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Fighting Acne – Don’t unknowingly sabotage your skin!

July 9th, 2014 · No Comments · Personal Care, Skin Care

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Legacy Post — Originally published by on April 1, 2012.

acne cartoon

Acne…oh, the misery. Teen acne, adult acne, hormonal acne. It seems that no matter how old we are if we are predisposed to the “curse” of acne, it is hard to get rid of the stuff. We spend exorbitant amounts of money, buy all the latest acne products, and even agree to those automatic monthly deliveries of “.com” products, yet it seems that clear skin is unattainable. Yes, we all have moments when things seem to be working and our skin looks “decent” only to have the biggest zit of our lives appear the next week.

What gives?!

If dermatologists, the “It” acne products, repeated peels and prescription meds have not been able to clear your skin of acne for good, please read on. Sometimes it’s the little things you do that count when it comes to beating acne and achieving clear skin.

Personally, I had very clear skin as a teenager and didn’t get my first bad breakouts until AFTER college. The dreaded “adult” acne. During times of stress or at certain times of the month, I break out more: the dreaded “hormonal” acne. And now, I’m way past the point I think I should be dealing with it but I’m still fighting it!

I’ve done it all: visiting dermatologists (7 different ones!), prescription meds (some damage your skin in the long run), and have tried tons of over-the-counter acne medications. I’ve done holistic therapies, changed my diet, and had facials. I own a facial steamer and have even tried some crazy cures I’ve found online. I consider myself an acne expert at this point and trust me, I’d rather be anything but.

However, due to my “expert” status, I have lots of information to share. Everything in the following list has been tried, tested and truly WORKS. By making sure you are doing these things or NOT doing some of these things, you will increase your chances of winning the battle against zits and achieving clear, smooth skin.

Follow These “Rules” and Better Your Chances of Beating Acne!

1.  NEVER use dirty towels, sponges, makeup applicators, facial brushes, etc. on your face! That goes for dirty hands, too. Dirty anything touching your face is a no-no. Though you can’t see it, microscopic bacteria will wreck havoc on your skin. Make sure you use a clean washcloth everyday, wash your makeup applicators often (weekly at-least) and disinfect/clean your facial brush if you use one. It’s a good idea to buy some cheap, white washcloths in bulk to use ONLY on your face. Have enough so you can use a new one everyday until you do laundry. (BTW, make sure you aren’t allergic to the laundry soap you use.) And please do not touch your face with your hands during the day! You won’t believe how dirty your hands can get in the course of the day…


2. Never dry your face with a towel! After washing your face or bathing, just let your face air dry. Following just this rule, can drastically reduce the amount of acne outbreaks. Unless you are going to use a clean towel everyday to gently blot your face dry, letting your face air dry is best. I’m sure by now you have heard about what is in the air when you flush your toilet in the bathroom with the toilet seat up. Now, just imagine what lands on that towel you hang up in near proximity of said toilet. Only clean washcloths touch MY face, I never dry with towels and my skin has benefited as a result.


3. Remove ALL of your makeup before bed. And NEVER skip a day. If in for the night, remove all of your makeup after you get home as soon as possible. Regardless of what that bottle of makeup says, “non-comedogenic”, “vitamin-enriched”, “oil-free”, “blemished-skin formula”, etc., you need to get it off your face ASAP so your skin can breathe. Freely. I only use makeups that are not supposed to aggravate acne-prone skin, and all but one or two have blocked my pores and caused clogged pores or pimples. So use makeup if you have to and pick the lightest formula that is non-comedogenic and oil-free. Just PLEASE wash it off as soon as you can every day. Your skin will thank you.


4. Make sure the oils in your hair aren’t aggravating your acne while you sleep. If you have sensitive skin, you may be surprised to know that hair touching your face during the night while you sleep might be causing some of your acne. Just like some people who wear bangs get forehead pimples, you may be getting breakouts due to what your face is exposed to on your pillow at night. Solve this problem by: 1. pulling hair up and away from your face at night and changing your pillowcase often (as oils from your hair are still on your pillowcase), or o2. wearing a clean hair bonnet at night that completely covers your hair.

