When most people think of acne they think of pimple-faced teenagers going through hormonal changes. Of course they're going to break out with all of those hormones bubbling under the surface! However, acne doesn't just occur in teenagers.
In fact, adult onset acne is a serious concern for many people, especially individuals in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Whether you're looking for a partner out in the world or you're just trying to build a career for yourself, acne can feel debilitating and embarrassing when you're an adult.
While your dermatologist may be able to help you, there are some things you can try on your own to help get rid of acne and fight blemishes. These six tips are all healthy and low-risk, so there's no reason not to make them part of your skin care regime.
1. Wash Regularly, Not Constantly
Individuals prone to acne and breakouts tend to be careful with their skincare routine. When going through flareups, it isn't uncommon for people to wash their face morning, noon and night, using a litany of products between scrubbings.
The problem is that your skin has natural oils that keep it healthy, even when you've got acne. When you wash too frequently you strip those oils from your skin. When your skin overcompensates and begins producing more oils, you are left even more prone to breakouts and worsening acne.
Instead of washing with a facial cleanser three or four times per day, your best bet is to simply do it in the evening or after you perspire. If you have oily skin, you can wash in the morning as well; but for most people, even those with acne, it isn't necessary. In fact, a splash of cool water is all you need in the morning to refresh your skin and reduce acne-related redness.
2. Eat Yogurt
You've probably heard that yogurt is excellent for your body, and many nutritionists and mainstream magazines are touting it as a superfood for weight loss because of its ability to curb your appetite. While all of that is true, yogurt has some skincare benefits as well.
Yogurt is good for your skin is because it helps aid in digestion. When you have healthy digestion that means fewer toxins stick around in your body, and that can reduce overall inflammation, even in the skin. Whole Greek yogurt is the best choice because it contains the most vitamins, minerals and protein, but low-fat yogurt is also beneficial for individuals worried about calorie consumption. Just make sure the yogurt you buy contains helpful probiotics and cultures.
3. Use Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar
You might already have a bottle of apple cider vinegar in your pantry for salad dressing or cooking, but chances are you've never thought about putting it on your face. Apple cider vinegar can have some pretty dramatic effects when applied topically, especially when it comes to reducing redness, inflammation and irritation.
To use apple cider vinegar, mix three parts filtered or bottled water with one part apple cider vinegar. Stir or shake the mixture to fully combine the ingredients. Once combined, dab the mixture onto affected areas and leave it on for 10 minutes before washing your face with a gentle cleanser.
If you're going to use apple cider vinegar topically, you'll want to look for the unfiltered raw stuff. It contains more beneficial ingredients than the filtered and pasteurized variety you'll find next to the white vinegar in the grocery store.
4. Buy Quality Moisturizer
Washing your face sparingly and using topical mixtures like apple cider vinegar can help, but a lot of people forget to use a moisturizer once they're done cleansing and treating skin. Some people think they don't even need one if they have oily acne-prone skin. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Everybody should be using a gentle moisturizer in the evening before bed to keep the skin supple and healthy. Even oily skin can benefit from a moisturizer, and if you're using apple cider vinegar or any over-the-counter products that contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, glycolic acid or lactic acid, you need quality moisturizer even more, since those products can dry you out.
Look for moisturizers labeled non-comedogenic. That's a fancy dermatologist term that means the product isn't likely to irritate acne or cause breakouts.
5. Apply Makeup Sparingly
Makeup might make you look and feel good, and while it might cover up problematic skin temporarily, it can cause irritation and inflammation in the long run. Using low-quality makeup that clogs your pores can also make your breakouts worse.
If you must use makeup for work or a social event, choose quality mineral makeup that is labeled non-comedogenic. Any tinted moisturizer, foundation or primer should also be labeled that way if you want to prevent acne from getting worse.
In addition to choosing quality mineral makeup, you should use makeup remover as soon as possible to let your skin breathe. Don't sleep in your makeup and don't leave it on for longer than necessary. If you do, you could make your acne worse and feel some discomfort from the irritation.
6. Care for Your Hair Properly
Your hairstyle might look great on your face, but having hair on your skin or touching your skin regularly can cause further discomfort for many people who have acne or blemishes. That's because hair products and even the shampoo and conditioner you use might contain ingredients that aggravate your irritated skin.
If you have long hair, consider cutting it so it doesn't cover your skin. Putting your hair up or pushing it off your face -- especially your forehead -- can also help, as can using all-natural hair care products that aren't likely to cause irritation.
Acne is no fun, but it doesn't have to be something you contend with for years. Your dermatologist can help, and these basic remedies can work in the meantime. Best of all, they aren't full of harsh chemicals and they won't make your acne or inflammation worse.