Your mom had acne. So did your dad, your uncle, your grandmother, and your great-great-ancestor who migrated out of Africa.
Unfortunately, skin is the largest organ, and the most uncovered. You can hide your liver if you binge-drink, but if you have skin problems, specifically on your face, the whole world can see it. What's worse, as social creatures, we feel eyes on us whenever we think we look less than our best.
What is acne? In short, it is clogged pores and sebaceous (hair follicle oil) glands that become infected. This action causes visible blemishes in places where sebaceous glands are plentiful and pores are larger. Generally acne occurs in the T-zone of your face (chin, upper lip, nose, cheeks, and forehead) and your back, starting at puberty when hormones are first unleashed. It can occur anywhere though, and often does, just to keep you guessing.
Luckily, since everyone has had acne, clear solutions have been found to reach clear skin. Recent advances in our understanding of physiology, nutrition, and hygiene have likewise made it easier to achieve healthy skin. Health, your entire body's health, is really what you're after when trying to eliminate acne. It is your overall health that shines through in your skin.
Let's explore the five best ways to clear acne fast, starting with simple healthy changes and finishing with more in-depth options. Finally, a selection of links will help you get started with each step.
1. Drink more water. This is the simplest step, and can start with an extra cup when you wake up to a snazzy travel-bottle at your desk while you work.
2. Stay active. The more you move, the more your body can move fluids and nutrients around your various systems and cells. If you have a desk-job, or just like to watch TV during your downtime, make sure you break up that inaction with a brisk walk at least once per day. It can be a walk to the store, or a walk to a good lookout point in your city. Walking is a great way to get your body used to higher levels of breathing and heart-beating. This prepares it to handle stress of all types better. What's more, every last cell in your body will thank you for the increased blood-flow and oxygen saturation, especially those skin and blood cells trying to fight your acne.
3. Find a good antioxidant source. Antioxidants are complex chemical compounds that perform complex functions. Much about them is still in the realm of cutting edge science, meaning we don't know why they work, they just do. In a basic sense, they combat molecules known as free radicals, which are nasty byproducts of various body processes and other sneaky things, like smoking and pollution. If you've seen the wave of new products in the last ten years with antioxidant payloads (Acai, Pomegranate, Grape Seed, ad infinitum), you know that this is a hot area for science and consumers alike. What is important for acne fighting, and for your general health, is to have a wide-spectrum source that is good at staying in your system for long periods of time. Other people have figured out how to do this, so it is only up to you to find what works best for you and your budget.
4. Change your bedding every week. Plain and simple. Clean sheets will remove the body oil and detritus (dead skin cells) that build up quickly while you sleep. Your body loves to slough off the old and bring in the new, but when the old keeps knocking on the doors of your pores, it makes for a bad skin-neighborhood. Dust mites and bed-bugs thrive in dirty beds too. These nasty little slumber-party pests will bite you, and your unwashed pillowcase is their favorite buffet. Avoid most fabric softeners, as it leaves a residue that won't do your skin any favors. For good measure, avoid eating or prolonged awake-time in your bed too. Both of these habits grime up your crisp and clean snoozing spot.
5. Shower with gentle soaps and use equally gentle salicylic acid products afterward. Your skin gets a lot of abuse. The last place you want to punish it is in the shower. This can be the key to flawless skin, because pores are opened and product is flowing all over your skin. For your face, use a proven facial soap that contains no harsh chemicals. There are a wide range of soaps specifically for this purpose, from Nivea to Cetaphyl. Each has benefits and drawbacks, so it will take some trial and error to find one that works in harmony with your specific skin type.
Once you are out of the shower, pat your face dry and use salicylic acid acne pads. These are little round pads made by companies such as Neutrogena, and they perform a few functions. Firstly, they pull off any remaining dead skin cells in an exfoliating process, second, they deliver a payload of salicylic acid, which is a gentle yet powerful fighter of all things acne. Last, these handy pads moisturize your thirsty skin right after the shower process, which will keep it happy all day long. Follow with another moisturizer with sunscreen if you plan on being outdoors for any substantial length of time. Avoid any product with Benzoyl Peroxide.
There you have it; Five easy ways to clear acne fast.
Now here are five quick links to get you started with each step.
- Huffington Post reviews reusable water bottles for you, so you don't have to buy a bunch of trash.
- Technically for biking, mapmyride lets you plot where and how far you run, walk, bike, pogostick, or jetpack.
- Menscience is a company with a solid line of proven antioxidants. The name might throw women off, but as a full-spectrum antioxidant it is not gender-exclusive, as some multivitamins can be.
- How to best wash and care for your linens.
- Neutrogena Rapid Clear Daily Treatment Pads.