We’ve all been there—you wake up one morning, head to the bathroom to brush your teeth, and look in the mirror only to be greeted by a freshly-formed unforgiving pimple staring back at you. How did that get there?! Sure, it might be related to your genetics or your hormones, but there’s also a whole lot of habit involved here. And you might not even realize that your habits are clogging your pores—or what you can do to fix them.
Not all pimples are entirely avoidable (if you’ve ever been stressed, you know what I mean...and if you’ve never had a pimple, well then, please share your secrets with the rest of us), but adopting these good skincare habits and nixing the bad ones will help you combat acne for less mornings spent in front of the mirror trying to figure out how to hide those suckers.
Maintain a healthy diet
Did you need that extra slice of cheese pizza at 2 AM last night? How about opting for one more drink instead of asking for a water? Well, your skin is paying for it. Refined sugars and alcohol are notorious offenders when it comes to acne. It might seem like your pimples are caused by what you’re doing on the outside, but a huge component to combating acne is controlling what’s going on inside your body.
We’re not telling you to give up carbs (we’d be the biggest hypocrites if we were). Just opt for the right carbs—more whole wheat, less processed/fried/sugary crap.
Wash daily, but wash smart
This is kind of a no-brainer, but regardless of if you made it to the gym today or not, you still need to cleanse your face. All the dirt and oil from the day’s activities collect on your skin and, if you don’t wash regularly, seep into your pores and cause breakouts. Aim for once every morning, and at the very least, a wash before bed. Bonus points if you exfoliate once a week.
Make sure you’re using a cleanser with all natural ingredients. Harsh chemicals can overdry your skin, causing pores to overproduce the sebum that clogs them, leaving skin oily and acne-prone. Natural cleansers combat the bad bacteria, while leaving your skin’s natural oils and moisture intact.
(Pssst...we recommend this one)
Beware of Sweat
We hope you’re cleansing your face after you hit the gym. If not, that’s a good place to start. But you might also break a sweat on your commute, walking across town to a meeting, etc. and rather than letting that sweat stick to your skin, it’s better to be prepared. We recommend carrying cleansing wipes with you for a quick wash, or, at the very least, making sure a shower is in your near future. Staying in sweaty clothes is as good as asking for body acne, especially if you’re not wearing moisture-wicking, breathable fabric. Your face isn’t the only thing that can breakout, so make sure you’re hopping in the shower soon after a sweat (and please, no repeating gym clothes without doing laundry first).
Clean your sheets
A dirty pillowcase is a breeding ground for bad bacteria. Okay, that’s a little graphic, but if you’re serious about combating acne, make sure to wash your pillowcases AT LEAST once a week. If you struggle with body acne, or want to be proactive about it, throw your sheets in there once a week, too. While you’re at it, toss in your towels. These all come into contact with your skin on a daily basis and you’re doing yourself a disservice by washing your face only to dry it with a dirty towel.
Stop touching your face
The average person touches their face anywhere from 3-16 times an hour. Some quick math tells us that can easily be over 100x a day. STOP! If you’re reading this now with your chin on your hand or your fingers on your temple, please stop and gently remove from your face. Each time you touch your face you’re spreading bacteria that can cause acne. And don’t even think about picking at your pimples. If you have one festering, leave it alone! It will heal faster and won’t leave scars if you leave it alone. In fact, picking at pimples not only exacerbates healing time, but can actually lead to more breakouts by spreading acne-causing oils to the surrounding areas.
While we’re on the subject, beware of touching your skin to your phone. Your cell phone is 10x dirtier than a toilet seat. Yup, you read that right. Don’t believe me? Read all about it here. So please, the next time your phone rings, consider plugging in your headphones and spare your skin.
SPF is your best friend
Beware of too much sun. It’s no secret that dermatologists unanimously advise us to wear SPF year round to protect against harmful UV rays (and spare ourselves early-onset wrinkles), but too much sun also dries out your skin, causing dead, flaky skin cells to clog your pores, and thus—you guessed it—make you break out.
The results are in. This round goes to the dermatologists.
Control oil production
It’s an all-too-common misunderstanding that moisturizer will clog your pores or make your skin oily. Call us mythbusters if you’d like, but that’s just plain wrong. A good skincare regimen requires moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated. It actually stops your skin from over producing oils that clog pores and leave your skin looking oily. We recommend this one.
It’s also worth your while to invest in a good mask. This might be out of your comfort zone, but it’s the secret ingredient in your skincare routine to control oil. Try this one if you want to see instant results and clearer skin.
Listen to your body
At the end of the day, no two cases of acne are the same. If you’ve adopted all the best skincare habits and are still struggling with bad skin, seek out a dermatologist to better understand the cause of your acne and how to work with your body to fix it.
Trying out one, two, or hopefully all of these things will get you well on your way to clearer skin and happier mornings looking in the mirror. Not sure where to start? Try our All-In-One Essential Mens’ Skincare Set and see how the right combination of an all-natural cleanser, hydrating moisturizer, and oil-controlling mask can work wonders for your skin. Once you start using the right products and stick to the right habits, we’re confident that the next round goes to you.