5. De-gunk your pores by STEAMING your face 1-2 times a week. You can use a facial steamer or just boil a pot of water, remove from stove and steam your clean face over the pot for 10 minutes. Steaming really opens up your facial pores and helps clear them of debris and toxins. You can add a few drops of Tea Tree oil to the water; to assist with detoxification. Your facial masks, acne medication and facial serums will also penetrate better after a steaming session. Make sure your face is clean before steaming. After steaming, rinse face and wipe until clean with your favorite toner before applying skincare products.


6. Make sure your skincare routine includes EACH of these base products: Your skincare routine MUST include: separate makeup remover for use before cleansing, cleanser, toner, and an acne medication. Following a complete “system” is key when fighting acne. You just cannot skip steps; I learned this the hard way. You can add a light moisturizer, sunscreen and other nighttime skincare products to these base products as needed. Your face must be free of makeup BEFORE you cleanse. Toner IS necessary, despite what some folks say. The right toner will get any remaining dirt off your face after cleansing and it will help keep your pores clear.

7. Include occasional skin peels, deep cleansing masks and exfoliators as part of your acne fight plan. Your four-step daily skincare system will need occasional help/boosting no matter how great it is. You (and/or your dermatologist) can determine what occasional treatments will work best to boost your daily routine depending on the severity of your acne and your skin type and color. These occasional treatments can help remove the top (dead) layer of skin, reduce hyperpigmentation and help acne clear up faster by increasing your skin’s cell turnover. What works for me, for example, are weekly at-home exfoliating facial scrubs, deep cleansing bentonite clay masks (once per week or at-least twice per month) and professional peels at a spa or my dermatologist’s office as needed.

A woman peeling a facial peel off of her face.

8. Find a good esthetician and get PROFESSIONAL extractions. Unless you are good at steaming your face yourself and properly using a comedone extractor to clear blocked pores without causing hyperpigmentation and scarring, visit a GOOD esthetician and have your pores extracted.  Sometimes pores will NEVER clear up with product use alone, sometimes they have to be manually cleared. Until the problem is resolved, you will continue to have bumps and breakouts. A good esthetician will clean, steam, clear, tone and treat your skin to reduce all of those issues going on “underneath” that top layer of skin. You will be surprised at how much difference this can make!

Woman Receiving Spa Treatment

9. Avoid junk food, greasy foods, and any foods that you are allergic to. I don’t care what some doctors say, chocolate, some dairy products and greasy foods do break some people out. They break me out! If I eat a fast food burger tonight, tomorrow I wake up with a pimple or two on my face. If I eat a certain amount of milk chocolate, I get breakouts two days later. Happens. Every. Time. So, believe that person that tells you that your diet has nothing to do with your acne if you want. But, if you want clear skin, you will change your diet like pronto.


10. H2O is necessary for clear skin. If you don’t drink enough water, your skin will suffer. There is just no way around this fact. Water is great for your overall health AND your skin. If you hate drinking plain water, add some fresh lemon or lime juice as I’ve found that adding lemon/lime to my water seems to help me maintain clean skin. Add a little sweetener if you have to, at first, but try to slowly wean yourself off the sweeteners. Drink at least four 8oz. glasses (32oz.) of PLAIN or lemon/lime water a day. Avoid carbonated drinks, coffee/caffeinated beverages  and artificial, sugary drinks — these are NOT friends of clear skin. In addition to your 32 oz. of water, feel free to drink 100% natural juices, daily-free protein shakes, low-sodium soups, juicy fruits, etc. so you are getting up to 64oz. of liquids in your body daily. Dehydration is a contributor to dull, problem skin.

Woman drinking water

11. If you are stressed out, take Yoga, get a massage or meditate. Stress can cause acne. Trust me, I know. I use massages and Yoga to relax my body during stressful times. Find what works for you and DO IT. BTW, hot yoga (Bikram yoga) is wonderful for clearing out your pores! Just make sure to attend class with a makeup-free face and bring some salicylic acid wipes to go over your face right after class.


If you incorporate these “Rules” into your acne fight plan, I guarantee that you will see results and move closer towards that beautiful, clear skin you want!

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