My skin was near perfect until I reached my 20s, and then the roller coaster of skin issues began… inflammatory and noninflammatory acne, papules, pustules, nodules and cysts… I had the gamut:/
In addition to tools to manage stress, like yoga, exercise, meditation and gratitude, the following practices helped to keep my skin as clear as possible… I hope they can help you, too!
(I’m now 56, and happily, my face stays pretty clear, with occasional issues when I don’t practice what I preach:)
I recommend cleansing with a foaming cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin, as managing oiliness is an important factor in reducing acne. Remember, though, that squeaky clean is also not a good thing, as your skin tends to make more oil to compensate for the stripping action of a harsh cleanser. There’s a direct correlation between the amount of oil produced by the skin and the severity of an acne condition, so cleansing twice a day is a good place to start if you have very oily skin. Otherwise, cleansing at night and rinsing with water in the morning will be fine. If you have combination and/or mature skin, like me, an easily rinsable cream cleanser can keep your skin hydrated while removing excess oil. I still use a foamy cleanser after working out or when my skin is quite oily.
For times you wear makeup, use a creamy or oil-based makeup remover first as rinsable cleansers generally aren’t as good at makeup removal, especially waterproof types. After removing your makeup with the cream cleanser, wash a second time with a rinsable foaming cleanser. As a side note, exercising while wearing makeup can actually worsen acne-prone skin. See if you can leave your makeup off while exercising, and try to wash your face as soon as possible afterward.
Hydration is key to keeping your cells plump, elastic, and clean… and able to do what they’re supposed to do:) So, drink that water! Sipping on plain hot/warm water throughout the day, in addition to your 8-10 daily glasses of room temperature water, hydrates the cells in a different and important way, according to Ayurvedic principles, so I try to make a practice of that, too.
Keeping follicles clear is essential to achieving clear skin. Using an exfoliating serum with glycolic acid or salicylic acid, or a combination of the two, clears follicles of dead cell buildup and reduce the numbers of acne bacteria. Even if your skin has no visible breakouts or clogs, using an exfoliating serum will help to flush the follicle canals free of debris and microcomedones, which can’t be seen on the skin’s surface… but are lurking nonetheless:/
CHOOSE products YOUR skin loves ❤️
Deep-cleansing treatments performed by an esthetician, like gentle extraction, and using masks regularly at home can be really helpful for congested skin. Clay, activated charcoal, and sulfur-based masks, as well as raw honey and kefir, feel great and work wonders! Raw honey is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal, which enables it to treat many skin issues, including acne. I even like to use it as a face wash sometimes:) Kefir is a natural source of lactic acid that exfoliates, smooths, and hydrates your skin. While similar to yogurt, it has about forty times as many beneficial bacteria. I like to use coconut or plain water kefir. Just apply to your face and leave for 15-30 minutes before washing with your usual cleanser. Your skin will be SO soft and smooth!
You’ve probably heard about the connection between dairy products, processed food, sugar, and acne. Although not everyone experiences “visible” effects from these foods, there’s a high correlation between the protein in dairy and the inflammatory and hormone-imbalancing effects of sugar that can trigger flare-ups and worsen acne. One way to see if this might be true for you is to stop eating one or both for six weeks. Even if you don’t notice a clear connection here, I bet you’ll be feeling much better, health and energy-wise:)
Spot treatment of individual papules and congested areas can be helpful in reducing swelling and soreness, as well as speed healing. Anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial essential oils (manuka is my favorite) are great for this as they don’t cause dryness or flaking like benzoyl peroxide.
THE INVISIBLE KEYS.
In addition to the treatments and practices listed above, I think the keys to achieving and maintaining (mostly) clear skin, for me, are the following:
3. Paying attention to what my skin is telling me.
Whenever I look in the mirror and see congestion, I know that I have let one or more things slide in my self-care… eating out too much, allowing sugar to creep into my food choices (AGAIN!), not washing my face regularly, not enough sleep, not managing my stress well, not using the products I know my skin likes, etc.
It is raw data; it is learning. … no guilt or blame:) Now, I get to make another chance to make a healthy change!
All my best,
DISCLOSURE: Please note these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. I am not a doctor. I am simply sharing my experiences.