I know I’ve been overloading you guys with posts regarding how I’ve been trying to clear up my skin. Having received quite a few emails after my Current Skin Saviours post, I decided to make a short list of things you need to take into account when you’re suffering from break outs, as only changing your skincare won’t be enough. These guidelines vary from skincare to eating habits. I’ve seen great results in the past 6 weeks in my skin when trying to ‘follow’ these guidelines accompanied with new skincare. Of course it doesn’t mean your skin will become immaculate immediately, but a healthier lifestyle is always a plus and like the old saying goes: you are what you eat. Oh, just read on.
There are different kinds of acne and different kinds of spot. The list would be never ending if I were to note down every single thing that’d apply per acne type, so it’s a rather general list with things that I changed and worked for me. You should see some improvements in your skin or even feeling better in body after a week or two. To make the post short and sweet (i.e. no space for ramblings) and easy for you to follow, it’s all noted in bullet points in no particular order, separated by things to do and not to do.
- AVOID DAIRY. dairy contains hormones that can alter our endocrine system and contribute to acne. Milk contains androgen hormones, which increases your testosterone levels – making your skin more oily and prone to acne. EDIT: make sure you add leafy greens, supplements and oils to your diet to maintain healthy and get the needed vitamins and minerals in your diet (more below).
- DON’T SMOKE.
- AVOID SUGAR. including chocolate (see next point).
- AVOID CHOCOLATE. yes, chocolate does indeed lead to spots, however, that is most of the time when you eat the milk variant, as it contains lots of sugar and dairy (see point one). A tiny chunk of dark chocolate is actually deemed healthy and good for your heart – with tiny I mean 5 – 10 grams a day.
- AVOID ALCOHOL. alcohol in skincare products might aggravate the skin and dry out the skin, which leads to flakey bits and an increase of sebum, which then leads to more spots. Booze on the other hand is loaded with sugar, is extremely dehydrating and raises your body temperature, increasing inflammation.
- AVOID HARSH SCRUBS. harsh scrubs in my books are scrubs where you can feel the beads scratching over your face. When you have active spots, it can scratch them open, making all the fluid/bacteria from your blemish spread all over your face. Lurvely.
- AVOID ‘SQUEAKY CLEAN’. many products for the blemish-prone skin advertise their products as making your skin squeaky clean. I’m telling you this just once so you better remember: the only things that need to be ‘squeaky clean’ are you bathroom and your car. Most of the cleansers in this category are gel based and contain loads of SLS – Sodium Laurel Sulphate – which dries the skin significantly. Which is bad, very bad.
- CAN’T TOUCH THIS. you know, like the MC Hammer song, but then about your face. At all costs avoid picking red cysts, that will just aggravate the spot and the bacteria of your hands won’t help. Though if you have whiteheads, you may pop it. I’d recommend using the special ‘facial needle’ to pop the spot and use two clean cotton pads to squeeze it till there’s no gush and lots of blood anymore. Then use a cotton bud dipped in a bit of your acid toner (more below) on the freshly squeezed blemish to ‘seal’ and disinfect it until the bleeding stops.
- AVOID MINERAL OILS. at all cost. Besides doing nothing for the skin – it’s like a ‘coat’ of oil making it impossible for the ‘good ingredients’ to sink into the skin – it can also end up clogging your pores.
- DRINK LOTS OF WATER. it does not only hydrate your skin and body, but also flushes out all the bad toxins in your body. Try to drink 6 – 8 glasses a day. I can really see a difference when I simply am too busy to drink something *face palm* and when I drink lots of water. If for whatever reason you don’t like drinking water, try drinking green tea (great way to get rid of toxins and packed with anti oxidants).
- EAT LEAFY GREENS.
- TAKE SUPPLEMENTS.
- TAKE OILS. with a special shout out to all the Omega oils, pure cod liver and flaxseed, Udo’s oil when you’re vegetarian. Also when you’re not vegetarian Udo’s is brilliant and your skin will love you for ever.
- SLEEP. at least 8 hours a day. Just watch less reality TV shows, you woman.
- GO NATURAL/ORGANIC. your skin is your biggest organ, so you should treat it with care. Slapping on the chemicals will not only damage your body but also won’t result in clear(er) skin. There are many natural and organic brands out there that are not green-washing themselves and remain rather affordable for the quality they offer. A few favourites are Pai, Nourish, Aurelia, Amie, balance Me, Caudalie and REN.
- CLEANSE YOUR SKIN. twice a day, morning and evening – don’t over cleanse though, that’ll just have adverse effects.
- RELAX. don’t stress about your skin too much, as stress can aggravate the condition of your skin. Also, take your time cleansing your skin. As it’s your largest organ, it deserves all the care in the world for what it’s doing everyday to keep you alive. Imagine yourself without skin. Yeah… not so pretty.
- HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE. don’t be afraid to slap on oils when you’ve got oily or combination skin. As long as these aren’t mineral oils, you’ll see your skin will love you for it, as most of the time your skin is just dehydrated. balance Me, Pai, Nourish, OV Naturals, Aurelia and Gamila Secret are some of my favourite brands that do natural/organic oils.
- USE TOPICAL EXFOLIANTS. one word: acids – have your pick with salicylic, lactic or glycolic. Acids help to reduce blocked pores, remove dead skin cells. Be careful to not get over excited with the acids, I prefer having it every other day or every two days even. NB. don’t forget to use a moisture-adding toner afterwards to balance the skin.
- SNACK HEALTHY. I find my breakouts the worst when I’m snacking very unhealthy – think junk food in general. As I’m a snacker, it’s just something I can’t stop doing, I have to have some healthy and skin-friendly options ready, which means lots of fruits (bananas, berries and grapes are my faves) and raw nuts. Both are great to fill you up, whilst still being healthy and beneficial for your skin and body.
Okay, so the list became a bit more than just a few steps, but hopefully they’ll be helpful in any way. do let me know if you guys got some other great tips I’ve missed. N.B. If your skin is really red, bumpy, full with cystic acne and just sore and you’ve tried everything in regard of skincare, holistic treatments and healthy lifestyle changes I’d recommend going to the dermatologist as antibiotics or special topical creams might help reducing the inflammation.
What will you change in your lifestyle/eating habits/skincare regime?
image c.o. pinterest