Do you remember the day the first pimple broke out on your skin? You had no idea then what you were in for. Your skin had always been smooth, clear, and manageable: you’d never needed to spend more than a moment’s thought on your face. And then, there was that one red spot. Soon all hell broke lose—and under it all you were scarcely recognizable. If you’re like most of us, you seemed fated to spend years with this thing. It lasts a whole lot longer than chickenpox, and there’s no quick fix. Though the stereotype paints it as a teenage problem, it often lasts far into the adult years. But whether you’re genetically predisposed toward acne or one of the lucky few who get away with no more than a few red zits, a good skincare routine can make a night and day difference. Here are our top ten tips for getting rid of acne or bringing your breakout under control.
Don’t Touch Your Face
Your hands go everywhere, so when you bring them up to your face you’re bringing a host of aggravating bacteria right where it can do the most harm. Keep your hands away from your face as much as possible. Even when they’re clean, you don’t really want them up there: rubbing, scratching, and popping pimples only make them worse.
Say No to Caffeine
If your skin is prone to breakouts indulging too often in Americanos and Expressos may not be the best thing for you—and you’d better lay off on the energy drinks as well. Caffeine increases your stress hormone levels—cortisol, in particular. This may make you more alert and awake, but it also increases the amount of oil secreted by your sebaceous glands.
Watch Your Sunscreen
Protecting your skin is important, but sunscreen will aggravate acne if you aren’t careful. Choose non-comedogenic, oil-free formulas to ensure your sunscreen doesn’t clog up your pores.
Skip the Sugar
Any food which has the potential to spike your insulin and give you a sugar high can also trigger an acne breakout, so cut down on soft drinks, candy, and dessert. Alcohol, incidentally, can also throw off your blood sugar, which is why you may notice a nasty breakout after a night out.
Keep Skincare Simple
Expensive skincare toners, creams, and ointments are tempting when you’re fighting an especially daunting round of acne, but many of them may do more harm than good. Avoid synthetic fragrances and alcohol, an ingredient found in many toners. These substances tend to dry out and irritate the skin, making acne works. Instead, stick with a high quality product you can count on: our men’s standard skincare set, for example.
Create an Acne-Friendly Shave Routine
Wash your face with warm water (and, perhaps, a little of our facial cleaner) before shaving. This eliminates oils, gunk, and bacteria and gives you a clean slate on which to work. Use fresh razors whenever possible, and don’t be heavy handed: gentle strokes, always with the grain, will minimize aggravation.
Wash Your Pillowcases
You spend the entire night with your head pressed against this square of cloth, so make sure it is clean—and stays clean. Change your pillowcase once every week or ten days; more if your skin is especially oily or if you use acne medication before bed.
Go Easy on the Exfoliators.
There’s nothing wrong with a good scrubbing ever now and again, but too much exfoliation can easily become to much of a good thing, and cause far more harm than good. Once a week is ideal, but more than that will only leave you with raw skin.
Wash Your Face.
This one could have been first, but maybe we’re saving the best till last. Giving your face a thorough wash twice a day may be the most important step you can take toward controlling acne. A gentle cleanser, like the Honesty Face Cleanser included in our face care subscription for men, is ideal. Consistency is key: sticking with a routine gives your skin a chance to regulate oil production appropriately. This is one more area where you don’t want to overdo it: anymore than twice a day and you’re only aggravating the problem.
Excess oils on your face may be causing your breakout, but the best way to combat them is with more moisture, not less. Drying out your skin causes it to respond by producing excess oil, which will clog your pores and cause breakouts. Use a high quality moisturizer—like our Integrity Face Moisturizer—every time you wash. The battle with acne may be a battle you’ll be fighting for years to come, but these ten tips should put you well on the way to controlling outbreaks. Remember, nothing delivers instant results and consistency is where you win big, so put those healthy routines in place and stick to them.