If you're someone who consistently has breakouts, you'll do whatever it takes to get the clear skin you deserve. Luckily, you don't have to do anything drastic, as there are little changes you can make that help prevent acne. Pimples arise for a number of reasons, but knowing what habits can reduce your risk of these breakouts can make all the difference in the appearance of your skin.
If you still suffer from acne, don't worry, you're not alone. Between 40 to 55 percent of people age 20-40 are diagnosed with low grade, persistent acne and oily skin, according to The International Dermal Institute. What causes it, however, isn't always so clear.
"We can't put the blame on just one thing when it comes to acne," says Dr. Kally Papantoniou with Advanced Dermatology PC over email. "I like to think of it as being a combination of genetics, hormones, age, medications (such as birth control), diet, and how we are talking care of our skin. Some of these we will have little control over. However, diet and skin care practices can make up for a lot of what causes acne."
It's time to banish those pesky pimples once and for all! Here are 11 small changes you can make that can help prevent acne.
1. Drink Lots Of Water
"Not drinking enough water can lead to dry skin and can worsen acne," says Papantoniou. "This will help improve your skin's hydration and will help cleanse your body and skin." Water can help flush out toxins, reducing inflammation, according to Livestrong.
2. Stop Scrubbing
You might think that washing your face more often would help clear up your skin, but it can actually have the opposite effect. "Keep it simple — wash your face once or twice a day with gentle soap," says Dr. Karen McKoy, dermatologist and MerckManuals.com author, over email. "Using antibacterial or abrasive soaps or alcohol pads won’t provide any added benefit, and they may actually irritate the skin further."
3. Swap 1 Cup Of Coffee For Green Tea
If you're trying to get in that caffeine, try drinking green tea instead of coffee, even if it's only one swap a day. "Green tea contains potent polyphenols that are super antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and improve acne and the overall health of your skin," says Papantoniou.
4. Don't Let Things Touch Your Face
"Keep your hands and phone off your face," says Papantoniou. "The oils and bacteria on our hands and phone screens can clog pores and lead to blackheads and acne flares. Be conscious of this if you find yourself doing it, and clean your phone screen daily."
5. Stop Popping Those Pimples
It might seem tempting in the short-term, but popping your pimples can have negative long-lasting effects. "Squeezing pimples increases inflammation and the depth of injury to the skin, making scarring more likely," says McKoy. "Acne scars can last a lifetime and for some people are cosmetically significant."
6. Cut Down On Dairy
Several studies link dairy intake to acne breakouts, so you might want to cut back on that milk and cheese. "Milk contains proteins, not the lactose that you always hear about, that can cause inflammation in our bodies and trigger acne flares," says Papantoniou.
7. Wipe Off After A Run
"If you are post work-out and you want to prevent a flare up of acne, try keeping a jar of salicylic acid pads in your bag," says Papantoniou. "You can swab this over your breakout- prone areas, even without washing. It can help to unclog your pores of dead skin cells, oils, and bacteria that can build up."
8. Thoroughly Remove All Makeup
You might wash your face at night, but that's not always enough to completely remove makeup. "You may want to try an oil cleanser such as DHC oil cleanser that works to remove your makeup without washing away your skin natural oils," says Papantoniou. "This can help to unclog your pores of acne-causing culprits."
9. Make Changes To Your Makeup
Sure, you may have a great skincare routine, but are you paying attention to the other products you're using, like makeup? "Switch to water-based cosmetics," says McKoy. "Greasy products can clog pores and irritate sensitive skin, worsening your acne."
10. Take Some Vitamins
You should try to get enough nutrients from your daily diet, but if you want an added boost, consider taking some vitamins. "An acne vitamin with zinc or zinc supplement can be helpful as a dietary component to reduce acne flares," says Papantoniou.
11. Get Some Sleep
If there's one thing you can do, it's try to sneak in an extra hour of sleep. One study from Japan found a link between lack of sleep and acne breakouts. Sleep-deprivation increases your stress levels, which can weaken the immune system and diminish the appearance of physical beauty, according to multiple studies.
Avoiding acne can be difficult, but getting into the right habits can help diminish your chances of a breakout.
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