There are few things that are more embarrassing than a breakout. Advertisements and infomercials featuring tons of different skin care lines all promise perfect skin and more importantly, the confidence that goes along with it. Sometimes those programs work for people, and that's fantastic! But what if it doesn't work?
Truthfully, I never even had a breakout until I reached college. And it was like my skin was making up for lost time, because my skin went from clear to a war zone in mere weeks. Maybe it was stress, hormones, going out every night, studying so hard... I have no clue. I became so frustrated with myself, spent way too much money on makeup to cover it up (which usually resulted in making me break out more), tried tons of different topical creams, scrubs, toners... sound familiar? Sometimes it seemed to improve a little, but the results never lasted too long. Finally I stepped back, put all the creams and makeup away, and looked at my lifestyle. And that made all the difference:
1. Really pay attention to your diet and physical health. I mean, think about it. If you're eating and drinking a bunch of crap, is it really a surprise that your skin is a reflection of what you eat? Eating more fruits and vegetables is not only the healthier (and cheaper!) choice, but some studies have shown that in just around six weeks, your complexion can totally change. This step was so difficult for me, but I felt so much better, and I actually ended up trying lots of new healthier foods that I loved and craved. It was really amazing how after about a week, I didn't even think about fast food or sweets anymore. And if you think about it, it's a total win-win situation: you're eating better, cheaper, and your skin is gonna look amazing. (Citrus fruits, mango, avocado, and berries are especially best.) Also, drinking a lot of alcohol is horrible for you AND your skin.
2. Drink more water. Chances are, you're not drinking enough water. This nifty little tool can help you figure out exactly how much you should be drinking every day. If it's hard to remember or gauge how much you should drink, carry a water bottle around with you and measure it out throughout the day. I carry a Smart Water bottle to work with me and fill it up a little more than twice while I'm there all day, to make sure I get my 2 liters. If you're a coffee enthusiast like me, you may want to add a little more to your bottom line, depending on how much coffee or soda you drink. Whenever my skin is looking blah, I drink a little more throughout the day, and it almost always clears up. Not only is it good for your skin, but you'll probably also notice a difference mentally- I get fewer headaches and even my hair/nails look better when I'm well-hydrated.
3. Don't touch your face. Just don't. When I have a breakout, I can't stop touching my face. I have to make sure it's still there, torturing me, and not growing any more than it absolutely has to. It's gross, but hey, we're all human. Once I made the 'no touchy' rule, it really shocked me how often I touch my face every day without even thinking about it. When I'm at work, I rest my head on my hands. When I'm on the internet, where's my hand... oh, there it is. On my chin. *a few days later* Oh cool. Look at that blemish. On my chin. Coincidence? I think not. While you're trying to break yourself of the habit, keep some hand sanitizer nearby. Oh, and those makeup brushes/sponges/applicators? Make sure they're cleaned with an antibacterial soap and/or replaced often.
4. Make sure your pillowcases and bedsheets are cleaned at least once a week. I have pretty oily skin, and I live in Texas, so I'm pretty much always sweating. I keep backup pillowcases and change them out every few days. Silk pillowcases are especially awesome because A) they feel great B) they're way better for your hair and skin and C) no wake-up pillow lines on your face! Silk doesn't trap dirt and oil like cotton pillowcases do, and it won't pull on hair, causing split ends and breakage. They're also pretty affordable - and well worth the switch.
5. Pay attention to when and where you are prone to breakout. Do you only break out in certain areas on your face? Or maybe only a certain time of the year? Is there a season in particular where your skin looks the best/worst? Really pay attention to your body... For example, I used to break out along my hairline. After really paying attention and trying to think of what may cause it, I realized that my hair conditioner was sitting on my skin near my hairline, causing an oily, breakout-prone area. Simply washing my face AFTER I conditioned my hair solved that problem. If you tend to break out at a certain time of the month, it may be hormonal. If your breakouts tend to vary season-to-season, maybe you need a different regimen for summer and winter, etc. Really pay attention to your body; sometimes it can provide a solution.
I hope this helps! As I said earlier, everyone's hormones are different, and what works for some may not work for others. However, most of these steps are for your overall health, not just skin care. But the healthier and better you feel, the healthier your skin will probably look. And you can't put a price on that.
What about you, Lovelies? What are some of your skin care solutions?