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5 Simple Life Changes to Banish Acne Once and For All

If you’re looking to improve your complexion, it might be time to switch up your routine.

For those who suffer from chronic acne, it may seem impossible to stop new pimples from sprouting up. But as many of you have likely learned the hard way, fad skincare regimens and in-vogue products rarely provide more than temporary relief from breakouts. In fact, many of these so-called acne remedies actually irritate skin and exacerbate your acne.

But before we talk long-term solutions, let’s remember what causes acne in the first place. Although the source of your breakouts might seem mystical, the truth is fairly straightforward — oil production, hormones, bacteria, or some combination of the three are most likely to blame for your imperfections.

While a single product is unlikely to solve all your acne woes, some simple life changes can go a long way towards clearing up your skin. Here are some easy adjustments you can make that will have a beneficial impact on your breakouts:

1. Try a Hands-Off Approach

Remember how annoying it was when your mom told you to stop touching your acne? Well, it turns out she was right. According to a study completed at the University of Colorado, there are nearly 332,000 genetically distinct bacteria on any given human hand. Given that bacteria is one of the primary causes of acne, the message is clear: hands off!

The less you touch your face, the fewer bacteria are transferred to your pores. You should also be wary of cell phone use, pillowcases, or any other object that touches your face frequently. If it’s not clean, keep it away from your skin.

2. Get More Sleep

While many acne-related anecdotes are only myths, this one holds true: stress causes acne. Or, at the very least, the two are very closely linked. During periods of stress, the cells that produce sebum (the oil on your face that can clog your pores) are activated, as are many other sources of inflammation throughout your body. A simple solution? A few more hours of shut-eye each night can help regulate stress levels, thereby keeping breakouts under control.

3. Work It Out

Another great way to alleviate stress is by committing yourself to a consistent workout routine. With the endorphins you’ll release (alongside many other welcome side effects), regular exercise will help you feel better, sleep better, even eat better — all habits conducive to the maintenance of glowing skin. But be very careful to wash your face after every workout. Because sweat clogs pores, workouts can actually worsen acne if proper preventative measures aren’t taken.

4. Add Omega-3 to Your Diet

Omega-3 fatty acids can control the production of leukotriene B4, which is one of the well-known causes of inflammatory acne. Plus, Omega-3s improve cholesterol, introduce antioxidants into your diet, and help protect your skin from harmful UV radiation. Add an Omega-3 supplement or up your intake of foods rich in Omega-3 (like salmon and avocados) to help minimize acne and improve your overall health.

5. Be Gentle

Acne might be tough to treat, but your skin is extremely delicate. Whether you have dry or oily skin, the frequent use of harsh products on your face is sure to overdry it, causing inflammation and increased oil production. Ingredients like benzoyl peroxide are great — just be careful to use them in moderation!

If you have any questions about specific lifestyle changes you should be making to counteract acne, contact a dermatologist so you can get started on a personalized plan.

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