Who doesn’t want to achieve naturally smooth, clear and acne-free skin?
As we enter into a new year, many of us are probably re-evaluating our skincare regime and thinking of ways to attain our best skin yet.
But for some of us with oily, acne-prone skin, it can be harder to keep those pesky blemishes and breakouts at bay; after all, genetics and hormones are largely at play, and it can be difficult to change these internal factors.
However, there are plenty of external factors such as your lifestyle habits that could be contributing to your breakouts and worsening its symptoms.
Even if you are already undergoing an acne treatment with a dermatologist, your results are going to be limited if you don’t combine that with good lifestyle habits. Worse still, adult-onset acne often takes longer to heal because our skin isn’t as resilient as it was in our younger days.
As it turns out, the ultimate recipe to having smooth and acne-free skin that stays that way for a long time involves a comprehensive approach from your diet, daily skincare regime, medications and acne treatments.
So, without further ado, here are 6 bad habits to kick in the new year to boost your acne treatment results and get you one step closer to acne-free skin!
#1. Reduce your stress!
Sleeping allows our skin the chance to naturally repair itself and rebuild its collagen, and not having enough snooze time increases your cortisol levels–aka the stress hormone.
Cortisol has an affinity with our sebaceous glands and signals the skin to secrete more oil and cause inflammation, which can clog up our pores and combine with bacteria to cause a full-blown breakout.
There are studies to prove this–a 2018 study carried out by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency found that stress and anxiety had a negative impact on the skin including increased sebum production, increased inflammation and a decreased barrier function. This also led to the skin having trouble retaining moisture and become more fragile and dehydrated. Other studies have also found that stress can worsen existing acne.
Poor sleep quality has also been linked to skin ageing; however, scientists have found that reducing stress levels using therapies such as yoga and meditation can prove beneficial to acne-prone groups.
While we understand that it is easier said than done, make sure you carve more time in your busy schedule to relax, rejuvenate and pamper yourself–self-care is good for acne!
#2. Stop over-cleansing and over-exfoliating.
When you have oily, acne-prone skin, the last thing you want to do is strip your face of its natural oils and further breakdown its natural protective barrier even further.
A general rule of thumb is to wash your face twice a day, with studies showing that people who follow this having the least amount of pimples.
Reason being: over-washing can cause your skin to dry out, prompting it to produce even more oil to compensate. And dry skin is irritated skin that can cause inflammation, making it more vulnerable to aggressors and pollutants.
While exfoliating your skin is generally good for acne since it sloughs off dead skin cells, prevents the clogging of your pores and can even help reduce the appearance of acne scars, but not if you are doing it every other night.
Over-exfoliating and scrubbing too hard can cause irritation and swelling of clogged pores, and when combined with a drying toner and harsh retinol (which are supposed to help with acne), can potentially worsen acne.
Instead of physical exfoliation and using astringents and rubbing alcohol on your skin, try chemical exfoliation–ingredients like salicylic acid, glycolic acid and lactic acid are much gentler alternatives that get the job done with lesser side effects.
You should also end your skincare regime with a lightweight, hydrating moisturizer and use an acne spot treatment like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide when a new zit appears.
#3. Not showering after your workout.
If you are noticing “backne” occurring in addition to facial acne, it might be due to your gym sessions.
Otherwise known as acne mechanica–this is a type of acne that occurs when there is friction against the skin due to wearing clothes that are too tight and not cleansing your skin after a sweaty workout.
According to dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology, working out can oil, dirt and bacteria to build-up on your skin and clog your pores—all of which can lead to acne.
While regular exercise helps reduce your stress levels and is beneficial for your physical, mental and emotional health, as well as boost blood circulation and flush out toxins; it pays off to opt for breathable, quick-drying fabrics with a looser fit and remembering to wipe down after exercising.
#4. Cut down on high-glycemic and sugary foods and drinks.
There has been a lot of research debating on whether or not certain foods can lead to acne; and while the results aren’t conclusive, there are still some connections that can be made.
According to the latest study published in the medical journal JAMA Dermatology that compared the diet results of more than 24,000 adults, researchers found that those who ate high-fat, high-sugar foods are more likely to have current acne than those who never had acne.
