When you have a problem with your skin, be it uncontrollable acne or excessive dryness, it's often hard not to feel totally self-conscious. Taking drastic measures to treat chronic skincare issues becomes tempting, but those treatments can sometimes cause even more damage. In my experience, some of the most effective skincare treatments are also the most simple, and though it sounds too good to be true, there are quite a lot of tiny changes you can make to your routine that can make a huge difference to your skin.
Topical treatments from the pharmacy can certainly help when dealing with zits on your forehead or dry skin on your elbows, but the cause of your concerns might stem from environmental factors. Making small adjustments to your daily routine can address these external stresses that are having an impact on your skin.
Remember that treating any skin issue takes time, and none of these tips are foolproof cures on their own. Plus, as with all skin-related questions and concerns, it can often be best to consult a dermatologist who can help customize a treatment plan specifically for you, especially if your problems are chronic. But if you feel like you've tried everything the drugstore has to offer, making any one of these 11 tiny changes to your everyday routine might have a hugely positive effect on your skin.
1. Use Clean Towels
The last thing you want to do after you wash and cleanse your face is get it dirty again, and using a dirty towel to dry could be doing just that. According to Seventeen, dirty towels can harbor bacteria and germs that can make your skin break out, so using a clean towel each time you dry your face might help prevent that spread.
2. Switch Out Your Pillowcase
In much the same way that towels can harbor and spread bacteria, pillowcases can also be undercover agents in the war against your skin. Washing your pillowcase at least once a week can prevent dryness, wrinkles, and breakouts. There's also been some compelling evidence that sleeping on a silk pillowcase can help keep skin moisturized and prevent pimples.
3. Find A Non-Greasy Sunscreen
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum SPF 70, $14, amazon.com
UV rays can do terrible things to your skin, like create sun spots or encourage wrinkles. So it's important to apply sunscreen every morning to prevent sun damage, even if the weather looks gray. You're probably less likely to put on sunblock if it's going to make you break out, though, so find one that's moisturizing without leaving your skin greasy.
4. Make Your Kissing Partner Shave
As dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse explained in an interview with Bustle, one weird reason you might be breaking out or getting irritated skin is because you're regularly making out with someone with a beard. "The prickly hairs in your partner's beard can absolutely cause a pink irritated rash on your lower face," she said. So if you're seeing those symptoms, it might be time to ask your partner to shave, or at least trim.
5. Clean Your Beauty Blender
Beautyblender Solid Blendercleanser, $16, amazon.com
Beautyblender, $22, amazon.com
Makeup brushes and sponges are another hotbed for bacteria and even dead skin cells, so reusing dirty beauty tools is an easy way to irritate your skin. Though it can definitely be an annoying process, you need to wash your makeup brushes and clean your beauty blender to prevent pimples; and really, the extra time spent cleaning will be worth the zit-free skin.
6. Drink More Water
Ello Syndicate BPA-Free Glass Water Bottle with Flip Lid in Pink, $12.80, amazon.com
Dehydration has been linked to dry skin and sunken eyes, according to the Mayo Clinic, and though drinking more water isn't going to cure your acne forever, staying hydrated is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Keeping yourself healthy will, in turn, promote healthy and happy skin; and really, staying hydrated doesn't have to be a huge challenge.
There are plenty of easy ways to drink more water throughout the day, like swapping out your morning juice for a glass of water with a lemon or your lunchtime soda for a bottle of H2O. Carrying around your own reusable bottle will also encourage you to drink more water, since it'll always be readily available.
7. Wash Your Hands
If keeping your skin clear is all about preventing the spread of bacteria, make sure you wash your hands before applying anything to your face so that you don't pass along the germs or any other buildup from your hands to your cheeks.
8. Change Your Laundry Detergent
If you've been suffering from dry skin, the solution might be as simple as trying a new brand of laundry detergent to clean your clothes. The American Academy Of Dermatology recommends using laundry detergents marked "hypoallergenic" in order to relieve dry skin and prevent raw skin from getting further irritated. The same list also favors unscented soaps, which are generally safer for sensitive skin.
9. Rub Down Your iPhone
Anchors Aweigh Pocket Toddy in Blue, $32, amazon.com
Another potential, and entirely sneaky, culprit for causing skin irritation is the grease and oil that can build up on your phone's screen. And though it might be tempting to start taking antibacterial wipes to your iPhone, it's unnecessary. In fact, Apple has some pretty specific instructions on how to clean your iPhone, and all you need to prevent this problem is to wipe down the screen with a slightly damp, soft, lint-free cloth before holding it up to your face.
10. Take A Cold Shower
If you tend to suffer from dry skin, try a cold, or at least lukewarm, shower. According to the Mayo Clinic, taking a long, hot showers or bath can irritate skin and cause unnecessary dryness.
11. Keep Your Hands Off
The simplest thing you can do to make a huge difference to your skin is to stop touching your face unnecessarily. Don't pick at zits or blemishes. Don't rest your chin on your hand while you're watching Netflix on your laptop. Keeping your hands off your face, and making sure your hands are clean if you do have to touch your face, is perhaps one of the easiest ways to keep your skin clear and calm.
Dealing with acne and skin problems can be daunting, but with some time, taking these tiny steps can make a huge difference. Just because they're simple doesn't mean they should be overlooked.
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