemish. You know the kind. When I ice my face, I make sure my skin is cleansed, then I take a cloth and wrap half of the ice cube with it. I move the ice cube around on my skin in the area of the blemish. It’s important to keep the ice moving, pressing the ice on the breakout directly and holding it there can cause something similar to a “burn” on your skin. Just keep the ice moving. This will help reduce the inflammation, swelling, and redness; allowing any spots to heal more quickly. Added bonus, icing your face also helps increase blood circulation, giving your skin a beautiful glow.
5. Watch The Towel
We all have that bathroom sink towel that is always there. I learned this trick from Glow Recipe. Now I rarely use a towel to dry my face after cleansing. I just pat the water into my skin. Your hand towel hanging by your bathroom sink can be dirty. You don’t want to press that grime back into your cleansed skin. Think about it. The towel is commonly hanging in the general vicinity of the toilet - ew. There’s a lot of bacteria that can spread via your hand towel. Make sure it’s clean - or just skip the towel and pat the water into your skin. This helps with water hydration in your skin, your serums to absorb better, and to skip potentially nasty bacteria. Win Win Win.
6. Cleanse Before You Sweat / After You Sweat
I’m a stickler on this. I keep a travel size Milky Jelly cleanser in my bag so I’m always able to cleanse my skin before a yoga class or a workout. I used to work out with a full face of makeup on, especially in the days where my acne was really flaring up. I know it can feel intimidating to go work out with no makeup on, but it’s so much better for the health of your skin to cleanse your face before a sweat session. When you sweat your skin is in full detox mode. If your skin is trying to get toxins out but they are being trapped by makeup then you’re more likely to get clogged pores and breakouts. I like to cleanse my skin well and then top with a nice oil or light moisturizer for an even glow. Whether you’re planning on showering after your workout or not, you should also cleanse your face again in order to remove any toxins that were expelled via your sweat session. ;)
7. Steam Your Face
Recently, I was gifted an actual facial steamer but if you don’t have one just boil some water. I’ve done this off and on since I was 14. I would boil some water, place my face over the bowl, and drape a towel over my head. This is an easy way to do a DIY facial steam, and didn’t cost me a dime. But now with the facial steamer I was given, it’s even more fun. Facial steaming has so many benefits; it loosens dirt and debris in the skin, eliminates toxins in your skin, helps with skin absorption ability and hydration. Note: if you’re prone to redness or rosacea issues PLEASE do your research before steaming. Steaming has been known to aggravate sensitive skin from these particular issues. Bonus Tip: if you’re doing a DIY steam by boiling water you can add a few drops of lavender oil to make it nearly spa-like.
8. Clean Your Makeup Brushes
Picture this you have a breakout and then you put on concealer or foundation with a makeup brush. Then that bacteria from your breakout travels along with your makeup as you’re blending. *EYES WIDEN*. Wash your damn makeup brushes weekly. :) Look, I get it. I forget to do this from time to time too, but it will really help make sure you’re keeping your skin clean and away from harmful acne-causing bacteria.
9. Shower At Night
Wherever you live, pollution is an issues. I live in the city, which is even more polluted. Don’t bring those assholes into bed with you. Showering at night is the best way to climb into your little haven of a bed at night. You can *literally* rest easy knowing none of those free radicals are going to throw a late-night party on your skin while you’re sleeping. Zzzzzs.
10. Don’t Go To Bed With Your Makeup
They always say “don’t get to bed angry”, but going to sleep with your makeup on will definitely make your skin angry. I used to do this alllll the time back in the day. If I had to pick one thing to do for my skin, it would be to make sure my makeup is removed before sleeping. All that makeup is just sitting on your face along with dirt, oil and bacteria clogging your pores while you’re sleeping. Your pillowcase is dirty with the makeup and bacteria from the day waiting for your face to hit it tomorrow night. *GASP*. Just wash your face, okay? If you don’t regularly wash your face before bed at night, do the best you can. Once it becomes a habit, your skin will thank you for it.