If I started noticed my skin was oily and full of tiny oil dots and eventually, gross zits around 14 years old. And trust me when I say I tried everything from the drugstore. A few brands I can remember trying are Clean&Clear, L’Oreal, RoC, Avene, Oxy, you name it. After about 2 years of trying all that and still having problem skin, I went to the apparent killer of the toughest acne (even though my acne really wasn’t that bad): ProActiv.
… And I cannot begin to explain what it did to me. That thing roughed up my skin like no other. It is incredibly drying and strong, I looked like someone burned my skin, it was awful. I tried it for one day and then threw everything away. So my suggestion before even thinking about trying ProActiv is to take a good look at your acne: is it mild, in the middle or severe? And don’t be dramatic. I thought my acne was “severe” just because I kept getting zits non stop, but when I mentioned it to my doctor she almost slapped me and said my acne was “mild” at most, “ you drama queen”. So don’t be too hard on yourself and be realistic.
Eventually, I tried a brand called Therapeutic, which worked fine for me for a while. However, as I mentioned how I discovered Clinique’s 3 Step Skincare System, I switched to that and have been using that ever since. However, I only use the cleanser and moisturizer – the toner made my skin too oily. Overall though, my skin cleared up and I definitely have Clinique and growing up to thank (I believe it was around 20 years old; the year of no longer being a teenager, that my skin started to behave.)
And though I have finally found my perfect regime and have thankfully outgrown acne, during my “acne years” I have learnt certain practices and things to remember.
1. Keep your hair away from your face
Keep your hair away from your face as much as possible. I used to get those really annoying “invisible” zits – I think they are called oil ducts – on my forehead and I know my hair played a big part, because that thing is always dirty. So anytime I was at home, I’d wear a hair band and this really helped with those little oil ducts – they cleared up eventually. Also, notice if you tend to get pimples around your hairline – if so, your hair is definitely not helping. Wash your hair regularly and use a hairband or tie it up as much as possible.
2. Remove makeup ASAP
That’s right, remove all your makeup the second you get home from school/work. And don’t wear makeup (by makeup I mean foundation and/or other face products) if it’s not necessary. Let your skin breathe. It’s the best thing you can do for it. After school, I’d immediately wash my face and for the weekends, I’d try my best to be makeup free (unless there was something like a party). Basically, be makeup free as much as you can.
3. “Oil-free” is your best friend
Use “oil-free” EVERYTHING. Foundation, cleanser, sunscreen… nothing with the word “oil” was allowed to come anywhere near my face. I know the consensus is that “if you don’t put oil on your face, your face will think it’s dry and produce more oil”. This is true, but I am talking about what has worked for me; and I always, to this day, choose oil-free versions. For me, this “your skin needs oil rule” does not apply.
4. Carry oil blotters around
They are really useful in sucking up that extra layer of grease that tends to creep up on your face after lunchtime, and throughout the day. I found that the powdered ones were even better (my fave was by Gatsby), as it also provides a light touch-up of loose powder.
5. Stay away from certain makeup
Shimmery eyeshadows, lipglosses and highlighters will just draw attention to the shine on your face, making it look more shiny and oily. This is especially true for foundations and blush with shimmer (or worse glitter) on them – avoid, avoid, avoid! Also, stay away from red lipstick, reddish blush, red eyeshadow – this will only “bring out” the redness in your pimples and make them seem more obvious.
6. Find a great zit cream
Use zit cream regularly every night. This one was (and still is, I have it on standby just in case!) my favorite one.
7. Watch your diet
I don’t care what anyone says, but after eating junk food or greasy chips, I’d always get a new breakout. Always. (And as we discussed, I’m not the only one!) Try not to eat anything greasy and oily.
8. Whatever you do, do not pick!
I admit, I’ve done this before. But really, picking at your zit (especially big and cystic ones) will lead to a lot of scarring that is very hard to get rid of in the long run. My best friend and I both had acne in highschool, and while I did squeeze a little here and there (nothing too much), my friend really picked her face and today she tells me how much she regrets it because she has a few permanent scars. So – hand off!
And there we have it. The 8 daily habits that all acne suffers would benefit from. And remember, acne is bad; but it is not the end of the world. Be patient with trying to find the right regime and products that work for you, and always allow 6 weeks for a new skincare product to work before you decide to ditch it. As far as makeup goes, try to keep it off your face as much as you can, and as for everything else – your key word is “clean”!
I hope some of my tips have helped you. Do you suffer from acne, or have suffered from acne? If you have in the past, I really hope you can leave a comment and share your experiences and tips to further help other readers!