There is no shortage of products out there claiming to be able to clear up the skin in a matter of days, but the truth is that achieving clear skin requires all-hands-on-deck levels of effort. On any given day, your face is exposed to dozens of different materials, products, and irritants, all of which have the potential to cause blemishes. Clearing up your skin means taking care of each of these issues on its own terms.
Clearer skin isn’t just a goal; it’s a process. Get started with it today by taking heed of these 8 tips:
1. Use products made of the right materials.
Your skin’s primary point of contact throughout both day and night is the clothing you wear, and when it comes to clear skin, not all clothing is created equal. The most common clothing material — cotton — can cause big problems when it comes to skincare. Cotton is a highly absorbent fabric, drawing water out of the skin and dehydrating it over long periods of contact. Dehydrated skin is more likely to become irritated and develop blemishes thereafter.
Opt for materials that don’t put any additional stress on your skin, such as silk, hemp, or lyocell. Silk is particularly beneficial, as one of the many benefits of silk is its skin rejuvenating properties. Whether it’s your day clothes or your pajamas, your skin needs something gentle and non-irritating to run up against.
If dehydrated skin is a major source of skin blemishes, then your biggest tool in the fight against it should be moisturization. Well-hydrated skin is healthier, more resilient, and less likely to develop breakouts. A thin, daily application of moisturizer is enough to keep your skin healthy — provided you use the right product.
Avoid moisturizers that contain oil, as it can clog pores and lead to acne development. Make sure that your moisturizer is cream or water-based so that none of its ingredients end up doing more harm than good to your skin.
3. Wash regularly.
It may sound obvious, but regular washing is crucial for keeping your skin clear. Over the course of just a single day, particles of dirt, sweat, and even air pollution can collect on the skin’s surface. These particles clog and irritate pores, having the potential to get rid of your clear skin in a matter of hours.
It’s not just a question of washing, though: you need to wash correctly too. While washing in both the morning and evening is ideal, doing so in the evening is more important as detritus collects more heavily on the face during the day than it does at nighttime. People with naturally oily skin should consider washing more frequently, such as after long periods outdoors or after physical activity. A good rule of thumb is that if your face feels dirty, go ahead and give it a rinse.
The next step beyond regular washing of the skin is exfoliation. Clogged pores are the prime suspect in most breakouts on the skin, and regular exfoliation helps prevent clogged pores from ever reaching their full problem potential. Just be sure to do so gently: cleansing and exfoliating the skin too roughly can cause irritation, making the skin more sensitive and susceptible to developing blemishes.
5. Pick gentle skincare products.
After your clothing, your skincare products get the next largest amount of alone time with your skin. You may assume that skincare products are designed not to negatively impact the skin, but the truth is a bit more complicated. While there are non-irritating products out there, you’ll need to put in some extra effort looking for them.
Common ingredients, such as parabens, can cause hormonal fluctuations that incite blemishes to develop. Synthetic fragrances can be extremely irritating for those with sensitive skin, and most mineral oils have pore-clogging properties. Look for irritant-free labels on your products, or cross check ingredient lists to make sure there’s nothing harmful.
6. Get plenty of sleep.
A lack of sleep or even just a few consecutive nights of unrestful sleep is a major risk factor in the formation of acne on the skin. Healthy sleep is key for regulating the body’s hormone levels, and hormonal imbalance can easily lead to flare-ups and breakouts.
Sleep deprivation can also cause the body to increase cortisol production, weakening the immune system and making your skin more susceptible to problems. While the importance of getting a full night’s sleep is a given, equally crucial is making your sleep restful. Be sure you’re sleeping at a comfortable temperature with the right sheets and in the right pajamas — even just a little discomfort can have big downsides.
7. Monitor your diet.
You may not be exactly what you eat, but your diet can easily get reflected in your skin. While everyone has different foods that can impact the health of their skin, dairy products are often the most common culprits in breakouts. Fatty foods can sometimes cause the skin to overproduce oil, clogging pores, and foods that contain high levels of histamines may cause mildly irritating allergic reactions.
The key here is watching your diet: you never know which foods will affect you ahead of time, so try and remember what you ate before each of your breakouts. If you notice a pattern, cut out the problem food.
8. Always wear sunscreen.
Sun exposure is one of the most powerful irritants your skin can be exposed to. Just a few minutes unprotected in the sun can cause irritation, and extended periods outdoors may even cause pigmentation problems on exposed areas of your skin. Wear sunscreen of SPF 30 or above in order to avoid the worst effects of sunlight on the body.
It may sound like a lot of work, but a lifestyle adjusted towards keeping your skin clear is a healthier lifestyle all around. The more you focus on your own wellbeing and using non-harmful products for your body, the healthier you’ll be overall — clear skin is just an added benefit.