How to get rid of acne

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If you’re struggling with how to get rid of acne, you’re in the right place. I’ve struggled with acne and scarring since I was a teenager and at 26 years old, the fight is still going strong. I definitely don’t have as much acne as I did when I was younger, but spots pop up every couple of weeks and they’re just as annoying as they’ve always been. Adult acne sucks, but there there are a few things you can do to minimize it and keep your skin clear. I’ve always tried to be conscious of the basics like drinking more water, not touching my face, and cleaning my makeup brushes, but there are other things that I never thought to do that really make a difference in my skin. Keep reading for more!

1. Change Your Pillow Case Once a Week

This one might be a no-brainer, but if you haven’t been changing your pillowcase at least once a week, you’ll want to start. Your pillowcase can harbor dead skin cells and bacteria that could be contributing to clogged pores. If you don’t already do it, make a habit out of changing your pillow case and bedding regularly. 

If the thought of all that gunk in your pillowcase is grossing you out, you should invest in an antimicrobial pillowcase. This one from Silvon is hypoallergenic and made with superfine silver coated threads that are supposed to eliminate acne-causing bacteria. 

You can have the best skincare routine and the cleanest makeup brushes, but if you’re sleeping on a dirty pillowcase, you’re going to struggle A LOT harder to get rid of acne. Consistently washing your pillowcase and investing in an anti-microbial pillowcase could be a massive acne game-changer for you.

2. Wash Your Makeup Brushes and Sponges

Washing your makeup brushes and sponges after every use might seem like a time suck, but the difference it makes not only in your skin, but how your makeup applies is huge. Even if you wash your brushes once a week, you’re still using “dirty” brushes for the majority of the week and they only get dirtier as the week progresses. Dirty brushes harbor old makeup, bacteria, and other pore-clogging crap, so if you’re committed to clearing up your acne, clean your brushes!

I always try to keep a few brush kits handy to easily rotate through during the week to minimize the amount of times I wash my brushes. I always wash my brushes with Dawn dish soap to cut through any oils and built up product, and I lay them flat to dry on the radiator at night. In the morning, I have squeaky clean brushes to use! 

3. Wipe Down Your Phone With an Antibacterial Wipe

Your phone goes EVERYWHERE with you and you probably reach for it more often than not without thinking about what’s on your hands. You may wash your hands regularly, but when was the last time you sanitized your phone? If you have acne on your cheeks, a dirty phone might be a contributing factor. I know that I have more acne typically on my right side of my face than on my left and I can guarantee that it’s partly because that’s the side I hold my phone up to and lean against my ear/ face while multitasking. Moral of the story – wipe down your phone to get rid of acne!

4. Don't Touch Your Face

This one is a tough one and admittedly one that I struggle with a ton. I’m always touching my face, but sometimes it’s a subconscious thing that I don’t always realize I’m doing. I’ve been a lot more cognizant of not touching my face or picking at spots since I started my new skincare routine, but it’s been a challenge. Recently, I’ve been trying to wear makeup every day because when I don’t want to mess up my makeup, I don’t touch my face. You can also try wearing a bracelet that jingles, so when you lift your hand to touch your face you’ll remember not to. I personally don’t do that because I’m on the computer all day so bracelets always scrape against the table or keyboard. 

5. Keep Your Skin Moisturized

While acne is usually the result of clogged pores from overproduction of oil, don’t deprive your skin of all moisture to dry them out. Spot treat problem areas and always use a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. I personally love the Neutrogena Hydro Boost water gel and gel cream moisturizers. They feature the super hydrating substance, hyaluronic acid, as their main ingredient and they always leave my skin feeling soft and moisturized.

Keep in mind that creams and lotions applied topically can only penetrate so deep into the skin, leaving the deeper layers dehydrated if you don’t drink enough water. Be sure to get all your water in during the day by carrying a water bottle. I really like this one from HydraPeak because it has a screw top lid that’s attached to the cap so it’s a little more hygienic than the typical flip top spout.

