Acne is uncomfortable, painful, and it can affect a person’s sense of confidence. Because of this, many people rush into any and every acne solution they find.
While medication and a well-curated skincare routine can be helpful at combating acne, they can sometimes cause more harm when done improperly.
By focusing on popular solutions, people tend to miss out on the simpler steps that can actually help clear their acne.
We listed down seven skincare mistakes that make acne worse.
1. Harsh Exfoliation on Acne-Prone Skin
Exfoliation is a way to help your skin shed dead skin cells and rejuvenate faster. Dead skin cells when combined with oil and pollution can clog the pores and pave the way for acne to develop. Acne also leads to blemishes and cause hyperpigmentation.
Exfoliation helps solve these two things and that is why those who are suffering from acne think this is the best solution to acne. However, being too harsh on the skin will just worsen the irritation.
For acne-prone skin, chemical exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), beta hydroxy acids (BHA), and chemical peels can be better. They help loosen dead skin cells without being too abrasive like physical exfoliants are.
But before trying out chemical exfoliants, please consult a dermatologist for the right products and application. Chemical exfoliants can dry up the skin so a dermatologist will also recommend a good moisturizer to accompany the treatment.
2. Using Too Much or Too Little Acne Medication
Spot treatments are over-the-counter medications that help get rid of acne. The common mistake with spot treatments, though, is when it is used solely on the actual pimple.
The problem with this is that pimples may be the epicenter of the infection but the other parts of the skin are affected as well. When applying spot treatment, apply it to the surrounding areas as well instead of focusing on the blemish alone.
Overusing acne medications, especially those that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, can become a problem too. These products tend to dry out the skin which can trigger our skin’s oil production further. The oilier the skin, the more chances there are for clogged pores.
Always read the instructions that come with acne medication and research more about the products. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a dermatologist to seek proper guidance too.
3. Wrong Sunscreen Application or Not Wearing It at All
Sunscreen is your skin’s comrade against the sun’s harmful UV and UVB rays. It does not seem obvious at first but bad exposure to the sun can actually make your acne worse.
Too much sun exposure can dry out the skin so it protects itself by producing more oil. The tiny flakes of dried-out skin combined with oil and pollution will eventually lead to further breakouts.
As important as wearing sunscreen is, you cannot just go for the first product you see. Wear sunscreen that is oil-free and that won’t clog up your pores.
You also need to apply sunscreen 15 minutes before sun exposure. This gives it time to activate and settle into your skin.
4. Squeezing or Picking at Your Pimples
I would consider anyone who hasn’t ever been tempted to pop her whitehead a saint. It is quite a satisfying activity to do. However, all this does is push oil and bacteria deeper into the skin. It also breaks the skin and exposes it to even more irritation and inflammation.
When you apply force to your skin, you end up damaging its top layer. This can cause tissue damage or scarring. The scarring makes it even more difficult for your skin to heal from acne.
You have to allow your body to heal itself. Acne is our body’s reaction to irritation and it is a normal function of the body to defend itself from bacteria and infections.
5. Washing Your Face the Wrong Way
This may seem like a funny thing to say but there is actually a wrong way to wash your face especially if your skin is prone to acne.
First, using the wrong cleanser can bring about even more skin problems. Find the right cleanser for your skin type. For oily skin, it is better to use water-based products. As for dry skin, avoid exfoliant cleansers. These will further dry out the skin.
Second, make sure you rinse your skin thoroughly and pat your skin dry with a soft, clean towel. Leftover cleansers can interfere with the next skincare products you apply. This can also lead to drier skin and more breakouts.
Third, do not over-cleanse. Over cleansing can strip away the protective layers of the skin. Our skin has a natural mantle of protection made up of microorganisms that help our skin maintain hydration and fight infections. Too much cleansing can interfere with this natural process.
Lastly, please go to bed with a clean face. Remove makeup before you sleep.
When removing makeup, avoid makeup wipes or follow it up with a gentle cleansing of mild soap and lukewarm water. Makeup wipes tend to leave residue behind and this can clog your pores. Plus, the act of scrubbing your face with wipes will leave skin even more irritated and inflamed.
6. Using the Wrong Moisturizer or Not Using It at All
Even if you have oily skin, moisturizer is still a must. Having oily skin may even be your skin’s way of telling you it’s too dry.
When skin is oily, it may still be dehydrated. Oil is produced by the sebaceous glands to protect the skin from irritants and dehydration. But, when too much oil is produced and it combines with dirt and debris and clogs up the pores.
To keep skin well hydrated and moisturized, find the right moisturizer that matches your skin. Water-based moisturizers are a safe bet. Ones that contain hyaluronic acid and dimethicone can also help hydrate skin better.
7. Hidden Culprits
So you have done all that you can the best way you know how to get rid of pesky acne breakouts. What else could you be doing wrong?
One hidden culprit is wearing too much hair product. Hair sprays and other hair products can irritate and clog up your pores. Also, make sure to rinse your shampoo and conditioner thoroughly.
Next would be your towels, pillowcases, and clothes. Make sure to change towels and pillowcases every two to three days and wear clean clothes that are made from natural fibers to help your skin breathe. Fabrics can become breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses and they can transfer to your skin too.
Another thing people tend to forget about is keeping their mobile phones clean. It has become an essential part of our lives. The portable device goes everywhere with us and it comes into contact with our hands and random surfaces often. Remember to regularly wipe your mobile phones clean to avoid transferring germs and bad bacteria to your skin.
While being serious about skincare is great, do not forget about the simple things too. Sometimes these little things are the only steps missing for you to succeed in the fight against acne.