We’ve all dealt with it, or worse, are currently dealing with it. The red blotches. The puffy face. The occasional scarring. And the enormous lack of confidence that comes with it. You already know the topic: acne. Acne and blemishes can be some of the worst parts of growing up, and often times, can bring back the most painful memories when thinking about your teenage years. For some of us (unfortunately), acne continues to be something we deal with even into adulthood. Luckily, having clearer skin, despite what other sources tell you, is completely up to you! Does this mean you must start an expensive, 5-step acne-preventing regiment? No, of course not (though it can definitely help). But what you can do, is make simple lifestyle changes that can promote cleaner and healthier skin, and help prevent, and or clean-up, your acne and blemishes!
The first and easiest step to clearer skin is to get more sleep! How does more sleep lead to clearer skin, you may ask. Here’s why-for every hour of sleep you lose at night, your stress levels increase by 14%! According to dermatologist Sonia Bansal, increases in stress result in the increase of a chemical in the body known as glucocorticoid, which will actually create abnormalities in the skin, and make acne worse! So next time your alarm goes off in the morning, don’t feel too bad about hitting the snooze button..your skin is worth it!
The second step, and hopefully an obvious one, is to improve your diet. Foods that are high in sugar and fat, like many processed foods, can cause your blood sugar to rise rapidly, causing a boost in insulin levels. The rapid increase in insulin in the bloodstream can lead to changes in the body that result in the growth of pore-clogging cells, as well as increased oil production in your body’s oil glands. This creates a deadly combination for acne. Additionally, increasing water intake will be very beneficial, as this will hydrate your body, and thus your skin, decreasing both dryness in the face, and the amount of oil your oil glands in your face produces. So if you suffer from acne, reduce your consumption of processed foods, eat your vegetables, and drink more water!
The Third step-definitely a surprising one- is to clean your cell-phone. Multiple studies have revealed that cell-phones are absolutely loaded with both bacteria and oils, all of which are terrible for your skin. After holding your phone throughout the day, when you touch your face, you transfer all of the oils and bacteria collected from your phone onto your face! Gross! Everyday, make sure to thoroughly clean your phone with antibacterial wipes or a little hand sanitizer. Pro-tip: get into the habit of not touching your face throughout the day, this will reduce the transfer of bacteria and oils that you collect on your hands on a daily basis onto your face.
The next lifestyle change to help improve your skin as well as your health in general is to be active on a daily basis! Exercise helps reduce stress, circulate blood around the body, and send more oxygen your skin cells, all of which help reduce breakouts, and promote healthier and more vibrant skin. Most people commonly avoid activity when experiencing breakouts in fear that sweat will worsen their acne. However, a simple shower after your workout will clean away any sweat that could potentially cause or worsen acne breakouts. So don’t be afraid to be active!
The fifth step to getting clearer skin is avoiding oily hair products. The oil that is in the product and then applied to your hair can brush up against your forehead, transferring those oils to your skin. Throughout the day, your pores will become clogged, which often results in breakouts on the forehead. Don’t let yourself fall into this common trap! Use less product in your hair as well as products that contain less oil and other skin-damaging chemicals.
Finally, and probably the most important step, is developing a simple skin-care routine. Whether this is simply washing your face with a cloth and some water, or using a multiple step, skin-care system, develop a habit to clean your face daily: once in the morning to help promote healthy, vibrant skin, and once at night (usually before bed) to clean your face of oils and bacteria that can clog pores and cause breakouts.