When it comes to skin care, we’re not usually ones for hard and fast rules. Everyone has unique facial features, skin tones, lifestyles and genetic histories that make it impossible to have a single piece of advice be “one size fits all.”
It can take years — and dozens of trips to the dermatologist — to discover how to get rid of acne effectively on your unique skin. But here, we’ve pretty much made it our life mission to figure out the best tips from the pros who have seen it all and won’t recommend it unless it’s backed up by experience and science.
Ahead, we rounded up the best advice on how to get clear skin from top dermatologists. Read on for our favorite ways to get your skin to look and feel its best.
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 1 – Wash Your Face Daily
The first and most important rule isn’t ground-breaking: remember to wash your face! Cleansing and treating your skin twice a day is the best way to keep breakouts away.
For those emergencies when you’re just too tired to wash your face, keep a stash of face wipes in the drawer of your nightstand. This way if you get home super late and don’t feel like going all the way to the sink, you can still stick go to bed with clean skin!
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 2 – Use the Right Cleanser
Buying a generic acne wash won’t necessarily improve your complexion; for a cleanser to be most effective, you have to pay attention to your skin’s needs and pick the ingredients accordingly.
If your skin tends to be oily, choose products with salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or glycolic acid. For sensitive skin, look for cleansers with lactic acid or hydrating ingredients like glycerin, which aren’t as drying as those made for oilier types.
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 3 – Don’t Over-Exfoliate
Scrubbing your face raw with grainy cleansers and exfoliating products can do more harm than good. When done too often, it can make redness, inflammation, and irritation worse.
“Exfoliating a pimple can pull away healthy skin cells and create an open wound and higher risk for scarring,” says Jessica Weiser, MD, from New York Dermatology Group. “Exfoliation should be done with caution, and not more than 2-3 times a week maximum.”
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 4 – Regularly Change Your Face Towel
When you think about it, consistently reaching for your go-to face towel every day is like reusing a dinner napkin over and over again.
Using dirty towels can harbor bacteria, and they can even introduce new bacteria to your skin, which may lead to more pimples, explains Karen Hammerman, MD, from Schweiger Dermatology.
You should try and use a new face towel every time you wash your face.
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 5 – Moisturize
Worried moisturizer will make your acne worse? Think again — it can actually help improve your skin.
“If the skin surface is dry and dehydrated, the oil glands tend to overproduce oil and this can make acne worse,” Dr. Weiser says.
“Hydrating the skin surface can re-balance oil glands and help control acne and improve healing.”
When buying a moisturizer, she recommends looking for a lightweight, oil-based product that won’t clog your pores.
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 6 – Use Sunscreen that Doesn’t Clog Pores
While SPF is a must, some sunscreens can trigger breakouts. You want to look for oil-free and non-comedogenic formulas that won’t clog pores,” Dr. Hammerman says.
Options like from Elta MD and Peter Thomas Roth, which are recommended by the pros, are specifically tested on acne-prone skin so you can get your dose of SPF without having to worry about clogged pores.
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 7 – Skip Makeup When You’re Working Out
Take an extra five minutes before hopping on the treadmill to completely wash your face and remove your makeup to minimize the risk of breakouts.
“Sweat is released through visible pores in the skin,” says dermatologist Dr. Janell Vega. “When makeup covers those pores, that barrier doesn’t allow the sweat to make it to the surface of the skin, which can lead to clogged pores. The trapped debris and bacteria are a perfect breeding ground for acne bumps and zits.”
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 8 – Wash Your Face Post-Workout
“After sweating, immediately use an exfoliating cleanser to help keep your pores clear and remove excess oil,” says Dr. Zein Obagi of ZO Skin Health.
Try keeping Neutorogena Rapid Clear Pads in your gym bag or locker for those times you need an on-the-go cleanse. These will remove any leftover dirt while treating your skin with acne-fighting salicylic acid.
If you have body acne, taking a shower as soon as possible after working out is also key. It turns out that standing around in tight, sweaty workout clothes puts you at greatest risk for body acne and rashes.
“The whole idea is that the bacteria that live on the skin can get trapped in the hair follicles and cause inflammation,” says dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Hale.
“The more you work out in the heat the more likely this is.” So, make sure to shower (or, at the very least, change out of your sweaty clothes) right after working out.
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 9 – Tailor Your Diet
Sad but true: Any foods that cause a spike in insulin can lead to inflammation and an acne flare, explains Dr. Kally Papantoniou with Advanced Dermatology PC.
“Leafy green vegetables and other brightly colored fruit and vegetables which are rich in antioxidants and nutrients dampen inflammation and improve skin quality (studies have shown acne patients have higher oil production and lower antioxidant levels),” says Dr. Weiser.
“Limit intake of dairy products which can contain hormones and antibiotics that can worsen acne breakouts.”
Other skin-boosting super foods include eggs, nuts, legumes, and quinoa.
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 10 – Drink Plenty of Water
Seriously, don’t forget to drink those eight glasses of water a day, if we haven’t made the point clear by now. It makes a big impact on your entire body, including your skin.
