Whether you're dealing with occasional breakouts or a more serious form of acne, we’re sharing some simple yet important skincare and lifestyle habits that can help minimise breakouts and prevent acne.
What causes acne?
The root cause of all acne is essentially the same, your pores become clogged with excess sebum and dead cells.
Clogged pores become the ideal environment for skin bacteria, p. Acnes, to thrive causing acne, inflammation, and swelling.
You can learn more about the difference between teenage acne and adult acne here.
Read on for some simple steps on how to control acne.
Keep your face clean
Cleansing is the first step to prevent acne. Washing your face twice daily is essential to remove excess oil, dead cells, and debris from your skin. Acne is caused by a bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) which live on the skin and thrives when dirt, oil and cells build up on the skin.
Always use warm water, never hot, and choose a gentle cleanser with low doses of active exfoliating ingredients. Gentle, yet effective ingredients include glycolic and lactic acids deeply cleanse the pores but also maintain the oil-moisture balance of your skin.
Help prevent acne with a double cleanse at night to ensure all dirt, excess oil and dead skin is thoroughly removed. We recommend using the esmi Uncomplicated Cleanser for the first cleanse.
Using lukewarm water, wet your face and work your cleanser into your skin using small circular motions. You can use your fingers or a microfibre cleansing cloth.
Many of the cleansers designed to treat breakouts can be so harsh that rather than prevent acne, they can make the problem worse.
Salicylic acid is a popular acne treatment because it does a great job cleaning pores and getting rid of excess sebum. The issue with salicylic acid? It strips your skin of natural oils and dries it out which triggers the skin to produce yet more sebum.
A simple tip on how to prevent breakouts is to use a clean wash cloth to cleanse and a clean towel to dry skin each time to stop the spread of more bacteria.
Always moisturise (Yes, you can use facial oil!)
Cleansing is important but so is protecting the skin by maintaining the right oil-moisture balance.
After cleansing, use a moisturiser or facial oil that rehydrates skin and calms acne irritation. If you have oily skin prone to acne breakouts you might shy away from using a facial oil reasoning that it will make your acne and oil issues worse.
This isn’t true. When this balance is compromised (ie - the skin is stripped of its natural oils) the skin becomes inflamed and is more susceptible to bacteria which will trigger acne.
Some facial oils (not all!) can be beneficial in reducing breakouts.
Oil is a wonderful way to maintain balance and protect the skin’s delicate barrier. Not all oils are created equal though - some can aggravate sebum production. The best options for oily, breakout-prone skin are lightweight oils with a low comedogenic rating (meaning they’re unlikely to clog pores) and those with calming, antibacterial properties.
Consult with a naturopath
If you’re struggling with acne, working with a naturopath can help set you on the path to clearer, healthier skin.
A naturopath will suggest a unique treatment plan which may include dietary changes, natural mineral and herbal supplements, and natural oils. Natural treatments may also extend to acupuncture and techniques for stress management.
Practice healthy habits to prevent acne
There are changes you can make to your lifestyle to minimise or prevent acne from occurring - especially the milder forms.
Diet plays a huge role in the health of your skin so fill your plate with the right foods at every meal.
Aim for foods that help reduce and prevent inflammation including blueberries, avocados, green leafy vegetables - such as spinach, kale, and collards, almonds, and walnuts.
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines also target inflammation and provide additional benefits for the skin thanks to their essential fatty acids.
By stacking your plate with these types of anti-inflammatory foods, you can help calm the painful flare ups associated with acne.
Wondering how to reduce acne with other lifestyle changes? Exercise can also have a positive effect on the overall health of your skin. As you exercise, blood flow to the cells is increased which nourishes and keeps them vital.
When you’re working up a sweat, it’s crucial to cleanse your face as quickly as possible after a workout.
Letting sweat sit on your skin, mixing with oil and clogging pores will make things worse. Don’t undo all the benefits of exercising for your skin with a less than optimal post-work skincare routine.
Wear less or no makeup
If you have breakout prone skin, one of the ways to prevent acne is by minimising the amount of makeup you wear and choosing non-comedogenic formulations.
As a general rule of thumb, opt for mineral makeup which won’t clog pores but still provides great coverage.
Avoid makeup that contains SD denatured alcohol, sometimes called isopropyl alcohol, which can exacerbate acne related issues like redness and drying.
We recommend exploring the esmi range of mineral foundation, BB cream, and powder. You’ll find the perfect fit for every skin tone.
Keep skin hydrated
Dehydrated skin can become sensitive, inflamed, and prone to breakouts.
Skin cells can’t move through the cycle of dead skin cell removal efficiently which leads to hair follicles with dead skin cells, dirt, and bacteria, leading to breakouts.
How to avoid acne with hydration? The optimal way is to keep skin hydrated is by taking a holistic approach. Choose skincare products that deliver a deep hit of hydration and also keep your body hydrated with what you eat and drink.
On the skincare front, one of the key hydrating ingredients to help stop acne is hyaluronic acid. Revered for its ability to hold 1000x its weight in water, hyaluronic acid is naturally present in our skin. It’s a humectant and works by attracting water to the deeper layers of skin and rehydrating cells from the inside out.
We recommend: esmi Hyaluronic Hydrating Serum
Try an over-the counter acne medication product
Depending on the type of acne you have, you may need to team your acne fighting skincare routine with stronger over-the-counter acne products to treat and prevent acne returning.
Most of these treatments include higher doses of ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid which target bacteria. As we pointed out earlier, some acids can be very drying for the skin - especially in higher doses - and may cause the skin to peel. Start with smaller doses to observe how your skin reacts.
Be cautious about hair products
Prevention methods on how to stop breakouts includes paying attention to your hair products too.
Avoid using gels, pomades or heavy creams on your hair. These can seep into the skin around your hairline, block the pores and trigger breakouts.
Oily hair can contribute to the oil on your face so make sure you’re washing your hair frequently with a gentle shampoo and conditioner.
Have questions about how to prevent acne? Book a free consultation with an esmi Skin Minerals Consultant. The team at esmi are always here to support you on your skin journey.