Zits have a habit of popping up at the exact worst time. Usually, they’re just in time for big events where you know your picture will be taken. For most adults, though, acne is little more than a sometimes-annoyance.
For others, acne is a chronic condition that can be hard to get the better of. If your skin is particularly sensitive to acne, you know how frustrating it can be. Don’t give up hope, though, because there are things you can do to alleviate it.
Many of the best ways to treat acne involve some sort of routine. A routine is something that you repeat regularly, like brushing your teeth before bed or walking your dog. For most people, acne-prone or not, healthy skin needs some kind of routine, even if it’s just showering regularly.
Because your skin is more sensitive, yours will need a little bit of extra attention. Put in the work, though, and you increase the chance your skin will finally be clear and glowing. Read on to learn about a few effective skincare routines you can adopt to help your acne-prone skin.
Incorporate Medical Solutions
Medication is one of the most effective acne treatments you can quickly incorporate into your routine. It makes a huge difference for millions of people, so it’s worth trying if you haven’t already. And if you have, give it some further experimentation.
Some of the most common acne medications include active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and retinoids. Benzoyl peroxide kills acne-causing bacteria, reduces inflammation, and unclogs pores. Salicylic acid exfoliates your skin by removing dead cells and unclogging pores. Retinoids promote cell turnover and regeneration. Test different medications and maybe combinations to see which reacts best with your skin.
If you suffer from highly chronic or painful acne, consider stronger solutions. Dermatologists can administer corticosteroid injections to expedite the healing of painful cysts. Topical and oral acne treatment antibiotics like clindamycin address moderate to severe acne. However, they also attack your body’s helpful bacteria, so they’re best supplemented with probiotics. There are many different kinds of prescription treatments out there, and one or more may be what changes your acne forever.
Cleanse, Exfoliate, and Moisturize
Perhaps your acne isn’t chronic or prevalent enough to warrant medical treatments. Instead, you’re looking for a more lightweight routine to adopt. Well, the good news is that a basic skincare routine can address acne. Acne is caused by everything from clogged pores to hormonal imbalances. So if yours is a result of a topical issue, you’ll know fairly quickly once you start cleaning your skin more often.
Adopting a basic skincare routine is actually quite simple. You can start one today by using three products: a cleanser, a toner, and a moisturizer. Start your morning after showering with a gentle, non-comedogenic face wash. This will remove any impurities and excess oil from your skin, unclogging your pores.
Follow up with a toner. A toner will remove any leftover dirt and rebalance your skin’s natural pH level, which cleansers can upset. Finally, apply a moisturizer. If you can, find one with SPF 30 or more to rehydrate your skin and protect it from ultraviolet rays. These three products serve as the foundation of a skincare routine, which will likely show results within a week.
Clean Your Sheets, Especially Your Pillows
When was the last time you changed your bedsheets? If you don’t know the answer, then go do it right now. Unwashed bedsheets are breeding grounds for bacteria. And sleeping in them is basically rolling out the red carpet for acne.
Most articles you’ll read will recommend that you change your bedsheets at least once a week. However, you’ll want to do so more often to help your acne-prone skin, especially your pillowcase. Facial skin tends to be more sensitive than the skin on the rest of your body. So be kind to your face and sleep with a clean case. Change your sheets at least twice a week if not more and see how your skin reacts.
Changing your sheets more often doesn’t mean you need to do laundry more often. Keep multiple sets of sheets on hand to make life easier for yourself. With two to four sets, you’ll limit the amount of times you need to do laundry each week. Admittedly, developing this routine will take a considerable amount of up-front effort. But your skin, and your face, will thank you for it.
Hands Off, Friend
At their core, all skincare routines involve developing some kind of habit. The aforementioned routines of taking your medication every day, applying topical products, or cleaning your sheets all involve habitual actions. Incorporating new, healthy habits can do wonders for your skin. But to get the most mileage out of them, you’ll want to break old, unhelpful ones.
Stop touching your face. Yes, you, reading these words — stop touching your face right now. So many people have a nearly unconscious habit of touching their faces when reading, thinking, or otherwise zoning out.
While seemingly innocuous, touching your face gives teeming hordes of bacteria a free ride straight to your pores. Think about all the door handles, money, and other unwashed objects you touch out in the world. Now think about all the other people who have touched those very same objects before you. Would you want them to wipe their hands on your skin? Didn’t think so.
Discipline Is Freedom
When it comes to developing any kind of routine, persistence is key. The more disciplined you are about any new habit, the more likely it is to stick. Developing a new habit can take lots of mental energy at first. But it tends to get easier as time goes on.
In your case, keep the goal of improved skin in mind to maintain motivation as the days and weeks go by. There will likely be times when you question whether what you’re doing is working or not. In general, stick with a new habit for at least two to four weeks to see its results more clearly. If something isn’t working, change direction. If it is, press onward.