No one likes waking up, looking in the mirror, and finding that a new pimple formed “overnight.” Treating these blemish spots is a lot harder to do once they’re already there. Acne can take a while to disappear… and sometimes causes scars and pits that take even longer.
That’s why we want to give you these tips to help prevent acne breakouts. But don’t fret, if you’re currently experiencing blemish spots, it’s not too late. These tips can help you minimize the appearance of active acne too.
Why Is My Face Breaking Out?
Experiencing acne as an adult can feel confusing and discouraging… so much so that you may be wondering, “Why is my face breaking out?”. First of all, we want you to know you’re not alone. It’s thought that between 12–24% of women in the United States suffer from adult acne.
Acne (in everyone, not just adults) is caused by excess oil production, clogged pores, inflammation, and/or bacteria. In adults, these factors are often influenced by hormones, stress, diet, as well as makeup, skin care, and hair care products.
How to Prevent a Breakout
Before we jump right into tips on how to prevent breakouts, remember this: Sometimes preventing breakouts is outside of your control. It just happens… so don’t be too hard on yourself. These eight tips will help boost your overall skin care health too, acne or not.
Wash Your Face With a Gentle Cleanser
Getting rid of bacteria, dirt, and other impurities on your skin is an important component in helping prevent and fight acne breakouts. How do you do this? Well, wash your face, of course! Unfortunately, though, many standard face washes may contain ingredients that strip your skin of its natural oils and disrupt your skin microbiome, both of which can exacerbate issues like acne.
Instead of using a harsh cleanser, then, you’ll want to look for a gentle face wash to cleanse your skin, not strip it.
The ideal face wash will:
- Contain only the ingredients you need, none you don't
- Be fragrance-free and chemical preservative-free
- Be free of harsh soaps that wash away healthy bacteria and disrupt the skin microbiome
- Be hypoallergenic
Eat a Skin-Friendly Diet
It’s no secret that the foods we eat can affect our skin. Some people may be more sensitive to specific foods than others; however, two major food groups associated with increased acne include refined carbs and dairy.
One study shows that young adults (aged 18 to 30) who regularly consume milk and ice cream are four times more likely to experience acne.
Some research has also shown that people with acne consume more refined carbs (such as white bread, crackers, pasta, white rice, etc.) than people with little or no acne. Like with dairy, these refined carbs can have an effect on insulin and blood sugar levels that may negatively impact the severity of acne.
Insulin increases androgen hormone activity and spikes IGF-1. This can cause skin cells to grow more quickly and increase sebum production, causing acne.
Although some evidence suggests eating a dairy-free and low-refined carb diet may help you reduce the severity of acne, more research is still needed. Always be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before making any dietary changes.
Be Cautious of Overly-Drying Products
Many conventional products for acne-prone and oily skin are very drying. Why? The misconception is that because acne is often caused by excess oil clogging the pores, you’ll need to strip the skin of this “acne-causing” oil.
The major flaw with this school of thought is that your skin needs its natural oil. Oil in moderation is essential for skin barrier health. Even worse, when you use these overly-drying products that wash away the skin’s natural oils, the sebaceous glands may begin to produce even more oil. The result? Your skin is even oilier than when you started. So be very weary of overly-drying products that rob your skin of its oil.
Ingredients that can dry out your skin if overused include drying alcohols (like isopropyl alcohol), salicylic acid, and glycolic acid.
Use Non-Comedogenic Makeup
Finding makeup for acne-prone skin can be challenging… But for the best makeup for sensitive, blemish-prone skin, you’ll want to look for non-comedogenic makeup, which simply means cosmetics that aren’t likely to clog your pores.
Some cosmetic products may advertise that they’re non-comedogenic on the packaging, but many don’t. To know whether your makeup is comedogenic, try checking the brand’s FAQ page or reach out to customer service. A customer service representative can likely tell you whether a product is comedogenic or not.
Balance Your Skin Microbiome
Your skin microbiome on the outermost layer of skin is home to trillions of bacteria, both good and bad, that help to protect your skin from foreign invaders… but your microbiome can only do this when the bacteria on your skin are in balance. When bad bacteria start to overpopulate and overpower the good, the imbalance weakens your natural protective barrier and can contribute to skin conditions like acne.
Thankfully, bringing balance back to your skin microbiome isn’t as difficult as it may sound.
Gladskin Blemish Gel with Micreobalance® (coming soon!) balances your skin microbiome to reduce the appearance of blemishes. It visibly reduces stubborn blemishes and redness with only the ingredients you need, and none that you don’t. That means you don’t have to deal with irritation and other unwanted side effects.
Hydrate Your Skin
Oily skin doesn’t equal hydrated skin. You can have oily skin and dehydrated skin at the same time. That’s why moisturizing your skin while you’re dealing with acne is still a must. You won’t want to moisturize your skin with just any lotion or moisturizer, though. Look for a facial moisturizer that’s free from fragrances and chemical preservatives
Many people with acne and oily skin find success using lotions with humectants like hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water, effectively locking in moisture in the skin, making it more hydrated and plump. By allowing your skin cells to hold on to the appropriate amount of water, hyaluronic acid helps signal to the skin to stop overproducing unneeded oil, a major benefit for acne sufferers.
Practice Acne-Friendly Hygiene
As a person dealing with acne, it’s even more important than ever to practice healthy hygiene habits. Sometimes acne-friendly hygiene practices can feel extreme, but by keeping dirt, bacteria, and other impurities off your skin, you’ll hopefully help improve the appearance of blemishes on the skin.
Here are a few hygiene tips to help prevent breakouts:
- Avoid touching or resting your hand against your face. (Hint: Consider how you sleep too. You may not even realize you sleep with your hand beneath your head.)
- Keep hair off of your face when possible.
- Frequently wash your phone, pillowcases, makeup brushes, and any other items that may come into contact with your face.
- Always take your makeup off before bed.
- Regularly wash the towel you use to dry your face.
Keep Going Strong
Even if you’re doing “all the right things,” treating and preventing breakouts won’t happen overnight. Avoiding future blemishes requires patience and persistence — and is sometimes out of our direct control. By supporting your skin inside and out, though, you can work your way toward happier, healthier skin for the long haul.