1 – Don’t stress
Okay, so if you’re suffering from a breakout, you’re not exactly going to be feeling the best, especially if you a social event on the horizon or work commitments that might involve a little public speaking. However, working yourself into a panic over your breakout isn’t going to help the problem – in fact it might just make it worse!
As I mentioned yesterday when discussing the effects of poor sleep, stress can trigger the release of inflammatory chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline, which will not only irritate your skin but can also increase your production of sebum oil!
So, take a deep breath and try to keep things in perspective. Your spots, while an irritating problem, are really not worth the toll that a stress reaction will exact.
2 – Wash away the sweat
Exercising and getting your heart pumping is something that we’re all in favour of here at Jan de Vries. Not only does it help to improve your cardiovascular health and overall fitness, it can also have a number of surprising benefits for your skin. It gives your microcirculation a boost, ensuring that all those lovely vitamins and minerals are getting to your skin, helping to repair damaged cells and encouraging the production of collagen.
However, exercise also inevitably makes you sweat, which can be a bit of a problem for acne-prone skin. Sweat can clog your pores and trigger a breakout so the best thing you can do is to hit the showers post-workout.
Now, please bear in mind that this doesn’t mean that you should be showering every day – exposing your skin to hot water can cause its fair share of problems, so instead shower with lukewarm water and don’t linger for too long!
3 – In fact, just wash everything!
Speaking of washing things, let’s take a look at your smartphone. Smartphones are everywhere and we treat them as lifelines, feeling uneasy whenever they’re out of reach for too long. Unfortunately, this attitude has its drawbacks, with some estimating that your mobile is up to 10 times dirtier than your toilet seat – yuck!
All of these germs are then transferred to your fingertips whenever you text or scroll and thereafter to your face. I’m sure you can imagine the results of this encounter – all of those nasty bugs and bacteria now inhabit your skin, weakening your epidermis and encouraging an inflammatory response from your immune system.
However, it isn’t just your smartphone or tablet that you should be worried about – your make-up bag could also be hiding a few nasty secrets too! It’s absolutely critical that you clean your make-up brushes and sponges regularly to avoid the spread of germs. Most stores will offer wipes exclusively for this purpose – make good use of them!
4- Including your bed linen!
The picture doesn’t get much prettier when you consider your bed linen and pillowcases. Hopefully, you’re already changing your bedding regularly and if you are, you’re probably already aware of how your sheets and duvets can turn into a breeding ground for bacteria. When you sleep at night, you sweat and shed skin cells which then get absorbed by your bed linen and pillowcases, like a sponge soaking up water.
Over time the dead skin cells can build up, especially on your pillowcases! It’s thought that unclean pillowcases are a leading cause of blackheads and breakouts. Experts recommend changing your pillowcases every 2-3 days to prevent this accumulation of sweat, oil and dead skin cells from affecting your skin whereas your bed linen should be washed every couple of weeks!
5 – Wear your hair up while you sleep
Okay, let’s put your skin aside for a moment and have a chat about your hair. Most of you probably don’t leave the house with your hair as it was when you rolled out of bed that morning.
What you do with your hair in the morning will depend on your own preference – perhaps you tie it up and set it with some hairspray to get rid of those flyaway strands; maybe you spray with gel and let it curl; or you might even apply some oil to prevent it from drying out as you straighten it.
Regardless, a lot of product goes on your hair and, unlike your make-up, unless you have a shower before bedtime, it’s not getting washed off. When you go to bed and sleep with your hair sprawled all over you pillow, all of those products are getting transferred to your skin.
This is not a pretty picture for a number of reasons; what’s designed to go on your hair, isn’t always recommended for your skin. Not to mention the chemicals in products such as hairspray, mousse and gel can be quite harsh and abrasive, clogging your pores and potentially trigger an inflammatory reaction
6 – Use non-comedogenic make-up
Non-comedogenic typically means ‘oil-free’ or at least free from substances that can clog your pores. As I mentioned earlier, when it comes to make-up, for acne, sometimes less is more. Most of your traditional, high-street make-up products are probably loaded with harsh chemicals and parabens, which can upset your skin, particularly if you’re piling them on in an attempt to disguise your blackheads and blemishes.
Instead, try to opt for acne-friendly make-up and always be aware of your expiration dates. The ingredients in make-up products such as foundation, mascara and blush can expire, becoming a breeding ground for bacteria that you are regularly exposing to your skin. As a general rule of thumb, foundations usually last no more than 6-12 months while high-risk products like mascara and liquid eyeliner should be shown the door after 6 months!