If faithfully caring for your skin has still left you battling breakouts and blemishes, the fight may seem utterly hopeless. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, “80 percent of people between ages 11 and 30 have acne outbreaks at some point.” Adult onset acne can be equally frustrating, but good intentions and skin care habits may not always be enough. In fact, certain lifestyle habits may be undermining your results. Excessive cleansing and avoiding moisturizer can be part of the problem, but chances are you’re also doing a few other things that your skin isn’t exactly thrilled with. The following changes may be just what you need.
#1 Develop a Hands-Off Approach
Unless you live in a bubble, you spend your day touching all kinds of surfaces. From the vending machine at work, to the ATM, to picking up after your kids, your hands are constantly coming into contact with potential acne triggers. While washing your hands frequently will make a big difference, you also need to get out of the habit of touching your face. This is easier said than done, but a simple Post-it note reminder on the fridge or computer screen may do the trick.
#2 De-Germ Whenever Possible
If you stroll blissfully through life without giving germs a second thought, this tidbit will probably be unsettling. Transferring germs from other surfaces to your face isn’t that difficult when you understand some of the germiest items you encounter daily. In a research study conducted by the University of Arizona, bacteria and E. coli were found more frequently on the handles of shopping carts than on diaper changing tables in public restrooms. If that doesn’t give you pause, consider how many people touch doorknobs, elevator buttons, and handrails when in public. Until you’ve mastered the hands-off approach, carry your own antibacterial wipes in your pocket or purse. They help knock down potential contaminants in between cleansing.
#3 Clean Your Cellphone
If you talk on the phone while wearing makeup, you’ve probably noticed that it transfers to the keys and screen. Now, take that up a notch and consider how many times you swipe left or right on your cell phone and then hold it up to your ear to talk. Between the gunk on your phone, your own natural oils, and the heat emitted from the phone’s battery, it’s no wonder clogged pores become a problem. Get in the habit of wiping your phone down with the microfiber cloth that came with it. To sanitize the screen’s surface, use disinfecting wipes or a mixture of water and isopropyl alcohol–just remember to apply it with a microfiber cloth to prevent damaging it.
#4 Ditch the Dingy Pillowcase
Speaking of lifestyle habits, how often do you wash your sheets, especially your pillowcases? Most people get around to this cumbersome task once a month, but you may want to rethink that approach. Unless you sleep on your back 100 percent of the time, your pillow probably sees its fair share of face time. Add in body temperature fluctuations, along with friction from rolling from side to side, and your pillowcase has more than a few dead skin cells on it. Luckily, a little soap and hot water can remedy the problem. Get in the habit of changing your sheets every other week (or more often if you have night sweats), and you’ll keep your pillowcase from becoming caked with oils, moisturizer, and other potentially skin-clogging junk.
#5 Hydrate Your Skin
When your skin is breaking out, it may be tempting to scrub your face with a drying soap multiple times a day. Unfortunately, acneic skin is often naturally oily, so using bar soap, astringent toners, and drying blemish treatments can irritate your face even more. By minimizing the skin’s moisture content, it signals the body to produce more sebum, which can result in clogs and even more blemishes. Unless you work or live in a highly polluted area, your skin simply needs a balanced cleanser and a non-comedogenic moisturizer to meet its most basic needs. Medical grade cleanser with exfoliating acids (i.e., AHA and BHA) will fight further clogs while keeping your skin healthy and clean.
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There are so many potential acne triggers that it’s impossible to list them all here, but we hope these five tips will help get you started on the road to clearer skin. Revamping your skin care routine may make a difference, so take our simple quiz to find medical grade products that suit your needs. And, as always, reach out to us if you need guidance. We’re here to help.
To better skin days,
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