Nearly 50 million teenagers and adults a year experience acne, the most common skin condition in the United States. Battling breakouts can be incredibly frustrating, because they can be triggered by a complex combination of factors you can’t control — including genetics, hormones and the climate you live in — and there is no quick fix.
Getting clearer skin takes a little patience and requires products that interrupt each step of the acne cycle — like the Rodan + FIelds UNBLEMISH Regimen. But while consistent, effective skincare is a must, making changes to your lifestyle and behavior can help, too. Here are seven habits to avoid if you have acne:
1. Washing your face too often or too vigorously. It seems counterintuitive, but cutting back on cleansing may improve your skin’s appearance. Vigorous scrubbing can irritate skin, causing more breakouts. Washing too often can strip away your skin’s essential oils, leading it to overcompensate and produce even more oil.
2. Eating dairy, sugar and white bread. It’s a myth that chocolate causes acne, but studies have shown that milk consumption and high-glycemic diets can play a part. Try dialing down the dairy, steering clear of sugar and cutting back on refined carbs and see if your skin responds.
3. Exercising in the heat. Your body may love hot yoga, but if you have acne, your skin probably doesn’t. When your skin is hot, oil glands increase production. Overheated skin is also more sensitive, which can lead to breakouts. If you absolutely can’t give up your favorite class, remove your makeup before exercising and wash your face immediately afterward so sweat, oil and grime don’t sit there all day. If you use a sweatband, avoid wearing it across your forehead: The friction and pressure may lead to more breakouts.
4. Wearing heavy foundation. Some makeup can clog your pores. So while you might be tempted to cover your acne with lots of base and concealer, try to resist. Instead, consider NEW Rodan + Fields Radiant Defense Perfecting Liquid as the finishing step in your UNBLEMISH Regimen. This groundbreaking tinted multitasker is non-acnegenic, so it won’t cause breakouts.
5. Skipping laundry day. How can sleeping on dirty pillowcases and sheets make acne worse? Any dirt, oil or leftover makeup that got on your bedding last night can end up back on your face or body tonight, clogging your pores and leading to more breakouts.
6. Passing on moisturizer. Some acne-fighting ingredients can dry out your skin, and when skin is too dry, it produces even more oil. Use a moisturizer designed for acne-prone skin daily. Rodan + Fields Oil Control Lotion, Step 4 of the UNBLEMISH Regimen, is lightweight and even has sunscreen built in.
7. Stressing out. Studies show that stress can lead to acne flare-ups — which can cause even more stress. If you notice that you break out more when your stress level rises, take measures to add some calm to your life, and see if that helps calm your skin.
Treating acne is a marathon, not a sprint. With the right skincare and a few lifestyle changes, you’ll get to the finish line even sooner.