A Clean Face
The first line of defense against acne is washing your face each morning and evening. It's not necessary to wash it more than this, as it may dry out your skin. If your face produces a lot of oil and looks shiny, you can blot it with a tissue midday to remove some of the sheen. You'll need a gentle cleanser to use on your face twice a day. Avoid a facial soap that strips all the oil, because some should remain. Ironically, removing all of it can lead to an overload of oil production.
Some of the reasons to wash your face are the removal of dirt, bacteria and excess oil. Another purpose is to unclog pores that have a buildup of dead skin, sweat and oil in them. A mild exfoliator will help with this because it strips the top, dead layer of skin cells from your face. If you have sensitive skin, you should limit exfoliation to twice a week, but if the method you choose doesn't irritate your face, it's fine to exfoliate daily.
There are several effective medications that will help you minimize acne blemishes. The most common one is benzoyl peroxide (BPO), a substance that kills the bacteria that cause acne. It's a chemical exfoliant that helps with cell turnover as well. BPO can be drying to the skin, so it's important to moisturize when you're using it. There are three strengths, 2.5 percent, 5 percent and 10 percent, and you should start with the lowest one until you determine how your face is going to react.
Salicylic acid works well with benzoyl peroxide to fight acne and you can find it in lotion, gel and cleanser form to use on your face. Like benzoyl peroxide, it helps your face shed dead skin cells. Salicylic acid loosens the bonds that hold dead skin and oil together in your pores, allowing you to wash it away. It also soothes the skin and minimizes pores. It's okay to use both products, but it's better to alternate them since you don't want to redden your skin. It will help if you find BPO and salicylic acid products that include hydrating ingredients like glycerin.
Makeup and Acne
If you wear makeup, it's important to choose the right type of foundation, one that's least likely to clog your pores and lead to breakouts. Before you apply it to your face, moisturize your skin with a lightweight, oil-free lotion that's labeled as being 'non-comedogenic'. This means it doesn't have substances in it that will clog your pores. Hyaluronic acid and glycerin are ingredients in some lotions that will help your skin hold onto moisture.
All of your makeup, including blush and eye shadow, should be oil-free. Some ingredients that absorb excess oil and cover up redness are silica, zinc and titanium dioxide. These won't aggravate your skin or make your acne worse. Sunscreen is an important addition to your makeup routine since it protects your skin from ultraviolet rays. You can find foundation with sunscreen added, but just make sure it's oil-free and doesn't include the skin-irritating chemicals benzophenone and PABA.
A Healthy Diet
There's also evidence that a healthy diet will help control acne. Certain foods cause more oil production in the body, and they're referred to as 'high-glycemic' foods because they cause blood sugar to rise quickly. When refined, processed white foods like pasta, flour, rice and sugar are eaten, more insulin is released into the bloodstream and that can make oil glands react by producing more oil. Avoiding these types of foods can be an aid in keeping acne under control.
Foods with complex carbohydrates that take longer to digest are recommended to help reduce acne outbreaks. Vitamins A and E and the mineral zinc reduce inflammation in the body, including acne outbreaks, and they can be found in foods that make up a healthy diet. Foods with omega-3 fats and antioxidants can also help. Antioxidants reduce inflammation by targeting free radicals that can cause it.
You Can Take Steps Against Acne
One way to prevent acne is to be careful not to touch your face since your hands can transfer dirt and bacteria to it. If you perspire during the day, use a damp washcloth to wipe off your face. This will prevent the sweat from clogging your pores. Avoid hot showers and baths, as that can dry your skin and make it more susceptible to acne blemishes. Establish your facial cleansing and exfoliating routine and stick with it. Remember that a healthy diet will help, and so will staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water.