Are You Managing Your Acne Properly? Both teenagers and adults dread looking in the mirror, only to confront a pimple--or several. If you suffer from this condition, there are several things you can try at home to minimize the problem, preventing scarring and further breakouts. 1. Avoid squeezing and popping blemishes. Better yet, keep your hands off your face altogether. When you touch your skin with unwashed hands, you transfer additional bacteria to your face. Popping pimples creates an open sore, providing a way in which these bacteria can enter, potentially worsening the infection. You can also cause a zit to pop under the skin, which can prolong the time it takes to heal. 2. Use anti-acne skincare products. Cleansers that contain anti-bacterial ingredients like salicylic acid, tea tree oil and benzoyl peroxide can help to clear existing blemishes while preventing the formation of new ones. Use only one acne-fighting product at a time until you know how your skin reacts; too many chemicals can irritate your skin, causing extra redness or flakiness on top of your acne issues. 3. Wash gently, and do not scrub. Like many others, you may mistakenly believe that scrubbing cleans the skin better than washing gently. In reality, scrubbing irritates the thin, delicate skin on your face, and it can cause your skin to overproduce sebum, or oil, which leads to more acne. Use your fingers to gently massage cleanser into your skin, or use a washcloth to exfoliate using a light touch and circular motions. 4. If you feel oily, give your skin a rinse with cool water. Washing your face too often with harsh cleansers can send oil production into overdrive, but a gentle splash of cool water a few times a day can help you feel fresh while removing dirt, oil and sweat. The water also feels good against itchy or sore skin, and using cool water is less drying than hot water. Pat your skin dry with a towel. 5. Try the occasional facial mask. A clay-based mask is an excellent way to "suck up" excess oil on your face, leaving your skin feeling tighter and refreshed. Other varieties include gel-like peel-off masks, which can remove dirt and grime from your pores. Use these masks sparingly, however; once or twice weekly should suffice. 6. Get a handle on your stress levels. Stress affects hormones, and hormones affect your skin, causing breakouts. You are also more likely to skip your nighttime skincare routine when you are stressed, falling into bed without washing away the dirt, makeup and other grime that collects throughout the day. Banish stress with regular exercise and plenty of mood-boosting activities, and get plenty of sleep. 7. Overhaul your diet. While the notion that chocolate and greasy foods cause acne is an old wives' tale, your diet can affect your skin, especially if you are deficient in essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Eat plenty of whole foods, including whole grains, fresh, lean meats and fish, fruits and veggies, and low-fat dairy. If you cannot meet your dietary needs through food alone, which is ideal, you may use a supplement. No matter your age, suffering from acne not only affects you physically, but it can take an emotional toll, as well. Use these tips to improve your skincare routine and lifestyle, and reap the rewards of a healthier, clearer complexion.
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