The biggest culprits are dairy products like milk, ice cream and refined sugars like white bread and pasta. They are some studies that suggest whey protein can also cause acne.
Cow’s milk contains growth hormones and other inflammatory substances that can interact with the skin as well as influence our body’s hormones that can stimulate the oil glands and increase clogged pores.
A high-sugar and high-glycemic diet also cause a surge of insulin in the body, which in turn stimulates oil production. Sugar is also known to support inflammation and aggravate acne symptoms.
In short, moderation is key, and eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet containing more probiotics, antioxidants and low GI foods can help fight inflammation, keep you fuller and is also great for your skin and overall health!
#5. Skipping or using the wrong type of sunscreen.
Wearing sunscreen is something that EVERYONE needs to do on the daily as it protects you from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
UVA and UVB rays from the sun not only causes premature ageing, hyperpigmentation and dry skin but also damages the skin’s natural protective barrier and make it more prone to acne; since it is now less efficient at healing and protecting itself.
There is some research suggesting that pollutants and toxins in the air can clog our pores and cause acne, and using sunscreen and antioxidant serums can help fight damaging free radicals.
But do take note: sunscreens can also cause a breakout since it usually comes in thick, greasy formulas which is the perfect recipe for clogging our pores.
Our advice is to use a powdered sunscreen instead or switch to a non-comedogenic, oil-free daily moisturizer with SPF that covers both UVA and UVB rays.
#6. Not visiting your dermatologist for a review and self-treating acne.
If you want to see maximum results, your best bet is to stop waiting and make an appointment with a dermatologist.
The truth is, for those with moderate-to-severe acne, most topicals will likely have limited results; and if you are experiencing painful, pus-filled cystic acne, the last thing you want to do is aggravate it further by trying out different treatments.
Working with a dermatologist will help get you back on track and can get you on a dermatologist-approved skincare routine using the appropriate products for your specific needs and skin type. With an experienced, knowledgeable aesthetic doctor by your side, you are never alone in your journey to acne-free skin!
Break the cycle of acne today @ The Clifford Clinic
Remember: better lifestyle habits = clearer skin!
If you are experiencing more than just the occasional zit and need additional support, our doctors at The Clifford Clinic are here to help!
With more than 20 years of experience in treating acne, our doctors have come up with a unique set of methods and techniques and can recommend a personalized acne treatment program just for you.
To date, our clinic has over 10 different acne treatments that include facials, laser treatments, the innovative AGNES RF and one of our latest technologies, the Gold PTT treatment which promises to treat acne for good!
Our doctors firmly believe that it is possible to cure all kinds of acne—90% of our patients have reported significant improvement in their skin with our treatment programs, and we have continued to work with the remaining 10% to design a longer-term acne treatment for them.
So, why not make this year the year you start replacing your bad habits with healthier, skin-loving ones? For starters, you can consider incorporating our HydraFacial treatment as part of your monthly skincare routine to help reduce acne breakouts and clear out your pores, all while pampering yourself in one session!
HydraFacial is a top-notch, patented technology which uses vortex cleansing to cleanse your pores, extract blackheads and whiteheads, and hydrate the skin without any painful squeezing!
To increase the effectiveness of the treatment, we will also use Alphalight—a treatment which applies photodynamic (PDT) therapy to destroy acne-causing bacteria that is found deep within the skin. In just one session, you will immediately see a reduction in redness and inflammation; although 5-10 sessions are recommended to clear up the entire face.
Best of all, it is suitable for all skin types and doesn’t come with any downtime! It takes just 45 minutes to complete, and patients often notice visibly reduced fine lines and wrinkles, diminished hyperpigmentation, improved acne-prone skin, a refined skin tone and texture and more supple skin after several sessions!
You can choose to combine it with other treatments, or if acne scarring is already present, we also offer a range of acne scar removal treatment solutions that includes Infini RF, Fraxel Dual, Fractional CO2 laser, Secret RF, TCA Cross and deep chemical peels; including subcision acne scar treatment and Rejuran Healer to further aid healing of the skin.
If you are ready to start the new year right—let us support your skin goals by booking your appointment with us today!