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 11 – Have a Cup of Tea
Try sipping spearmint tea. According to Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, dermatologist and founder of Epionce Skincare, having two cups a day could reduce acne by 25%!
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 12 – Change Your Pillowcases
Unwashed sheets and pillowcases lead to cross contamination which leads to pimples. Aim to wash your bedding once or twice a week to prevent bacteria from building up and affecting your complexion, suggests Dr. Papantoniou.
If that seems overboard, at least aim to wash your pillowcase once a week since that’s where your face rests while you snooze (and dream of flawless skin).
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 13 – Keep Your Phone Screen Clean
Think of how many times a day you touch your phone! That thing gets pretty germy. To stay in the clear, clean your screen daily with an alcohol wipe. And when possible, Dr. Papantoniou recommends using the speaker option or headphones so your phone isn’t resting on your face as often.
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 14 – Wipe Down Your Headphones
Sneaky every day habits could secretly be doing a number on your skin. Even something as seemingly harmless as wearing over-the-ear headphones could be the culprit to breakouts around your temples and jawline.
“This is especially the case when you wear them during and after a workout, or if you keep them on for long periods of time. Sweat and moisture collect on and around the headphones, compressing the skin and therefore encouraging bacteria and yeast to multiply,” says dermatologist and Simple advisory board member, Dr. Debra Luftman.
Gross, but true. Use an anti-bacterial wipe to quickly disinfect your headphones.
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 15 – Stash a Heal + Conceal Stick in Your Locker
If a midday zit pops up, swipe it with concealer loaded with blemish-shrinking ingredients. This way you can cover it up and treat it in one step. ZO Skin Health Offects Correct & Conceal Acne Concealer Stick will do the trick.
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 16 – Try to Keep Your Hands Off Your Face
Sorry to burst your bubble, but popping a zit is never a good idea. Your hands aren’t always clean, and dirt under your fingernails and improper squeezing can cause acne to spread or lead to further infection, Dr. Hammerman says.
Plus, popping can lead to pitted scars, which stick around much longer than that pimple would.
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 17 – Ice, Ice Baby
If you really must do something about your pimple beyond washing your face and spot treating, ice or a cold compress can help reduce swelling. Wrap an ice cube or the compress in a soft tissue or cloth and apply it to your zit for 20-30 seconds at a time, a few times a day.
In case of an emergency (like, prom), you can also see a dermatologist for a cortisone injection, which can help shrink the cyst down quickly in a day or two.
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 18 – Don’t Irritate Your Acne with Toothpaste or Rubbing Alcohol
Sure, we’ve all heard that toothpaste or rubbing alcohol can help dry out a zit, but many DIY treatments aren’t solutions for how to treat acne. In fact, applying toothpaste or rubbing alcohol are more likely to cause irritation and dryness than treat the actual pimple.
Instead, stick with topical over-the-counter and prescription spot treatments with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide that are specially made to target pimples, says Dr. Hammerman.
For an all-natural spot treatment, she suggests dabbing tea tree oil on the area a few times a day with a cotton ball.
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 19 – Combat Hormonal Acne with Birth Control
It’s not news that birth control can help stabilize hormones that prevent breakouts, but it’s worth exploring different types of birth control pills even if you had adverse reactions to one in the past (i.e. weight gain or heavier acne flare-ups).
The FDA approves of Estrostep, Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Yaz to combat acne, but the trick is to be patient, as it can take up to four months to start seeing results.
“This plan of attack works best when paired with whatever topical treatments you’re already using to treat your acne, like Proactiv, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, etc,” advises dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi.
Get Rid of Acne #Tip 20 – Don’t Overlook Amazing New Technology in the Drugstore Aisle
If saving babysitting money for a year still won’t make a dent in the funds you need to get a fancy laser treatment that will blast away acne scars, don’t be discouraged.
Thanks to the geniuses behind one of our favorite drugstore brands, La Roche-Posay, there’s a new class of products that feature smart technology and better-than-ever ingredients to help treat dark marks and acne scars — at an affordable price.
“La-Roche Posay’s Pigmentclar line is unique in the way it combines exfoliating lipohydroxy acid (LHA), phe-resorcinol, and ferulic acid, which are both strong brightening ingredients, all together to form a topical product that’s seriously effective,” says dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara.
For more ideas to look younger, look no further than Wendy Wilken’s Facelift Without Surgery Program. From this program, you will learn
- How to eliminate wrinkles on the face and neck: Forehead lines, eye wrinkles and crow’s feet, smile and laugh folds, nasal lines, fine lines around the mouth and lips, neck wrinkles and creases.
- Easy facial yoga routines for tightening and lifting sagging face and neck skin
- Methods to treat unsightly eye bags, dark eye circles and “racoon” rings.
- How to use yoga to re-sculpture and sharpen the features of your face and neck for a new and better looking
To find out more, CLICK HERE to Find Out on How to Get Clear Skin Naturally