The holy grail of any skincare routine and beauty junkie is achieving clear, glowing skin. What do we mean by this? Skin that looks smooth, hydrated and is free from acne, dark spots and blackheads along with whiteheads. Although this sounds like its achievable only through an Instagram filter, there are plenty of things you can do to help your skin be as clear as it can be. Here are 20 ways to get clear skin.
- Use A Cleansing Brush
Dirt, sweat and makeup are the enemy of clear skin, and one of the best ways to get your face squeaky clean is with a facial brush. Devices like the Clarisonic Mia rotate at over 300 times per second. Apart from annihilating any dirt and debris on your face, an oscillating brush has the added bonus of giving your face a bit of a massage which helps boost circulation. The only caveat is that it is easy to overdo it with a cleansing brush, so start slowly and try to limit yourself to using it two to three times a week.
- Choose the Right Face Wash
Anyone with acne prone skin should choose a face wash that is specially formulated for breakouts, to help prevent them and stop current ones in their tracks. Look for a face wash with salicylic acid, which is ideal for oily complexions and penetrates deep into the skin to help remove debris from clogged pores. The best face washes for acne prone skin will cleanse the skin without stripping it of its essential oils, which can then backfire as your face overcompensates for dryness by producing more oil.
- Apply Toner After Cleansing
If you are on the quest for clear skin, don’t skip the toner. This is an important step in any skincare routine to help balance the pH levels of the skin. Look for one with glycolic acid or salicylic acid to help give the skin a mild exfoliation and unclog pores.
- Don’t Pop Pimples
This is a tough one, but don’t touch, pop or squeeze any blemishes as it can cause scarring and redness, and possible infection- as well as more pimples. We know it’s tempting to pop them but the best way to handle a blemish is with a spot treatment. Products like Formulyst Blemish Clearing Complex contain salicylic acid as well as camphor and zinc oxide to help dry out blemishes. Benzoyl peroxide is the other key acne drying ingredient.
- Wash Your Face Before Bed
We’ve all been tempted to fall asleep with our makeup on, but this is one of the worst things you can do to your face. Our faces accumulate a day’s worth of dirt, makeup, pollution and sweat and if you fall asleep without taking it off, that build up can clog pores and lead to breakouts. Take the 30 seconds needed to wash your face nightly, or keep a stash of cleansing towels handy.
- Treat Pimples Early
When it comes to treating acne, the rule of thumb is the earlier the better Don’t wait until a pimple is large and has white head. If you feel one forming beneath the skin, start treating it with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. This may decrease the life span of a pimple by a day or so.
- Use a Night Cream With Retinol
Vitamin A derived retinol is one of the best ingredients to help acne prone skin; it also helps fade dark spots and fine lines as it accelerates cell turnover. Look for a night cream spiked with retinol and start slowly, as it can be drying to skin. One product to try is Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Night Cream, which contains retinols as well as ultra-soothing and hydrating safflower seed oil and jojoba, which lock moisture in and help minimize any potential irritation.
- Wash Your Pillow Case
Hear us out. You may not associate your pillow with your complexion but pillowcases can be a hotbed of germs. Change your pillowcase at least weekly if not more frequently as they can hold a cornucopia of bacteria, sweat, saliva, hair product and oil.
- Exfoliate Regularly
If you have acne prone skin, you may be nervous about exfoliating it, thinking it may irritate the skin or cause more breakouts. But exfoliation is one of the best things you can do to help keep breakouts at bay. Whisking away the top layer of dead skin cells help unclog pores and get rid of stubborn dirt and oil. Choose a gentle scrub made from rice powder or try one with glycolic acid.
