Whats this? Two skincare posts in one week? You’d be right in thinking that I’ve gone bonkers for skincare at the moment, but there’s a good reason for it. Since the beginning of last year, I started to notice mild/moderate acne forming on my forehead and chin region. This was odd for me. I was one of the kids in the minority who glided through their hormonal, adolescent years without a single spot to their name. So when hundreds of angry, red spots started to invade my clear skin, I wasn’t 100% sure what was causing it.
The confusion and fear drove me straight into my nearest boots counter, and boy! did they see me coming! I must have bought every lotion and potion on the market in order to fix the situation on my face. The verdict? Some of the cleansers worked, but the the majority didn’t. After weeks of trying with minimal results, I was forced to accept the fact that I was stuck in a rutt. An angry, red, spotty rutt at that!
After coming to terms with having acne and failing miserably to get rid of it, I decided to take another approach. Instead of trying to frantically treat whatever was going on on my face, I decided to take a step back and started to research the causes acne on our faces. What I found was really quite intriguing.
I discovered that alongside factors that we have no control over (as of yet), quite a large portion of the causes of acne were Lifestyle related. This shocked me because we are often told that acne is something that we don’t have control over. But in reality, research suggests that there are ways which we can prevent it.
In an act of desperation and scientific experimentation, I decided to take on the challenge and make 5 Lifestyle changes, recommended by online sources and blogs, in order to try and combat my acne. Here are the changes I made to my lifestyle and how they impacted on my skin.
This lifestyle change had to be the worst one for me. For somebody who lives on coffee, ice-cream, and pizza, cutting out dairy for a week was like cutting out my soul. I managed to lead a non-dairy lifestyle for a week and saw amazing results, specifically on my forehead (the area of your face associated with diet-related blemishes).
According to research by Men’s Health Magazine, milk contains specific hormones that react with our skin to produce a higher volume of sebum in your skin (the oil that clogs our pores, causing acne in the first place!). However, this is just a theory. Newer research emerging suggests that cheese and yoghurt have no effect on the sebum levels in our skin. All I know is that when I cut out dairy products from my diet, the existing acne on my skin began to subside a little.
Drinking More Water
This may seem obvious to some, but for me, it was a lifestyle factor that I never associated with acne before. I knew that water was essential for hydrating the skin, but I never knew that it had the potential to reduce acne.
Our skin is skin is our biggest organ in our body and there are two functions that the fluids have that flow around it. 1. to carry oxygen and nutrients to them, and 2. to carry toxins and all the bad stuff away from them. If we aren’t giving our body enough water to perform these functions, then these toxins are going to remain in our skin and start to make nests in our pores. Yuck! We really don’t want this!
After reading this, I started to increase my daily water intake and saw some great results. My redness and white headed spots were reduced in a matter of days. My skin was clearly dehydrated and was in need of some serous TLC!
It isn’t fully understood how and why exercise helps to reduce acne, but I mean…if it works I’m all for it! I noticed after joining the gym a few months ago and regularly working out at least twice a week, the spots on my skin started to gradually clear up.
However, I’m not 100% sure that the exercise alone was a sole preventor of my breakouts. Alongside the exercise, I was maintaining a healthy diet as well as drinking plenty of water while working out. Therefore, it could be a mixture of all of those factors, not that that it matters if it works, I suppose! Either way, regular exercise was a contributing factor towards clearing up my blemish-ridden skin.
This is a lot easier said than done, but reducing stress has been shown to have a multitude of health benefits, such as improving the health of your skin. Like exercise, its not fully understood why increased stress levels encourage the spread of acne. Scientists speculate that stress hormones react with the cells that produce sebum in our skin, increasing the production of it and resulting in the increase of acne.
I began to notice a decline in the appearance of my skin when I went through a bit of a rough patch a few months ago. I never put two and two together; I was stressing out more and so was my skin. Since discovering the benefits of stress reduction on acne, I’ve been making more of a conscious effort to take some time out for myself. This can be as simple as spending 10 minutes playing my guitar or reading a blog post that I’ve been meaning to read, making that effort to sprinkle a little more joy into my day. I can proudly say that stressing less does reduce acne. In fact, this was the lifestyle change that helped to reduce my acne the most.
Last but not least, I began applying SPF to my face and neck area before going out anywhere. You may think that living in the UK really wouldn’t require the use of SPF considering that the only time we ever see a shred of sunlight is usually one day in June! However after reading into this further, I discovered that even though the sun isn’t always directly shining on you, the UV rays can still penetrate through the clouds and continue to cause skin damage. UV rays don’t exactly cause acne, but long periods of exposure to them can darken already existing acne scarring and result in your acne looking worse than it really is.
I’ve been making it a habit to apply SPF whenever I leave the house to prevent skin damage as well as the worsening of the appearance of my acne. The best product I’ve found for this is The Body Shop’s ‘Skin Defence SPF 50’ moisturising lotion. It is very much like a regular daytime moisturiser, a perfect base for make-up, and it’s protecting your skin from damage at the same time. Plus: it hasn’t broke me out! Its perfection in a bottle if you ask me.
If you suffer with acne and have some awesome remedies/prevention techniques, feel free to share them with everyone in the comments section below. Your tips may help somebody else, too.
With Love Always,