When we think of people with clear, beautiful skin, we often think of them as “blessed.” They are the skin elite, the ones with effortlessly poreless skin, never worry about surprise pimples or hormonal breakouts. Blackheads are something they’ve only read about, and cystic acne? What’s that?
For some, that’s true. Good for them. We aren’t jealous, not at all… because envy isn’t good for the complexion. However, we do want their secrets. For many, however, it all comes down to impeccable skin hygiene and healthy habits. Once things are a habit, it’s effortless. So while we may have to apply these tasks day in and day out for a while (try reminders on the mirror, or your phone, and just be diligent) “effortlessly” clear skin is on the horizon.
First of all, if you’re acne-prone, wash your face both morning and night. A morning cleanse may sound counterintuitive: “I just washed my face before bed, all I did was sleep, I don’t need to cleanse again!” Or, “won’t that dry out my skin?” For the acne-prone, we often produce excess oil overnight, and we may be unaware how often we are touching our face, or smooshing our faces into the sheets or pillows, driving that oil back into our pores. Cleanse in the AM for a clean slate for skincare and makeup.
If you wear a full face, double cleanse it off in the evening. You may be surprised at how much makeup is still clinging to our skin after the initial cleanse—it’s downright horrifying. Start with an oil cleanser, and do the thorough oil-cleansing method of massaging the oil into dry skin, wiping it off with a damp washcloth, then applying the oil directly to the cloth and massaging into the face for a good, gentle scrub. Rinse, then follow with a gentle cleanser to remove any last traces.
Try, try not to touch your face. We know it’s hard, and sometimes we have a literal itch we need to scratch. But do your very best to keep your fingers off your face, and in the off-chance that you can’t, make sure those hands are clean. We know that incessant hand-washing is drying, so carry around a bottle of moisture-rich hand cream for on-the-go, or keep a pump near your sink to remind you. Trust us, it’s worth it.
On this note, there is a lot of bacteria that can creep into your favorite skincare products simply from your hands. It’s crucial to make sure your hands are squeaky clean before dipping your fingers into a pot of product, and this also means washing away other product from your fingertips before moving onto the next product in your skincare regime. We don’t want to contaminate the products we are using to help our skin, after all, right?
It’s important not to over exfoliate, because we damage our protective skin barrier that keeps us dewy, and our thin layer of skin bacteria (that’s right, our skin has it’s very own microbiome that keeps us safe and regulated) actually does it’s part to keep out bad bacteria. However, we do want to exfoliate gently at least once a week to prevent buildup of dead skin.
Since we are, ehem, NOT touching our faces, this should come as no surprise, right? Picking at a pimple or blackhead almost always exacerbates the issue, so save it for a professional or just ice it and keep the area clean. Picking almost always leads to infection and contamination of the surrounding area, making the blemish more red and inflamed. The best bet is definitely to avoid picking all together.
Our phones go everywhere with us. The inside of our purse, the floor, the subway, taxi, car, public restroom. Every time we touch our phones and then our faces, or even worse, our phones to our faces, we run the risk of getting that public bathroom or subway grime on our face. Yes, it’s horrific. And yes, we went there, because that’s the reality. Definitely keep your hands clean (make sure your phone isn’t the last thing you touch before bed– wash those hands and then no touchy) and definitely make sure to wipe down your phone with alcohol or a disinfecting wipe at least once daily.
When we sleep, we are pressing our faces into our pillowcases for 8 hours (ideally, give or take). It’s absolutely crucial that we take heed of this, and make sure that every few days, we are swapping our for a clean pillowcase. We know it’s a lot of work to wash the sheets that often, so we won’t ask that you strip the bed every other day. Just make sure to have a back stock of pillowcases for easy swapping. Easy as pie!