You’ve heard what not to do if you have bad skin … pick, prod, poke, maybe even hold fire on the dairy, but what about the easy skincare hacks you should be doing to give spots the heave-ho?
Here’s how to get those blemishes to back off for good …
1. EXFOLIATE, BUT NOT TOO MUCH
OTT scrubbing can make your skin angry and inflamed, so gently does it. Buffing the right way clears dead skin cells and unblocks pores. For best results avoid products that are overly grainy; instead use an exfoliator that contains glycolic, lactic or salicylic acid. These will gently dissolve away that backlog of blemish-inducers. Nip & Fab’s Glycolic Scrub Fix,
£10, is a good all rounder while Pai’s Copaiba Deep Cleanse AHA Mask
, £30, suits sensitive skin.
2. UP YOUR OMEGAS
Spikes in blood sugar from carb-loading and sweet treats aren’t going to do your bad skin any favours. Eating yoghurt is your go-to food fix. It has probiotics which can help keep your skin balanced. You could also try making a yoghurt face mask – go for plain, organic yoghurt, then simply smear on and wash off. Plus get some flaxseeds sprinkled on your food – omega 3 helps maintain skin.
3. DETOX YOUR PHONE (SERIOUSLY)
Hands-free convos have zero street cred, but if you’re worried about breakouts they’re probably a good option. Phones are a breeding ground for bacteria; add in the heat from all that time spent gassing (which makes germs multiply faster) and you’re on a pathway to pimples. Invest in a sanitiser like Neal’s Yard Organic Defence Hand Spray
, £6.50, that’s full of purifying witch hazel and scrub that screen before and after you lift your phone to your face. Plus it smells amazing. Win win.
4. CLEANSE WITH COCONUT OIL
If you’ve got oily, combination skin you might find it hard to get your head round the fact that applying oil onto oil actually helps cleanse the skin. But it does. Why? Because coconut oil contains capric and lauric acid – the same two ingredients found in breast milk that keep whippersnappers protected from infections. Smother them on your skin and they help boost the protective layer that diminishes with all that cleansing and polishing. Coconut oil also has vitamin E that moisturises and nourishes the skin. See? It’s a good ‘un.
5. STEP AWAY FROM THE SINK
There is such as thing as over-washing. Too much cleansing scuppers your skin’s pH balance, dries it out and causes it to go into overdrive, producing more sebum and oils to try and keep it plump and hydrated. And the more oils there are hanging around on the surface, the more prone pores are to clogging… you see where we’re going here.
6. GO EAST
Eastern countries like Korea have got it nailed when it comes to nice skin. And one of their skincare secrets? Egg on the face. Well, the whites of them anyway. Naturally sticky, the protein-rich goo easily latches onto dirt and toxins, sweeping them away when you rinse. Try Mizon’s Egg White Bubble Cleanser
, £19, a light, foamy gem of a face cleaner and yes, it actually contains egg whites. Luckily, there’s no eggy stench so no one will have any idea about your poultry-based purification.
7. BE PATIENT
Skin takes approximately 28 days to regenerate and when spots crop up at any given moment (there’s just no monitoring those stress and hormone levels), you can’t expect a product to perform in less than 24 hours. As painful as it is knowing that red, raised bump might be there for longer than you’d like, give your products at least a fortnight to allow those ingredients to kick in. It’ll stop you throwing away perfectly good products (and money) and prevent you bombarding your skin with too many crazy concoctions too.
8. READ LABELS
Traditionally spot treatments dry out the skin but if you’ve been paying attention you’ll know that while that’s great for helping spots shrivel up sooner, the skin around it will suffer. Look for complexion-kind products that are sulfate-free and scan for SLS (usually printed as sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium laureate sulfate). They’re drying on the skin whether you have an acneic complexion or not. Alcohol is another disaster zone so check your toner as well – they’re the usual boozy culprits.
9. SWEETEN UP
Manuka honey is the superhero of sticky stuff but whack some of the sticky stuff on and that zit will be zapped into submission. Manuka has antibacterial elements as well as moisturises as it goes. Sweet, huh?