Following 10 years of suffering with persistent acne, I became very obsessive when it came to caring for my skin on a daily basis.
I believed that the best approach was to step in and out of the shower repeatedly throughout the day, scrubbing my face clean and plastering on benzoyl peroxide or retinoid creams morning and night. However, after a long period of time following this exhaustive and desperate anti acne routine, I finally made a breakthrough.
I realised that when it comes to acne prone skin - less is more.
Thankfully, I have experienced the positive results to prove it, which has inspired me to share this acne routine with you, so that you don’t have to learn the hard way like I did. If you are familiar with our Natural Dermatology Regimen and have read the other factors that make up our Lifestyle, you will be aware that these are:
- Eat Clean
- Stress Less
- Relax More
- Sleep Well
Assume that you have all these bases covered; this page is more concerned with the small skincare habits that you can incorporate into your acne routine today to have a positive effect on your skin tomorrow.
1. Only shower when you have to and do so with lukewarm water.
Firstly, ensure the water temperature is lukewarm; if the water is too hot, it dries out the skin by removing all the natural oils on its surface. This results in the skin needing to generate more oil to compensate for the dryness, which can trigger acne breakouts as the hot water causes an oil imbalance in the skin. Try not to develop the habit (like me) of showering too excessively and thinking your skin needs to be kept ‘clean’.
Repeated showers will remove moisture and oil from the skin. One of many acne myths is that acne is caused by poor hygiene. In fact, facial blemishes have nothing to do with the skin being dirty. Obviously if you have been sweating through exercise or you have been in a heavily polluted environment, I would always recommend taking a shower. Remember the water temperature - lukewarm, not piping hot!
2. Wash immediately after exercise.
Exercise inevitably results in sweat as during exercise your pores open to excrete sweat. I find if I do not wash straight after exercise, my skin is angrier the next day. Sweating is actually good for the skin; it helps your pores to open up and excrete dirt, bacteria and other residue to the skin’s surface. I recommend that you wash immediately after exercise to clear your skin of all the dirt, excess oil etc and prevent it from building up and sinking back into the skin through open pores.
3. Cleanse and moisturise after showering.
Showering in warm water opens pores. This is a good time to cleanse, as your skin is open and receptive. Tone your skin after cleansing to close your pores and use a moisturiser immediately to lock in the moisture.
4. Never pick, squeeze or scratch your acne lesions.
As tempting as it is to pop that whitehead, it is important you resist. Popping may provide a short-term solution but it is likely to push bacteria and puss deeper into the epidermal layer, which causes two problems:
- It spreads bacteria, which triggers further outbreaks in the same area.
- It damages the skin and causes scarring.
This is a big no, no. Especially if you have dirty hands as you are effectively opening a wound and exposing the skin. Always avoid touching your face and if it really becomes necessary to do so, ensure you do so with clean hands.
5. Avoid excess scrubbing.
This will not make your acne go away. Similarly to taking too many showers, your skin may feel clean for a short time, but it removes all the natural oils from the surface, causing the sebaceous glands to excrete more oil (sebum) to restore the balance. Furthermore you should not be too abrasive with your skin. It is ok to exfoliate once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells and encourage the growth of new cells. But remember your skin is delicate, so avoid scrubbing every night as it will irritate your skin and aggravated skin is susceptible to acne breakouts.
6. Use a face towel.
It sounds obvious but avoid using the same towel for your face that you use for your body, especially if you are not using a clean one every time you shower. Always dab your face dry to avoid the risk of irritating your skin.
7. Change your pillowcase regularly.
This promotes good hygiene as a used pillowcase is likely to collect dirt, dust, bacteria and other residue. Your skin regenerates itself most at night and the last thing you want is your face coming into contact with dead skin cells.
They are my 7 simple tips that you can add to your anti acne routine today. If you can change your mindset and remember less really is more.