I think when it comes to acne for me, we have been acquaintances for as long as I remember. Attending boarding school in Nigeria, I remember receiving skincare advice from anyone that was willing to give, trying a bunch of products—that had my skin go on a rampage leaving me with worse skin—inflamed, burnt and even a time when I had red acne scars all over my skin.
But after so many failed attempts, I made a resolution! So instead of just trying to get rid of acne, I will try to find out why I had acne to begin with. I believe in this sense, the notion of "prevention is better than cure" can be applied. Well that ended up being a success and now I have come up with ways to prevent acne and deal with it through lifestyle changes. Inexpensive and simple!
So on that note, here are 10 Skincare tips for acne prevention and battling acne that I have learnt over the years. P.S: Sometimes it can be our hormones messing with us, so you can do everything right and still get a visit from Mr. Pimple!
- TAKE SPECIAL CARE OF YOUR PILLOW
The first step for me always is what I allow to come in contact with my skin, I try to be cautious and take control of the things I can, one of which is the pillow I sleep on. When it comes to pillows especially for ladies, we put all sorts of oils on our hair and sometimes sleep with our hair uncovered. Some people lie down with makeup on their face and all the grime transfers to our pillows. This added with the dust and other dirt that finds its way to your pillow and then your face making it the worst perpetrator for acne.
Solution: try to sleep with a scarf at night to reduce transferring bacteria and oil to your pillow which can make it's way to your skin and clog your pores. Make sure you change your pillowcase at least once a week.
Another daily act that can affect our skin is the towel we clean our face with. Not many people are aware that you shouldn't use the towel that you clean your body with, on your face. The skin on our face is very sensitive and regardless of how much you take a shower there are still some bacteria left on your body, so using the same towel can transfer bacteria from your body to your face. So it is ideal for prevention, to have a separate face towel. I recommend using a white towel as it can visibly show you when it is dirty, regardless, wash the towel as often as possible, as a dirty towel can lead to more acne!
P.S: It is preferable when you can to naturally air dry your face rather than using a towel!
- DO YOU SLEEP WITH YOUR MAKEUP ON?
Makeup, one of the biggest reasons for acne. How many of you are aware that you should under no circumstance sleep with makeup on? It isn't rocket science that wearing makeup, layers and layers of it, for a period of time mixed with all the exposure from dust and all the other bacteria during the day, then sleeping with it will do a major clogging of pores! So make sure to remove the makeup on your face before sleeping.
P.S: using make up wipes ONLY to remove your makeup is NOT removing makeup. You should use a facial soap as well.
- DRY AND TIGHT FEELING AFTER WASHING YOUR FACE?
This most probably is because of the PH level of whatever you used to wash your face. I learnt not too long ago about how PH level can affect your skin. I spoke a little bit about it here and I also gave links for further reading. The most surprising discovery for me is that washing your face with just water is actually not good for the skin as the PH level, especially in hard water, is at a level higher than normal for contact with the skin.
So using a facial soap/cleanser with a low PH is necessary to balance out. Here is a list of different skincare products and their PH level for reference!
- WATER IS THE CHEAPEST & MOST IMPORTANT SKINCARE PRODUCT
Generally people tend to take drinking water for granted, ideally the average female should drink 2.5 litres of water a day and 3.5 litres for the average male—This is the basic quantity but you are welcome to increase your water intake. We are constantly losing water through sweat and urine and if you are very active, then you are loosing more.
So it is ideal to replenish. Water isn't just good for the outer layer of your skin but also good for the inside as well. Not only does it keep you hydrated hence radiant looking skin but it also help get rid of toxins. P.S: it is normal to go to the bathroom more frequent than usual when you increase your water intake so don't freak out :)
- HOW YOU TREAT YOUR "INSIDE" CAN AFFECT HOW YOU LOOK ON THE "OUTSIDE"
What you put into your body will be clearly seen outside your body and a lot of research has shown that your diet can also affect the quality of your skin. People with acne problems can attest to foods high in fat such as peanuts increasing the acne on their face. You should monitor the types of foods that worsen your acne and try to avoid it or reduce the frequency you eat it.
On the flip side, increase the presence of fruits and vegetables in your diet. This can be through drinking more smoothies/juice preferably those with leafy greens such as Kale, lettuce, spinach and so on. Try good fats such as avocado and nuts, and finally strive to have at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables in your diet! Your skin will thank you later ;)
- MOISTURIZE TODAY FOR YOUR SKIN IN THE FUTURE
The benefit of moisturizing was something I learnt a little bit late in my skincare regimen. I remember watching the Wendy Williams show and her always emphasizing how the best thing you can do for yourself is to moisturize. And she usually says that when she is talking about people who look waaay too old for their age!
Obviously I didn't wanna be that in the future so I quickly did my research and now I am an avid moisturizer—if that's a thing! If this little anecdote doesn't convince you then I don't know what will.
- EXERCISE, NOT JUST FOR YOUR HEART BUT YOUR SKIN TOO!
Exercise helps to increase blood flow and reduce stress so exercising often can actually positively affect your skin. The increased blood flow helps to get rid of the bad toxins from your system and increases the flow of oxygen which is good for your skin. Reducing stress is also good for the skin as sometimes stress is the major culprit for our breakouts.
P.S when exercising, there are certain germ preventing rules to abide by such as using antibacterial wipes on the equipment and preventing using your hand to directly touch your face or wipe sweat.
- DEVELOP A SKINCARE REGIMEN FOR MORNING AND NIGHT
A skin care regimen is one of the best gift I gave my skin. I was inspired by the 10-step Korean skincare routine to develop my own routine for Morning and Night. Everyday, I use a bunch of products to make sure I cleanse and Exfoliate my skin, I nourish and replenish as well as protect it from everyday harms. And after doing this for a while, I notice that falling off the bandwagon, I see great differences in the quality of my skin! Here is a break down of why you need the skin care routine and how to get one! Good luck ;D
- SMILE, IT'S GOOD FOR YOU!
I am sure you are thinking, "a'ah where is Mira going with this one again?"[insert pidgin accent] but I promise you that there is research to back it up. Smiling is associated with feeling happy and feeling good so when we smile we signal our brain to release the happy hormone known as endorphins.
Also smiling is known to slow down the formation of wrinkles on our face which is an added bonus right?! Plus who doesn't want to be happy as often times as they can?
That's it, I hope these tips are handy for you guys. If you found it useful, share with your friends and internet friends, they may also learn a thing or two from it.