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Tips to Prevent Acne Breakouts

Tips to Prevent Acne Breakouts

Aug. 27th, 2022

Acne is a skincare challenge many people face, and sometimes it pops up at the times you least expect it. While acne can be frustrating, there are steps you can take to prevent it in the future.

Our bodies sweat, produce oil, and collect dirt throughout the day. A bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes can cause inflammation when it turns the sebum, an oil on your skin, into fatty acids.1

It’s important to learn the steps to prevent breakouts to minimize acne and keep your skin healthy. Here are 13 acne prevention tips.

Learn How to Properly Wash Your Face

One way how to prevent acne is to learn how to wash your face. While acne can appear anywhere on the body, the face is one of the most common areas for it to appear.

When you wash your face, you should use warm water. Avoid using a washcloth because it might irritate the skin. Rub the water or facial cleanser around your face, then thoroughly rinse.

Keep in mind that too much cleansing can dry out your skin or make acne worse. As a general rule of thumb, you should wash twice a day to avoid stripping your skin of its natural oils.

You should also only use facial cleansers made for your skin type. Face washes without fragrances and sulfates are also recommended because they are less harsh on the skin.

Understand Your Skin Type

Different skin types require different steps to take care of them. Some skin types might require certain products and routines that others do not.

Here is a breakdown of the different skin types:2

  1. Normal. Not too dry or oily. This skin type doesn’t require any special treatment or care.
  2. Dry. Dry skin occurs due to outside conditions, such as the weather. Dry skin is described as feeling tight or rough, and it can often crack easily.
  3. Oily. Oily skin usually looks shiny by the end of the day. Oily skin is caused by fat production from the sebaceous glands. People with oily skin are usually under 30, and genetics also play a role in oily skin.
  4. Combination. Characteristics of both oily and dry skin are present.
  5. Sensitive. Sensitive skin is prone to redness, allergic reactions, and infections.

You can ask a dermatologist what your skin type is and ask them for recommendations on caring for your skin. A skin professional will know what products can help clean your skin and what might irritate it.

Avoid Makeup

Many people will use makeup to hide acne, however, this might be counterintuitive to their acne prevention goals. Many makeup products can get inside your pores and build up, resulting in acne. This can quickly turn into a cycle of using products to hide acne when they might be the root cause of it.

Some makeups are greasy and oily, which can clog pores and cause breakouts. If you feel the need to use makeup, stick to makeup where the first ingredient is water and uses ingredients such as silica, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide.3

You should also avoid putting too much makeup on, and remember that less is more. If you notice that your skin is irritated after applying makeup, then you should avoid using the products in the future.

Properly Wash Your Hair

Washing your hair frequently is one way that you can avoid acne. Most experts recommend washing at least every other day, but certain hair types can go longer between washes.

There are many haircare products available, but the ones you use each day might be clogging your pores and causing your acne. Some hair products contain oils that cause breakouts when they transfer onto your face. Ingredients such as silicones, cocoa butter, sulfates, and lanolin can cause acne if left on the skin.4

If you have acne near your hairline, forehead, or the back of your neck, there is a good chance your hair products are the cause of some of your acne. Study the ingredient list on your shampoo and conditioner to see if your haircare products may be the source of your pimples.

Another tip is to make sure that you thoroughly rinse off the hair products you use in the shower. If you don’t remove all the soap and conditioner from your skin, the residue might cause acne.

Avoid Touching Your Face

You probably touch your face more often than you realize. A study found that participants touched their faces roughly 23 times per hour.5

However, touching your face can result in transferring debris and oils to your pores. This can clog your pores over time, resulting in acne.

You should avoid touching your face to keep it clean and free of oils. You should also never pick at your skin or acne on your face, because you can irritate it, causing acne scars and inflammation.

Avoid Foods That Cause Acne

Food and acne are interconnected, with foods that are considered high-glycemic contributing more to acne. High-glycemic foods are defined as foods that raise your blood sugar. Some of these foods include white bread, white potatoes or fries, potato chips, corn flakes, and puffed rice.6

While many people believe greasy foods contribute to acne, grease does not necessarily correlate to a high-glycemic index; however, many greasy foods do happen to be high-glycemic.7

Watching your diet is one way you can control your acne. Some foods that are low glycemic include:8

  • Fruits such as apples, blueberries, peaches, cherries, raspberries, and strawberries
  • Beans and legumes
  • Non-starchy vegetables such as avocados, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, and turnips
  • Nuts such as peanuts, pecans, olives, walnuts, and hazelnuts
  • Egg whites
  • Greek yogurt
  • Soy products

Use the Right Skin Products

Having balanced skin is important because dry skin will overproduce the oils that can cause acne. When choosing skincare products, you’ll want to use moisturizers and creams that aren’t too oily or drying.