Since we’re on the topic of keeping skin hydrated, remember that hot water pulls moisture from your skin, so taking hot showers in the winter may be doing more harm than good. Switch to warm water instead of hot and try to keep showers to no more than 10-15 minutes.

6. Pat Your Face Dry, Don't Rub!

When you hop out of the shower or finish washing your face, resist the urge to rub your face with a washcloth. The skin on your face is sensitive and although washcloths can feel relatively soft, the threads are actually really harsh on the skin. They’re fine to dry your face with, but use a soft patting motion to soak up any excess water. Please DO NOT attempt to exfoliate your skin with a washcloth. You’ll risk irritating your skin and possibly causing more breakouts by pushing bacteria and dead skin cells further into the skin. Exfoliation is super important, but has to be done correctly. See #7 for how to do it the right way!

7. Exfoliate Your Skin

Exfoliation is absolutely key for maintaining smooth and bright skin, but especially so for acne-prone skin. Dead skin cells can get trapped in pores causing acne, so be sure to exfoliate two to three times per week. You can use a physical exfoliator that contains particles that actually slough off dead skin cells or you can use a chemical exfoliator that promotes cellular turnover. Both methods are great, but chemical exfoliation is typically gentler on the skin because physical exfoliators can sometimes contain particles that are too big and cause micro-tears in the skin. Look at the ingredients of your exfoliator and be sure to stay away from nut shells and fruit pits, which are typically larger exfoliants. Whichever exfoliation method you choose to use, be gentle and don’t over-do it!

8. Invest in the Right Skincare

A holistic and effective skincare routine is so important to get rid of acne, slow down the signs of aging, and preserve the health of your skin. You don’t need to use expensive products or follow a lengthy process. The drugstore is full of great skincare products that will help you clear your acne and won’t break the bank. If you struggle with severe acne or cystic breakouts, it might be worth consulting a dermatologist to get something stronger than what drugstores can provide. Everyone’s skincare needs are different, so do some research and find what works for you. 

I was struggling hard with patches of acne on my cheeks and couldn’t seem to get a good handle on the situation no matter what I did. My skincare routine used to only consist of cleanser and a moisturizer, but after doing some research and carefully selecting and testing out products, I found a combination that works amazingly for my sensitive combination skin.

9. Look for water-based and non-comedogenic makeup and skincare

When you have acne-prone skin, you might be more susceptible to irritation and acne flare-up’s from oil-based formulas and harsh ingredients. Try to look for products that say they’re non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog your pores. Products that are water-based or list water first on the ingredient list are also a great option for sensitive and acne-prone skin. Stay away from products that contain alcohol or fragrances since they can dry you out and irritate sensitive skin. If you struggle with severe acne or cystic breakouts, it might be worth consulting a dermatologist to get something stronger than what drugstores can provide. Always read the ingredients list on the package and learn what works well for your skin. 

10. Give Your Skin a Break

As someone who suffers from acne and sensitive skin, I know how challenging it can be to go without makeup when your skin doesn’t look its best. I’m not self-conscious about my acne, but I always prefer how I look with just a little bit of makeup on. Unfortunately sometimes what your skin really needs is a break. Simply letting your skin breathe and heal is sometimes the best thing you can do for it. If you can’t bear to go without makeup during the week,  take it off immediately when you get home and skip it on the weekend. I notice that my pores are less clogged and my skin is overall brighter and more refreshed when I focus solely on skincare and give my skin a break from makeup. If you’re really serious about getting rid of acne,  take the time to let your skin heal and rebuild.

There you have it! My top 10 tips to get rid of acne. I hope this post was helpful and you can use some of my tips to get rid of acne and improve the health of your skin. Next month I’ll be sharing my revamped skincare routine and product recommendations for my fellow combination/ acne-prone/ sensitive skin-types out there. I’m testing a few new products, so I’m super excited to share with you how they work with my skin.

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Have a beautiful day!

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