We all get blemishes and acne at some point but do we know what is actually good for treating them or what mistakes we’re making?
Here is a run-down of the ways we aggravate acne (stop it!)
YOU SLEEP WITH YOUR MAKEUP ON.
That you can’t wear makeup when you have acne is a myth. Not removing your makeup before bedtime … now that’s a mortal sin!
Makeup left overnight hinders skin renewal and clogs your pores, and when your pores are clogged bacteria can build up and cause inflammation.
Always keep a stash of makeup remover wipes by your bedside table. They’ll come in handy on nights you’re too tired or sleepy to wash your face. But don’t make them your nightly go-to!
YOU’RE USING THE WRONG CLEANSER.
It is recommended that you wash your face twice a day if you have acne-prone skin; anything more than that is overkill. But it’s not just the frequency with which you wash your face you should be mindful about.
According to board-certified dermatologist, Dr. David Bank, it’s important to find a mild cleanser that contains all the acne-fighting ingredients you need.
“Look for ingredients like alpha hydroxy acid in a cleanser. It dissolves clogs in pores without being irritating,” offers Dr. Bank.
“Benzoyl peroxide is also a gold standard ingredient that has been around for a long time. It helps to dry pimples and has anti-bacterial properties, too. If your skin is oilier and you don’t have sensitive skin, try something with salicylic acid to help exfoliate blocked pores. If you’re looking for a natural solution, try tea tree oil, which has natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.”
YOUR SKIN CARE PRODUCTS ARE DOING MORE HARM THAN GOOD.
Certain ingredients in your skin care products—moisturizer, toner and sunscreen—can be irritating your skin and causing you to break out. Mineral oil, petrolatum, lanolin, perfume and artificial colors are the usual offenders, but it’s not just that. Even alcohol can overly dry your skin and cause your skin to overcompensate by producing more sebum.
To be sure, read the labels of your skin and body care products as well as your makeup. Here are some of the keywords you need to look for: “non-comedogenic” (does not clog pores), “oil-free,” “fragrance-free” and “alcohol-free.”
YOU’RE NOT APPLYING YOUR SPOT TREATMENT CORRECTLY
It’s not enough that you know what spot treatment is best for acne. Knowing when to use it, how often to apply and how long to wear it is absolutely just as crucial.
“Benzoyl peroxide, an ingredient commonly found in acne treatments, has a 1 to 3-hour working time, and any cream that comes in contact with it before it has completed its work will likely inhibit the active ingredient from working properly,” explains acne specialist Ashley Wiley. “It is best to wait at least an hour before applying moisturizer and/or sunscreen for best results.”
YOU’RE NOT CLEANING YOUR MAKEUP BRUSHES
Sometimes, it’s not the makeup that’s exacerbating your acne; it’s your bacteria-laden makeup brushes and sponges.
To keep your skin clear, wash your applicators at least once a week with a gentle cleanser designed for that purpose.
YOU’RE SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF.
According to the Dermal Institute, the primary aggravating factor leading to adult acne is chronic stress. “We all know that acute stress can cause a breakout from time to time,” wrote Dr. Diana Howard. “But chronic, continual stress increases hormone levels, which can lead to an increase in oil production.”
While we can’t take the worrying out of our everyday life, you’ll be surprised at how taking a few minutes a day to relax and meditate—even in the comforts of home—can make such a big difference.