However, some skin products will contain chemicals and fragrances that irritate the skin. You should spend time learning about your skin type and use products that won’t cause acne.

Furthermore, you can purchase acne treatment products to stop and prevent acne. Always follow the instructions on the labels and stop using them if they begin to cause skin irritation.

If you’re unsure what types of products are safe for your skin, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. They will be able to guide you and let you know what you should be using for your skincare routine.

Drink Enough Water

Water plays a huge role in skin health, and drinking water can improve your skin over time. Water hydrates the skin, which can the prevent skin dryness that causes the body to overproduce oils.

Water plays a role in acne prevention because it can remove harmful bacteria and toxins that clog your pores. Water also aids in the production of collagen, which keeps your skin youthful and healthy.9

A study with 49 women found that drinking at least 2 liters of water a day significantly improves skin hydration.10

Drinking more water can be a natural way to balance your skin chemistry and prevent acne. Try drinking more water with your meals as well as throughout the day to help prevent acne.

Use Sunscreen

Another natural way to prevent acne is to wear sunscreen whenever you go outside. The sun’s rays can dry out your skin, which will lead your skin to produce more oils and cause acne.

Many sunscreens contain ingredients such as zinc oxide and niacinamide, both of which play a positive role in acne prevention. Many times these ingredients can help soothe the skin and relieve acne.11

Just like with other products, avoid sunscreens that are oily and have ingredients that will clog pores. You should also never use sunscreen past the expiration date because it might have harmful bacteria that can lead to pimples.

Reduce Stress

While acne is not directly caused by stress, research shows that it can make a current breakout worse. It is suggested that hormones can activate the sebaceous glands that produce oils. Stress may also play a role in weakening the skin’s natural defenses that heal and prevent breakouts.12

Relaxing more when you feel stressed out can be one way you can prevent acne. Some ways to reduce stress include:

  • Practicing meditation
  • Finding hobbies to take your mind off stress
  • Making time for family and friends
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Exercising
  • Eating a healthy diet

Avoid Smoking

There are many reasons smoking is bad for your health, and acne is one of them. In a study, 81.8% of severe atypical post-adolescent acne cases were amongst heavy smokers.13

One reason why smoking could cause acne is the smoke might dry out the skin, resulting in pimples. Smoking decreases the oxygen of the face, which results in skin dryness that causes the glands to produce more oils. As a result, acne will pop up in those who smoke frequently.14

Smoking also has a detrimental effect on the skin’s collagen and elastic fibers, causing the skin to look older and less youthful. This not only has a drastic effect on your overall appearance, but it can cause pimples due to the skin’s natural barriers breaking down.15

Change Pillow Covers Often

You might unintentionally be transferring oils, debris, and dirt to your face each night. Whenever you lie down on your pillow, you will leave dirt and oil on the pillowcase. When you return each night, this can transfer back onto your skin, causing acne.

You should aim to wash your pillowcases each week to prevent acne breakouts. If you can afford it, you can also choose a pillowcase made out of materials such as silk that are less likely to dry out your skin.

Clean Your Phone

Did you know that the average smartphone has 17,000 bacterial gene copies?16 Many people take their phones everywhere with them, resulting in high concentrations of bacteria landing on their phone.

However, you could be transferring this harmful bacteria to your skin whenever you put your phone on your face. It can also be transferred by touching your phone, then touching your face.

While not all bacteria are harmful, you should aim to clean your phone screen often. It’s also a good idea to wipe down your phone case every once in a while to prevent bacteria from growing on it.

Another option to prevent bacteria from transferring onto your face is to use Bluetooth earbuds or the speaker function when taking calls to prevent putting your phone to your face.

Learn How to Prevent Acne Breaks Today

Now that you know a few ways how to naturally prevent acne, you can start making a few small changes to protect your skin from breakouts. While no single thing will reduce acne, good habits can decrease the amount of acne over time.

If you notice that your acne is severe or hasn’t changed after trying a few methods, contact a dermatologist. They will be able to guide you in the best steps to preventing acne.

To learn more about Saber Healthcare and the nursing and rehabilitation we provide, check out our locations and services we offer.

Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long-term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.


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