I used to be in a constant battle with my skin. Now? Not so much.
Trying to keep my face clear felt as pointless as trying to straighten up the clothes on any given store rack—you know somebody is just going to come along in five minutes and tear everything apart. No matter what scrub or lotion I tried, in five minutes, I knew I was just going to get another breakout.
One of the things people will tell you to do in order to clear up your complexion is alter your diet. Don’t eat this, and don’t drink that. For me, it all felt a little too restrictive.
But through trial and error—and a lot of tips I've picked up from skin-care professionals—I've found a handful of tried-and-true techniques that really work to keep my skin radiant and blemish-free. And trust me—they'll work for you too!
1. Ice is your skin's best friend.
Ice is a gentle natural exfoliant. Running it over your face twice a day, morning and night helps slough off dead skin, and tightens pores. (Bonus: It's free!)
A lot of people make the mistake of exfoliating too much with synthetic products, or scrubbing so roughly that it actually makes your skin break out more. Ice is not only non-irritating, but it also hydrates your skin. (Did you know dehydration is another reason we break out?)
2. Ease up on the makeup.
You can still wear eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss, and all that jazz, but try to cut out anything on your face: no blush, no foundation, no setting powder, etc.
Seriously, get comfortable with the nude look and give your skin a break. Let those pores breathe, just for a couple days! It’ll be worth it when you start seeing the amazing results.
Not loving the idea of going bare? It's ok—you can still improve the condition of your skin (and your health) by looking for natural skincare lines that don't contain harmful ingredients. Key chemicals to avoid? Propylene glycol, methylparaben, and propylparaben—all of which are known endocrine disruptors.
3. Use a simple, unmedicated skin cleanser.
You should wash your face once in the morning, and once at night (double wash at night if you’re wearing makeup). Keep in mind that the goal of a cleanser is simply to clean your skin by removing dirt, not to medicate.
Why? Some acne medications (like glycolic acid) actually deactivate when mixed with water. Big companies advertise these acne combatants in their cleaners because, well, that’s advertising.
4. Fool your acne, switch up your routine.
Skin adapts, so you need to adapt along with it. You may start a routine and your skin initially starts to clear, but then after a couple of weeks it’s back to breakouts.
This is especially true if you're using a medicated product that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. If acne comes back after weeks of clear skin, simply switch up your routine. This doesn’t require adding heaps of new products of your regimen, just focus on alternating your products.
5. You need sunscreen in your life.
Yes, even you, the person who thinks you aren’t out in the sun long enough to warrant it. Sunscreen will help the condition of your skin in so many ways, and your 10-years-from-now self will thank you for it.
It can curb signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles, prevents sun damage and uneven skin tone, and can even help to stop breakouts. Getting a moisturizer with SPF will do the trick, too!
Making these slight alterations to my daily routine has done wonders for my complexion. What’s your simple secret for keeping your skin in tip-top shape?
Illustration by Karley Koenig