Most of us have suffered the pain of breakouts at some point in our lives and although you think it would get more manageable with time, sometimes years of dealing with breakouts can take a toll on you and your skin. Over the last few months I’ve really been trying to improve my skin and these are the tips that have really helped to clear my skin.
- Remove mineral oil from your routine. Mineral oil (also known as paraffin oil or liquid paraffin) isn’t in itself a bad chemical, it’s definitely cheap and nothing to be afraid of – baby oil is actually just a bottle of fragranced mineral oil! While mineral oil is present on several lists of comedogenic substances a study by the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in 2005 found that it was noncomedogenic (doesn’t clog pores) when in its highly refined and purified form which is found in cosmetic products, this means that it shouldn’t clog your pores and therefore shouldn’t break you out. However since removing mineral oil from my routine I’ve found that I get less small whiteheads and therefore my skin looks much clearer. While it’s debatable whether mineral oil is comedogenic or not, it might be worth trying to remove it from your routine and see if you see any improvements.
- Cleanse your skin properly – no a swipe of a face wipe or micellar water does not do the job – spending time massaging cleanser into your skin and properly removing it is an invaluable step in your routine. Cleaning off makeup and dirt will leave your skin looking and feeling fresher and will definitely help to prevent breakouts.
- Use an Acid Exfoliator – personally I’m a lover of Liquid Gold, but any good acid exfoliant will help to remove dead skin cells which in turn will help to prevent breakouts. Some will have antibacterial properties that also help to keep an ‘open spot’ clean and prevent the spot coming back or getting worse.
- Don’t skimp on the Oil – while oily skins usually avoid oily products sometimes an oil is exactly what your skin needs. Your skin can still be acne prone while lacking a bit of oil. I use a few drops of the Emma Hardie Brilliant Facial Oil every evening, and I just alter the amount depending on how dry or oily my skin is feeling and I use it only in areas that need it which means I usually stay away from my T-Zone.
- Think about Vitamins – I take iron because I’m anaemic and primrose oil for hormone control – but taking something as simple as a chewy multivitamin or WellWoman (or WellMan) will help to improve any mineral/vitamin deficiencies you might be struggling with – but if you’re confused about minerals and vitamins consult your doctor before taking any ‘off the shelf’ vitamins (especially if you’re already taking medication)
- Drink water – this is such an obvious piece of advice but it’s such a good one. I can visibly see a difference in my skin if I drink lots of water compared to when I don’t. Ensuring you stay hydrated isn’t only great for your skin but also for your health and mind in general. My advice would be to buy yourself a fancy bottle or cup to drink out of which will encourage you to drink more until it becomes a habit or keep a big bottle or jug of water which is your daily goal and make sure it’s empty by the end of the day!
- Eat properly – sometimes I feel like all this ‘eat well’ advice can be a bit confusing – so I’ll keep this simple (as I’m far from a nutritionist and I’m definitely not trying to be one!) eat the things that make you feel good, for example drinking coffee gives me a really good feeling… For an hour or so and then I’m back to my sluggish self again, whereas a smoothie makes me feel good for hours. This doesn’t mean I’m never going to drink coffee (far from it!) but it’s just an example of how eating well means making the right decisions for you and your body, regardless of other people’s opinions.
- Flannels – okay, bear with me on this one. How do you dry your face after cleansing? For years I used to use a hand towel, like the actual one I was using for my hands. I squirm. Anyway, a cheap pack of flannels from primark have changed all this for me. A pack of three is about £2.50 and will not only allow you to remove your makeup with a clean damp flannel but also means you can dry your face off on a clean dry flannel. What’s the point in cleansing your skin if you’re going to go and stick your clean face in a dirty towel?
- Think about your bedding – some people like to change their pillowcase every night, others put 7 pillowcases on one pillow and whip one off each night to prevent a buildup of grime and dirt. While I must confess I do neither, due to laziness and I’m partially in denial about how dirty my pillow cases really are. But considering how dirty your bedding gets is really important – your face spends hopefully 8 hours a day smushed up against that pillow and whatever else is hiding amongst the fibres so every other day or so get the pillow case in the wash and you might just see a transformation in your skin! Also washing your makeup brushes/sponges more regularly is also really important, think about what touches your face and question how clean it is (this includes your hands if you’re a ‘face toucher ‘ like me!). But it’s not just about the brushes and sponges – you also need to think about the actual makeup you’re using, check the expiration date using the open pot symbol, if you think it’s out of date then bin it. If you can’t remember when you bought it try checking your emails or receipts or if that doesn’t work go by scent/colour/texture – if you’re really not sure then use your common sense!
- Masks – I love a good mask, but I hate the gimmicky masks that do absolutely nothing for your skin, I like to feel a mask working away on my skin. My two current favourites are the GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment and the Alpha H Balancing and Pore Refining Mask, both of which tingle on application and draw spots out of the skin leaving the skin a little spottier a day or two after application but then quickly clear to reveal clearer skin. My advice would be to use a mask once a week to detoxify the skin rather than waiting until your skin is really spotty, use masks as more of a preventative measure than a topical treatment.
I’d also like to add that acne and breakouts can also be helped by hormone treatments or prescription drugs – if you feel you need them then speak to your doctor as these tips aren’t a definitive list of solutions they’re just the tips I’ve picked up during my years of struggling with blemish prone skin!
What are your top tips for clearer skin?