Your skin is on the outside of your body, so it’s only natural to think of it as something to be maintained from the outside. And breakouts are so obviously on the surface, that topical treatments are the first thing we think of. But there are some very simple lifestyle adjustments you can make to help fight breakouts before they even begin.
Here are four of our favorites:
Get Plenty Of Sleep
Your body is doing more while you sleep than simply dreaming – it’s performing routine and preventative maintenance – from healing existing breakouts to keeping new ones from forming.. So to rob yourself of this precious sleep time (you should be getting between 7 and 9 hours a night), you are asking your body to run on less than adequate maintenance – like asking your car to go 100,000 miles without an oil change – not a good idea. Help your body perform its routine maintenance by ensuring that you remove all your makeup before bed and cleansing thoroughly.
Some women avoid exercise like the plague, believing that the exertion will cause breakouts. They are only partially right. The exercise itself certainly doesn’t cause a breakout – in fact, it can help your skin expel toxins that build up over the day. It’s the treatment of your skin before, during and after your workout that makes the difference.
First, remove your makeup before you exercise. Unless your makeup is specifically designed as an acne-fighting makeup, it can clog your pores and lead to the very breakout you’re trying to avoid by exercising. Look for products that contain salicylic acid and are oil-free and noncomedogenic (won’t clog pores).
Second, wear appropriate clothing – just because it’s a cute outfit doesn’t mean it’s functional. Wear clothing that will wick perspiration away form your body and allow heat to escape. Otherwise your sebaceous (oil-producing) glands can shift into overdrive – and who wants excess oil?
Third, be sure to bathe as soon as possible after your workout. Cleanse your body with an exfoliating wash. Look for one with salicylic acid to help unclog your pores.
Have An Outlet For Stress Relief
Stress itself doesn’t cause acne, but it can indirectly make it worse. When we’re stressed, we do things we normally don’t and don’t do some things we normally do. In other words, stress can give us the excuse we’re looking for to drop our good habits in favor of bad ones. We make poor diet choices, sleep poorly and maybe skip a workout here or there. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol – that’s the culprit that make you crave ice cream and convinces you that the gym is too crowded to go. Cortisol itself can cause inflammation that leads to breakouts, so if you’re already neglecting some good habits in favor of some bad ones, this can be twice as bad.
Find a way to relieve your stress that works for you. If working out does it for you, then you’ve got a two-for-one activity. But maybe you just need silence to meditate. Or a good book and a cup of coffee. Whatever it is that helps you decompress, make that an integral part of your day. Block it out on your calendar I you have to, but make time to decompress.
A Balanced Diet
We’ve all heard that chocolate and greasy foods can cause acne, but the truth of the matter is that it is still unclear what effect any foods actually have on breakouts. We do know one thing for sure – staying properly hydrated and eating a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables is the best way to stay healthy and have clear skin.