I swear that every day it feels like I’m being told something else is bad for my skin or will give me acne. And, to be honest, a lot of times it seems like mixed messages. Exfoliate, but not too much. Never touch your face, but go ahead and apply makeup with your fingertips.
I researched and researched and researched to learn what things I’m doing that actually do make me break out, and how to remedy those pimple perpetuators. While it is a bit annoying to adjust a daily ritual, the good news is that, once your skin clears up, you can add all of these back — as long as it’s in moderation.
Your Morning Fix
In my humble opinion, coffee does more damage than good to your body. If you’re like me and love your coffee with milk, sugar, syrup, whipped cream and everything else the barista wants to throw on there, there aren’t many redeeming qualities in your blended cup of joe, other than the endorphins and sugar high. But, even just a cup of black coffee will raise your body’s acidity, throwing off its pH balance and making your skin inflamed (most usually as a pimple around your mouth).
Your Solution: If it’s the caffeine you need, switch to tea. There’s obviously a huge variety in the world, but if better skin is your biggest concern, opt for green tea. Once you’ve had a fix, drink plenty of water to hydrate your body, restore your skin and flush out toxins. If you just can’t do without your coffee, though, you can add a few pH drops to make it less acidic.
Your Bedtime Ritual
Adequate sleep is one of the most vital, precious gifts you can give your body. But, if you like to watch TV, play on your phone or catch up on emails in bed, the light from the device will make your body think it’s daytime and keep your mind awake. Devices like your smartphone will also emit electromagnetic wave frequencies that can run through your body and mess with your circadian rhythm. Your sleep pattern will be disrupted, your immune system weakened, your mind stressed and your face broken out.
Your Solution: Turn off all of your electronics 30 minutes before bedtime, and place your phone far away from you. If you need something to do before bed, read a book — a real, tangible, made-of-paper book — to calm your mind. You can also drink a cup of calming tea, like chamomile, to help make you sleep so that you get your full 8 hours and keep your body functioning properly. (Want more sleepy time tips? Read this.)
Your Daily Face
You know that sleeping in your makeup is horrible for your skin, but, depending on your foundation of choice, just wearing it can wreak havoc, too. Thick makeups can clog your pores, trap sweat beneath your layer of foundation and attract dirt, which can sit on your skin, allowing bacteria in (and further clogging pores), which will cause pimples to sneak up on you. (Not to mention the bacteria transfer that happens if you use dirty brushes or sponges to apply your makeup, which can also lead to breakouts.)
Your Solution: Opt for lightweight, water-based foundations like airbrush makeup, which offers the added benefit of never having to touch your face with dirty fingers, brushes or sponges (which dermatologists strongly advise against). Airbrush makeups also tend to be noncomedogenic (don’t clog your pores), oil-free and completely buildable, so you can determine how light or full you want your coverage to be simply by the number of layers you apply. You’ll also want to always wash your face after removing your makeup. No matter what makeup you use, there can always be occlusive residue that a makeup wipe simply won’t get.
That after-dinner dessert, when combined with that morning-meeting donut and afternoon pick-me-up, may help with endorphins, but it’s not doing your skin any favors. When you consume too many processed carbs, breads and sugar, your body’s glycemic index will elevate, making it produce more oil. The sugar can also break down the skin cells (in a process called glycation) which will weaken your collagen and elastin, causing fine lines and wrinkles to appear. Your skin will also suffer from the overdose of bad bacteria in the body caused by the yeast in bread.
Your Solution: Moderate your sugar intake (the World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 teaspoons a day for adults) within a well-balanced diet with the right proportions of protein, fiber, leafy greens and complex carbs. And, of course, drink plenty of water.
Your Slight Addiction
Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you give up Instagramming your cute new shoes (I wouldn’t dare). But, if you’re on your cell phone all the time — you know, talking — and tend to breakout on one side of your face or jawline, it’s likely because of your mobile device. Every time you touch your phone’s screen to text, to post, to catch ’em all, you’re transferring all the germs from your hands onto your cell. That bacteria will then be transferred onto your face, creating blemishes.
Your Solution: Make it a point to regularly wipe down your cell with sanitizing wipes, especially if you’re about to make a call. If you’re completely grossed out by the idea of the bacteria getting on your face and don’t think a wipe is good enough, you can invest in a phone sanitizer (many often charge your phone, as well), which can kill 99.9 percent of your phone’s bacteria in about five minutes. These will typically run around $80.
Your Skincare Routine
The obvious solution to oily skin is to dry it out, right? Except that drying out your skin — from harsh cleanser, too many spot treatments, etc — can ruin your skin’s natural protective barrier. This will cause more bacteria to get into your pores and cause breakouts and, if you’ve let your skin get so dry that it cracks, that bacteria can cause infection.
Your Solution: Learn the best skincare solutions based on your skin type. You should wash your face at least once a day, more if you have oily skin, and pay special attention to the type of cleanser you use. Charcoal products like a charcoal soap or a charcoal mask will get rid of the bacteria and clear your pores without over-drying your skin. Make sure you’re not over-using your acne treatment, and finish your routine with a lightweight moisturizer.
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