- Try A Weekly Face Mask
Single use sheet masks are designed for every kind of skin type, whether you’re looking to boost moisture, improve your glow or keep breakouts at bay. Try using a sheet mask once or twice a week that is specially formulated for acne prone skin. Products like Yes To Tomatoes Clear Skin Acne Fighting Sheet Mask is soaked with tomato extracts and salicylic acid to help prevent acne breakouts and fight existing acne. Too Cool For School Egg Cream Mask Pore Tightening is made from soft microfiber, and is packed with egg white, vinegar, and witch hazel extracts.
- Protect Yourself from the Sun
Too much exposure to the sun, along with sweat and humidity, can trigger oil glands to go into overdrive which can lead to acne breakouts. Avoid being in the sun and make sure to use a sunscreen with a high SPF every day. Use a formula that is oil-free and non-comedogenic which means it won’t clog pores. If you have oily skin, look for one that helps leave skin looking matte, such as Dermalogica’s Oil Free Matte SPF 30 Medibac lotion.
- Clean Your Phone
Just in the same way that your pillowcase can be a breeding ground for germs, so can your phone. Think how many times you touch it and how many places it has been set down – and then it’s held against your cheek. Stock up on screen cleaning wipes and aim to clean your phone daily. You can also use a cotton pad moistened with rubbing alcohol.
- Use a Clay Mask
Before sheet masks became all the rage, clay masks where the masks of choice. Why clay? It’s thought to draw out impurities from the skin such as dirt, oil and toxins. Look for ingredients such as calcium, witch hazel, charcoal and enzymes. A few choices include Origins Active Charcoal Mask To Clear Pores Which contains bamboo Charcoal to draw impurities out of pores, and white China clay. Another option is Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Mask, which is formulated with blue tansy oil, fruit enzymes and white willow bark to soothe and clarify skin. Masks can get messy, so don’t use your favorite white washcloth to rinse off.
- Eat A Balanced Diet
You are what you eat, so lay off the junk and processed food. Reach for nutrient rich, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods instead and try to eat a rainbow of food. This includes foods with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and mackerel, plenty of dark leafy greens, fruits and olive oil.
- Rethink Your Haircut
You may be rocking bangs like Jane Birkin but you may want to rethink your haircut if you have acne prone skin. Bangs can trap oil on the forehead, along with dirt and sweat which can lead to breakouts. If you have a haircut that means your layers are often in your face, you may also be treating yourself to a face full of sweat and hair styling products, which don’t do acne any favors. Try to keep hair away and off the face to let skin breathe as much as possible.
- Drink More Water
The general rule of thumb is to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, which helps keep skin hydrated and is thought to help flush out toxins and keep skin clear and glowy. Bring a refillable water bottle to work and sip it all day long. If you find water to be boring, make an infusion with citrus and mint leaves.
- Get A Good’s Night Sleep
Everyone feels better with a solid night’s sleep. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed, and since night time is when our body heals and repairs itself, you may also be helping yourself wake up to clearer skin. Try to create and stick to a bedtime routine, where screens are shut off well before bedtime or try taking a calming bath before you hit the sheets.
- Deep Clean Your Makeup Drawer
One acne culprit could be lurking in your bathroom – and it could be old, expired makeup as well as your skincare tools. Sponges, makeup brushes and old makeup can all harbor acne causing bacteria. Make sure you regularly wash your sponges and replace them as needed. Makeup brushes should also be cleaned regularly; just swirl them in a little baby shampoo and rinse thoroughly. Makeup and skincare products should be thrown out according to the expiration dates.
- Moisturize Your Face
If you have acne prone skin, you may not want to add more moisture to your face but the opposite is true. Skin that is too dry will kickstart oil glands to produce even more oil, potentially leading to more breakouts. Keep skin hydrated with a lightweight moisturizer. Look for oil free products that won’t clog pores.
- Change Your Towel Frequently
If the towel that you dry your face on is the same one used by your entire family, you could be adding more bacteria to your face, which can lead to breakouts. Try keeping one towel out that is solely used for your face rather than your hands (and everyone else’s) and make sure to change it every few days to prevent more bacteria from getting on your face.