9 Tips to Get Clear Skin
If you are prone to acne breakouts, you’ve probably scoured the internet for tips on how to clear your skin, which means you’re probably already familiar with some of our own favorite suggestions on the subject. But we would be remiss if we didn’t share our top tips to get clear skin that we truly stand by and recommend to our guests, every day.
1. Learn Stress Management
With stress being a major player in the battle to control acne, it should be no surprise that our first piece of advice is to reduce your stress.
Make time for hobbies, positive friends, and personal interests. Get plenty of good quality sleep and make it a priority to schedule downtime for relaxing activities like yoga, meditation, and leisurely walks. Disconnect from your electronics occasionally. SAY NO to activities that put too much pressure on you.
2. Eat Mindfully
You hear all the time that certain foods have inflammatory effects on the body, including skin. Chronic, low-grade inflammation can result in a state of heightened reactivity, which is already a problem for acne-prone individuals.
Avoiding foods that are well known to be pro-inflammatory (like highly processed, overly greasy, or super sweet foods) may have a beneficial effect on the body’s overall inflammation markers, as well as the skin’s reactivity levels.
Or take it further and follow an anti-inflammatory diet. In a nutshell, anti-inflammatory foods are those that any mainstream nutrition expert would encourage you to eat. Eat mostly whole, unprocessed, nutrient rich foods. These include lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant-based proteins (like beans and nuts), fatty fish, and fresh herbs and spices. Drink plenty of water for general good health. Avoid excess salt, sugar, and low-quality oils. Watch for your own particular reactions to foods like dairy, bread, spicy foods, even tomatoes, which many acne-prone individuals find problematic.
3. Consider Supplements
We’re big fans of zinc and omega 3 oils. Omega 3 oils have anti-inflammatory properties, and for acne sufferers they may help to shorten the intensity of breakouts.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral for humans, and there is evidence that it acts in a similar way to antibiotics in improving the condition of inflamed acne. (We advise short-term use of low-dose zinc as support during the clearing process, and recommend a supplement that also includes a bit of copper, as copper can be depleted by zinc supplements. And as with any supplements, check with your healthcare provider to ensure appropriateness with your current care regimen.)
4. Pay Attention to Your Environment
Adjust your daily routine according to climate and seasonal changes in order to minimize the effects that weather and the environment can have on your skin. The effects of environmental pollution, dry indoor forced heat, and air conditioning can be mitigated with increased antioxidant support products, such as vitamin C serums. During the summer, switch cleansers and lighten up on your moisturizer during times of increased sebum production; in the winter, choose gentler products and barrier-protecting hydrators for their non-comedogenic properties. Sunscreen should be worn daily to minimize risk of scarring. (Bonus: we prefer physical sunscreens like zinc oxide, which also has anti-inflammatory effects that may be beneficial to acne.)
5. Listen to Your Body
Hormones are tricky, there’s no denying that. Acne-prone individuals (both men and women), should pay particular attention to their hormonal cycles in order to detect patterns and imbalances. Working with a naturopath or functional medicine practitioner is likely to result in a greater understanding of your body’s strengths and deficiencies. This also circles back to diet and investigation into hormone-disrupting food like industrial-raised meat and produce, sugar, and dairy. (Your dermatologist may deny that dairy has anything to do with your acne, but try going without for a month and see what happens.)
6. More on Hormones
Specifically, more on hormones for women: menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and birth control pills can all influence acne in women. Even normal menstrual cycles include mid-cycle surges of androgen hormones that can cause ‘hormonal breakouts’. The best strategy for premenstrual acne is stepping up a home care routine about mid-cycle or timing monthly facials to coincide with week 2-3 of your period. Once a hormonal breakout occurs, treating the individual blemishes topically with strong anti-inflammatory support like mandelic acid serums and cold compresses can help them heal faster.
7. Stop Smoking
This includes both marijuana and tobacco. Clinical evidence shows a direct correlation between smoking habits and acne, especially the non-inflammatory, closed comedone type, which is considered by most estheticians to be the most challenging to resolve.
8. Simplify Your Laundry
Use fragrance-free detergents to reduce exposure to potentially irritating chemicals. Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets, especially on pillowcases, because they leave a waxy residue that can clog pores on acne-prone individuals. (Speaking of pillowcases, do you know the trick of layering multiple cases onto your pillow at once, flipping your pillow every night, and stripping off one of the cases after every second night? This way you’re always laying on a clean surface.)
9. Stop Picking!
Treat emerging pimples and pustules with ice for a few minutes twice a day. Regular attention by an esthetician is helpful, even advisable. Seek professional facials to perform expert extractions. Not only will the extraction technique be superior to that which you can do yourself, but treatment of the area post-extraction will help minimize any lingering issues. Estheticians can also guide and monitor your home care routine, making helpful, personalized adjustments for the best results.
- Healthline.com – 6 Foods that Cause Inflammation
- Capitanio B, Sinagra JL, Ottaviani M, Bordignon V, Amantea A, Picardo M. Acne and smoking. Dermato-endocrinology. 2009;1(3):129-135.
Disclaimer: The information we provide on this site is for general use as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or medical treatment purposes. Be sure to talk to a healthcare professional before making medical decisions.