10 science-backed ways to get clear skin without pricey products
Getting clear skin doesn't have to require an expensive
Instead, there are a few changes you can make that will get you glowing skin that's healthy and blemish-free.
Here are our best tips for fighting acne, keeping oily skin at bay, and making dry patches disappear.
1. Wash your face
It's essential to wash your face after a workout, in the evening, and even in the morning if you have particularly oily skin.
Using a facial cleanser removes dirt, oils, and other particles that have built up on your skin throughout the day. This will help keep your skin free of pore-clogging debris that could lead to breakouts.
If you're wondering what cleanser to buy, you may want to peruse this round up of the best facial cleansers by Insider Reviews.
2. Use toner
After you have washed your face, it's important to use toner. What toner does is that it removes the excess residue that is left behind after cleansing.
Toner also boosts moisture and calms your skin. Look for toners that contain ingredients like chamomile or glycerin for extra soothing and moisturizing properties.
3. Nourish your skin with vitamins
In case you need another reason to eat fruits and vegetables, just remember that consuming nutrition-packed foods can also benefit your skin. Vitamins that are good for your skin include:
- Vitamin A: It helps with skin turnover, meaning that it helps your skin shed dead skin cells and replace them with new, fresh ones.
- Vitamin B: Getting enough vitamins B7, B12 can prevent anemia and eczema that can affect your complexion. Vitamin B3, or niacin, also helps skin maintain moisture.
- Vitamin C and E: It helps build collagen, a protein that helps keep skin's elasticity and reduces fine lines from sun damage.
- Vitamin E: It's an antioxidant that prevents the breakdown of collagen, which can cause fine lines and wrinkles.
You can get these vitamins through your diet or through topical applications.
4. Use a moisturizer
Some people only reach for moisturizer when their skin is feeling dry or cracked. But moisturizer can help all skin types.
If you have oily skin, you might not think you need a moisturizer, but this is far from the truth. "Not using a moisturizer can backfire for those with oily skin," says Debra Jaliman, MD. Without a proper moisturizer, the skin produces even more oil to make up for missing moisture. Keeping your skin hydrated keeps both oil and dryness in check, which means a clearer complexion and fewer breakouts.
Just be sure to pick the right kind of moisturizer for your skin type. Most of the time, this means an oil-free moisturizer, which is lighter on your skin and more readily absorbed. For more intense hydration, you could try a moisturizing face mask that you leave on your skin for 10-20 minutes.
5. Avoid hot showers
Taking long, hot showers of over 105 degrees Fahrenheit can strip away your skin's natural moisture. This can cause a number of skin issues including dry, flaky skin.
Instead of stepping into a steamy bath, try taking a lukewarm shower with water around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or about body temperature. If this doesn't work, you could try slathering coconut oil on your body before you bathe to prevent moisture loss.
6. Stop using harsh soaps
When buying bath soap, steer clear of ingredients like sulfates or added fragrances. The skin has natural oils that help keep it healthy, but harsh soaps can strip this oil away and cause dryness or irritation.
Harsh soaps can also break down the protective skin barrier that keeps moisture in. This can cause dry skin. Even if you aren't using soaps that contain fragrances or sulfates, remember that just the act of lathering and rinsing can cause irritation — so don't scrub too hard!
7. Consider taking birth control
Acne can be caused by excess oil, clogged pores, and even genetics. But one of the most common causes of acne is a hormonal imbalance. The culprit here is androgens, which are hormones that increase the skin's oil production.
Women's androgen levels rise during puberty and during pregnancy, which is why people tend to break out during these times. To solve this, ask your doctor about trying birth control. Hormonal birth control reduces androgen production, which should lead to fewer breakouts.
There are currently three brands of birth control that the FDA has approved for treating acne:
8. Try salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide for acne
If you have acne-prone skin, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide treatments can save you from slathering on the concealer. But you may have to wait a bit since both these treatments take a minimum of 4 weeks to start working.
Salicylic acid works by penetrating deeply into your skin and dissolving pore-clogging debris like dead skin cells and dirt. It is also an anti-inflammatory, which means it can reduce redness.
Salicylic acid works best for people who get mostly blackheads and whiteheads, but it can still be an effective pimple-fighter. You can get it from the store in spot-treatment formulas or apply it daily in the form of a toner.
Another breakout remedy is benzoyl peroxide. This medicine kills acne-causing germs on the surface of your skin, which leads to fewer breakouts. Its antiseptic qualities make it one of dermatologists' go-to acne treatments, but you can also get it over-the-counter.
9. Don't stress
Though stressing less may be easier said than done, your skin may thank you for relaxing a little. High levels of stress can lead to insulin resistance, which in turn leads to higher blood sugar levels. This contributes to a process called glycation which diminishes your skin's elasticity and causes wrinkles and premature aging.
Stress also causes your body to produce a hormone called cortisol, which increases the amount of oil that your skin makes. Oily skin means more clogged pores and breakouts.
One more reason to stay calm: Stress hinders the body's immune system, which means it can't fight acne-causing bacteria as well. That bacteria will feed on your skin's excess oil and rapidly reproduce. This can lead to massive breakouts that can make you stress even more causing a vicious cycle.
If you need help shaking off your stress, some ways to find relief include:
10. Use sunscreen
UV light from the sun can cause all sorts of damage to your skin. Sunlight inflames skin cells, causing premature aging, dark spots, and wrinkles. Even if you don't end up with a sunburn, just spending time outside exposes your skin cells to cancer-causing radiation.
To protect yourself, always apply a broad-spectrum, SPF 15 sunscreen while going outside. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and measures how much UV light it blocks from your skin.
It's important to wear SPF 15 sunscreen every day, even if you're not headed to the beach. And for days when you know you're going to be spending lots of time outdoors, be sure to up your protection factor and use SPF 30. But if you do happen to get sunburn, use aloe vera to heal your skin properly.
The bottom line
Getting clear skin doesn't have to be complicated. Just making small changes like washing your face more often or turning down the temperature of the water when you shower can make a huge difference.
Just remember that everyone's skin is different, so be patient with breakouts and try not to let your skin stress you out.
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