Saying that acne is "frustrating" is a major understatement. Even more annoying? When it drags on long past your teenage years. But it's a reality: According to the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, 54 percent of women age 25 or older struggle with facial acne. Let that sink in. More than half!
But if you're looking to whip your complexion into shape, you'll want to make sure you're not engaging in any self-sabotaging skin patterns first. Read on for five easy habits to incorporate to quickly start clearing up your skin—and make any treatments you apply work even better.
Double cleanse every night.
Between sunscreen, makeup, and all the dirt, debris, and pollution your skin encounters during the day, one cleanse at night is simply not enough. Not only are you leaving pore-clogging particles behind, but using an acne treatment on top of semi-dirty skin will keep it from working at its full potential.
For your first cleanse, use an oil or balm cleanser—like Makeup Melt—to melt
away makeup and sunscreen. Rinse, then use a gel or cream wash, which will now be able to cleanse deeper within your pores.
Slow down on exfoliating.
You've heard that sloughing away dead skin cells will help your skin turn over faster, keeping your pores clearer. So doing it more must be even better for your skin, right? Not so fast. When we exfoliate, we're intentionally damaging our skin to bring those fresh cells to the surface. But overdoing it means our skin barrier becomes so damaged, it can't properly heal and keeps our skin in a permanent state of inflammation (A.K.A. perfect environment for acne!). Try exfoliating once weekly—ideally with a chemical exfoliator—and see how much better your complexion is after just a few weeks.
Don't write off facial oils.
We know, we know: It seems counterintuitive to use oil on acne-prone skin. But if you haven't tried it, it may be your skin's saving grace. Just because you have acne, doesn't actually mean your skin is oily. In fact, your skin may be so dry (from all those dehydrating acne treatments!), it's overcompensating by ramping up its own oil production and clogging your pores.
Try a facial oil with known anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial ingredients to fight acne while you nourish your complexion. Balancing Oil has black cumin seed oil, which has been beloved for battling breakouts for so long, even Cleopatra and Nefertiti swore by it.
Did you know your pillowcase can be a major breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria? Doubly true if you sleep with pets in your bed! Make sure to change your pillowcase at least once a week. Bonus points for using a satin or silk pillowcase, which tugs on skin less, preventing wrinkles.
Another pro tip from our founder and CEO, Sarah Biggers-Stewart:
"If you don’t wash your hair before you go to bed each night, sleeping with your hair down is the perfect setup for acne. Throughout the day, our hair accrues oil, dirt, bacteria, etc. – none of which are an issue for your hair, but do pose a concern for your skin. Consider purchasing a head scarf or bonnet to put over your hair at night. I was pleasantly surprised how much of a difference this made for me."
Minimize the ingredients in your makeup.
Yes, there's a laundry list of ingredients out there that are known to clog pores. But your skin may also be sensitive to some ingredients that don't typically pose a problem for others. (BTW, the term "non-comedogenic" is largely unregulated, so even products labeled as such could still be causing issues.)
A safe bet: Look for makeup with a much shorter ingredient list, which will substantially lower your odds of having a reaction (breakout or otherwise). CLOVE + HALLOW formulates under our Clean15™ strategy, a guarantee that every product has 15 or fewer ingredients. Swap your foundation for our Liquid Skin Tint or Pressed Mineral Foundation, and your concealer for our Conceal + Correct formula, and you could see dramatic improvements in your skin.