Updated: Jul 15
Regardless of our overall skin types, acne will have affected all of us at some stage of our lives, whether during our teen or adult years. Even when we finally think it's at bay, it can rear its head during times of stress, hormonal change and phases where we may have dropped the ball with our eating habits.
Below I have compiled a manual with 12 key tips that you can turn to in those unpleasant times when your skin is breaking out and you want to reign it back in. I also list our #SkinFood favourite acne-fighting products below.
Drink More Water!
You will have heard this piece of advice many times but when we are busy multi-tasking or having a stressful time, it is incredibly easy to forget this step. The whole day can disappear by the time we realise we've hardly drank any water. Our bodies are made up of up to 70% water so it makes perfect sense that we constantly need to replenish our supplies in order to keep our organs properly functioning. Introducing this step will not only ensure that your skin is hydrated but it will also assist our bodies in removing the build-up of unwanted toxins, which otherwise would lead you to breakout. I would recommend drinking anywhere between 2-3 litres a day.
Find Ways to De-Stress
It has been proven that the release of cortisol (our stress hormone) into the body results in increased inflammation. Suffered over a period of time, this can lead to many health and skin related problems, such as acne. Finding ways to truly de-stress in the form of either exercise or meditation is pivotal. This will help to lower your cortisol production, cutting out one of the major triggers behind your breakouts. To read more on the benefits of either meditation or yoga click through to read my blog posts.
Do a Sulphur Mask
Sulphur is a hero ingredient when it comes to dealing with breakouts. Dermatologists have begun recommending this as part of an acne-fighting routine due to its bacteria fighting properties. It also helps to remove excess sebum (our secreted oils) and encourages the turnover of dead skin cells. Due to its drying nature, it assists in the sloughing of dead skin cells. Keep reading to see our #SkinFood favourite sulphur product below.
Clean Your Phone Screen
I think it is safe to say that post-pandemic the world has become a lot more conscious and aware of ensuring the cleanliness of commonly used objects. However, did you know that your phone screen, if left unsanitized, could be a contributor to your acne? When speaking on the phone, our screens, thanks to how much we use them, accumulate inordinate amounts of bacteria, which then can transfer onto our skin. Try to get in the habit of wiping down your phone once a day with some anti-bacterial wipes, in order to avoid this becoming a contributor.
Change Your Pillow Cases/Face Towels
The same goes for your pillow cases and face towels. Make sure you are replenishing these every 3 days in order to ensure they are not a potential cause. If you are using a wash cloth at night to cleanse your skin, I would replenish this daily.
Cut Down on Sugar
There has been a lot of research conducted which proves that when we regularly consume sugary food, drinks and alcohol, it can be a major cause of acne. When our bodies ingest sugar, it leads to an increase in the production of our insulin hormone, which then raises our levels of inflammation. Try and aim to maintain a whole and balanced diet. Should you crave something sweet, aim for unrefined sugar substitutes. To read our healthy banana bread recipe follow the link.
Wash Your Make-Up Brushes
This is an easy one to fall behind on and can sometimes feel like a bit of a chore to do. But our make-up tools in the form of brushes and sponges can be a feeding ground for bacteria. Keeping your brushes clean is key in order to avoid unnecessary breakouts. Cleaning your tools once a week with soap and warm water is a realistic goal and will keep your tools hygienic.
Research indicates that dairy cows are often treated with artificial hormones which affects the milk they supply. It has been suggested that the growth hormones found in dairy can then interfere with our own hormones negatively, thus triggering acne. Try using an unsweetened dairy substitute in the form of almond, oat, cashew or soy milk. They taste even better and can help to curb some of the unwanted side effects.
Use Acne-Fighting Ingredients
There are many great acne-fighting ingredients available on the market such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. If your skin is going through a rough patch, try introducing these into your routine in order to help calm your breakouts. Retinol is also an excellent long-term solution for fighting acne. To read more on this ingredient click HERE.
Introduce a Zinc Supplement
Zinc contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it can help to lessen some of the redness and irritation associated with acne. It can also help to improve the appearance of scars over time. Consult your doctor or physician to make sure that this is a suitable option for you.
Wash Your Face Last
When we shower our shampoos and conditioners come into contact with the skin on our face and our bodies. Due to the cocktail of harsher ingredients they contain, this contact can actually trigger breakouts. In order to prevent this from happening, cleanse your body and face last, so that when you leave the shower, you're working with a truly clean slate.
Don't Pick Your Skin
Picking your skin when you're breaking out is a common urge that many people feel. However, I implore you not to do it. Your hands carry bacteria from all of the surfaces you touch, and even if you have sanitized them to perfection, the constant squeezing and scratching will only serve to further inflame and aggravate any existing breakouts you have. Moreover, this can often make the acne wound larger leading to permanent scarring.
See below to check out our #SkinFood favourite products!
Create Cosmetics - BPT3.1 Moisturiser
This product is a true gem in terms of dealing with stubborn and persistent acne. The benzoyl peroxide gets right to work at killing any active breakouts, while the tea tree helps to disinfect the affected area. The overall consistency of this cream will not leave your skin parched, unlike many other acne-fighting products. Click the image to be redirected to Create Skincare's website. This product is also available to purchase from Amazon.
Peter Thomas Roth - Therapeutic Sulfur Mask
This powerful sulfur mask is a holy grail item if you are really trying to combat your acne. Containing10% sulfur, bentonite and kaolin clay it will not only help to fight any existing acne you have, but also to prevent its return.
Puritan's Pride - Zinc For Acne
When dealing with acne it's key to not only target it with topically applied products but to treat it internally as well. Puritan's Pride offers a high strength Zinc for Acne formula to help lower your levels of inflammation and also to assist with repairing your skin after you've suffered from a bad bout. Click the image to be redirected to their website. This supplement can also be purchased on Amazon.