You’re getting ready in the mirror when suddenly you see it - the tell-tale angry red spot that means you’re about to get another pimple. Or, maybe you’re going peacefully about your day when you feel it - a painful, inflamed area of your skin signaling that a major zit is forming just under the surface.
Acne reveals itself in many different ways on our skin, but there are two constants - all acne is some kind of clogged pore, and no one really wants to get it.
Why Do Pimples Form?
Whether you’re dealing with whiteheads or blackheads, acne starts deep in the pores of your skin. There, your sebaceous glands excrete sebum, a natural oil that keeps your skin moisturized and healthy, protecting against infection. During hormonal changes like puberty, your skin may produce more sebum than necessary, which can clog your pores and create pimples.
Your skin is also continually shedding old corneocytes or skin cells. Some pimples are the result of sloughed-off skin cells getting stuck inside your pores. A whitehead or blackhead refers to whether the comedones or pore openings are closed over by the buildup or remains open.
A pimple officially forms when the clogged pore is infected by the bacteria P. acnes, inflaming the area. Cystic acne is typically caused by the clogged pore material and bacteria leaking into the surrounding skin, causing a larger infection.
So, now that you know what you’re dealing with, how do you stop acne in its tracks? Read on for 10 tips on how to prevent pimples and acne of all kinds.
How to Prevent Acne
Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated improves your body’s overall functioning, and it may also help keep your skin clear. Drinking water improves your immune system’s ability to function, helping you fight bacteria-caused breakouts faster. Staying hydrated also enhances your skin’s microbiome, making your skin healthier overall.
While facial steam alone won’t clear clogged pores, using steam makes blackheads easier to remove and allows skin-clearing products to penetrate deeper. It also increases circulation. Try heating a bowl of water and sitting over it for about 2-minute sessions, or as long as it is comfortable. For the fullest effects, try adding a few drops of essential oils to the water to relax your senses and get glowing skin.
Research shows that people with acne tend to have lower levels of zinc in their blood than people with clear skin. While the connections are still being understood, taking zinc has been used to successfully treat severe acne. Making sure you get enough zinc through diet and vitamins may help you get clearer skin. However, you should be careful not to take too much - the upper limit is 40 mg per day taken orally.
Revive Citrus Scrub
This acne preventing citrus scrub helps clear existing breakouts and prevent new ones. Formulated to manage acne that stems from hormonal and bacterial sources, Revive Citrus Scrub uses natural ingredients to deliver healthier, clearer skin. The sesame oil and saw palmetto extracts protect skin cells from inflammation and damage, while argan oil provides deep hydration without clogging pores.
Don’t forget to take good care of your hair when fighting acne, especially if it’s oily. Using chemical products like heavy gels and hair sprays can clog the pores around your face and cause pimples. If you find yourself breaking out around your forehead and cheeks, keeping your hair pulled back may reduce the amount of bacteria on your face, helping you get clearer skin.
Avoid Touching Your Face
Your hair isn’t the only culprit spreading bacteria on your skin. If you touch your face often, you might be causing breakouts. Your hands can transfer dirt, bacteria, and more onto your skin every time you scratch your face, rest your chin in your hands, or, worst of all, pick at irritated patches. You can try substituting other behaviors to break the habit, like folding your hands or tapping your fingers every time you notice yourself touching your face. You can also try activities that will keep your hands busy, like playing games or drawing, to give your skin a break.
Don’t Stay Sweaty
Perspiration can cause acne, but you don’t need to stop working out to fix it. Instead, wash your face after you exercise or sweat. If you want to minimize the risk of a sweat-induced breakout, remove your makeup before hitting the gym. This leaves less material on your face that could clog your pores when you start to sweat.
If you need to take a picture or give a presentation and don’t have time to wait for a zit to clear up on its own. Wrap an ice cube in a thin towel, and press it against the pimple for 3 to 4 minutes. Ice will reduce swelling and redness, making a zit less noticeable in a pinch.
Use Non-Comedogenic Makeup
When selecting products, look for ones that say they’re non-comedogenic, meaning they’re specially formulated not to clog pores. You can also look for oil-free makeup products to make sure you won’t be adding anything to your skin that will make you more prone to breakouts.
Change Your Pillowcases
Dirt, sweat, oils, and grime can build up on your sheets and pillowcases, transferring to your face when you lie down at night. Changing your pillowcase two or three times a week is a simple step to reduce the amount of bacteria on your face, preventing acne flare-ups.