Ten Keys to Cracking the Clear Skin Code
Everything from emotions to what you had for breakfast to your air quality affects your skin every day. With so many factors at play, how do you crack the code to disrupt the cycle of acne? From the obvious to the obscure, here are ten keys to unlocking your complexion’s smoothest texture.
Adopt a consistent regimen. It takes 30 days for pimples to form and come to the surface, so just because your skin looks great today, doesn't mean you can slack off on skin care. Staying on top of your routine will not only extend your success, but it will also help to avoid scarring by avoiding breakouts in the first place.
Maintain a consistent, daily regimen that includes a an antibacterial cleanser, a toner, a corrective serum, and sunscreen.
Keep calm and exfoliate on. Even with regular cleansing, pores can become clogged with dead skin cells, oil, and dirt, which not only leads to breakouts but has the effect of making pores appear larger. Exfoliation removes the dead skin cells that can trap oil and dirt, brings new healthy skin to the surface, removes impactions, decreases sebum, and clears away bacteria, all leading to clearer, smoother skin.
There are two main types of exfoliation: physical or chemical. Physical exfoliation involves the use of a scrubbing agent like granules. Chemical exfoliation is the process of using topical agents—retinoids, alpha hydroxyl acids, enzymes, or peels. The best approach involves both physical and chemical. Use an exfoliating scrub like BP 3% Exfoliating Cleanser or Mandelic Acid 3-In-1 Exfoliating Cleanser along with a corrective mandelic acid or vitamin A therapy. If your skin is actively broken out and inflamed, you can still use the scrub, just massage gently with your fingertips to help open inflamed impactions and kill bacteria.
Don’t spot treat. It’s natural to want to zap the zits you see on the surface, but remember that a lot is going on in the deeper layers of skin where future pimples are already forming. Spot treating only takes care of the one blemish and leaves bacteria in the surrounding area to flourish. Treat the whole area to prevent future breakouts.
Ice is nice! Our favorite acne hack has always been the simplest. Just take some ice from the freezer and rub it over your skin to quickly reduce inflammation, speed healing and help to prevent scarring. Be sure to go over your entire face to keep any pimples coming to the surface from becoming inflamed. As a bonus, the ice constricts blood vessels, which pulls your corrective serums deeper into the skin.
Don't pick. You've heard it a thousand times, but that's because it's true. Picking just drives the pimple deeper, spreads bacteria, and leads to scarring.
Exercise to optimize. Daily exercise isn’t just good for your body; it’s good for your skin. Increased circulation carries more oxygen and nutrients to the skin for increased radiance. Remember to wear sunscreen if you’re exercising outdoors. Beware of tight clothing, including bike helmet straps and bra straps, that can trap sweat and cause mechanical acne from friction. And always shower when you’re finished to remove dirt, oil, and sweat.
Nourish your skin. A clear skin diet includes plenty of antioxidants in fruits, veg, and leafy green; healthy fats like nuts, fish, olive oil, and avocados; and whole grains. And because studies link acne with a deficiency in zinc, look for foods high in this anti-inflammatory mineral—meat, shellfish, eggs, nuts, seeds, whole grains. Drink plenty of water to help keep toxins flushed and skin hydrated. Avoid sugar, which creates inflammation that exacerbates acne.
Get your beauty sleep. Sleep is the skin’s method for repair and renewal. When we don’t get enough of it, cortisol levels go up, which can result in increased inflammation, one of the key breakout triggers. Another by-product of a sleep deficit is reduced blood flow and less oxygen getting to the skin cells. Hello, dullness. Collagen breakdown, puffy eyes, and dark circles are more of the consequences of poor sleep.
Wear sunscreen. While sunlight can increase cellular turnover and temporarily make blemishes less visible, it’s also creating inflammation, increasing sebum production, adding fuel to the fire of hyperkeratinization (excess dead skin cells), and increasing the chances that the little dark marks of pigmentation that are often left behind by pimples turn into long-term visitors. Vivant’s Day Treatment Lotion SPF 15 is non-comedogenic, non-greasy, and light enough for everyday wear.
Detox with a mask. A weekly date with a Sulfur Clay Mask is an excellent way to pull impurities from the skin and accelerate cell turnover to help keep skin ultra-refined and minimize the appearance of pores.