You thought you left your teens behind you years ago. Though potentially a little scathed by the mean girls in the lunch line, you were ultimately one of the lucky ones: You escaped the wrath of teenage acne … only to suddenly be dealing with it as an adult instead. So now, here you are, dealing with breakouts for the first time and in desperate need of acne advice. Even those of us who have had acne on and off since puberty can sometimes use a refresher on acne prevention. So we’ve rounded up our best tips to point you in the right direction.
Breakout Basic #1: Beautiful From the Inside Out
We won’t go so far as to tell you that you are what you eat, but the way you treat your body is incredibly important in keeping your skin in top shape — especially when it comes to preventing breakouts. Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mt. Sinai Hospital, cites foods high in sugar and starch as acne-causing culprits. Zeichner recommends snacking on yogurt instead, which has probiotics that help reduce skin inflammation and vitamin A that helps prevent clogged pores. Stress can also play a role in worsening acne, so incorporate relaxation practices like mindful breathing into your everyday routine. It’ll make you look and feel better.
Breakout Basic #2: The Right Skin Care
If you’ve never had acne before, you probably haven’t adjusted your skin care routine accordingly. Unfortunately, now your skin care regimen is more important than ever. If you’re having really bad breakouts, it’s best to consult a dermatologist. But if you’re just dealing with the occasional bout, try using an over-the-counter product that has glycolic or salicylic acid. We love Kiehl’s Acne Blemish Control Daily Skin-Clearing Treatment, which includes salicylic acid and lipo hydroxyl acids. Also, keep in mind that breakout prevention doesn’t always mean less moisture — moisturizer is still necessary, even if you’re a little oily. You just need to find the one that’s right for you.
Breakout Basic #3: While You Were Sleeping
Don’t let your beauty sleep make you less beautiful. Wash your face properly before your head hits that pillow. Oh, and speaking of pillows, make sure you’re hitting the hay with a clean pillowcase (and sheets, preferably). Make the weekly washing of your sheets a habit and your skin will thank you for it.
Breakout Basic #4: Hands Off
There’s a reason the saying “face palm” has come into existence. Your intern asked you for instructions on how to open a Word document. Your boss scolded you for not getting your work done on time, when really it was just lost in her inbox. You get it — you’re probably already bringing your hands to your face as you read this. Well, don’t! Your hands are breeding grounds for bacteria, which can contribute to breakouts.
Breakout Basic #5: Face-Framing Fringe
There are two ways your hair can lead to breakouts: products and contact. If you’re using a heavy hair product that gets near your face, it may be better to switch to a lighter one to see if it helps reduce acne. If you’re getting breakouts near your hairline, say if you have bangs or a short bob that touches your face, it might be time to consider a new style. Even a change as simple as wearing a headband during the day may result in fewer breakouts.
What’s your worst breakout story? Tell us in the comments below!