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Acne Health Center

10 Lifestyle Steps to Help Your Acne

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By Ayren Jackson-Cannady
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD

Beating breakouts isn't just about what lotions you put on your skin. You could see your acne improve if you make some simple changes to your daily routine.

No. 1: Get More Sleep

According to a study in Sleep, the risk of psychological stress increases by 14% for every hour of sleep you lose a night. So what does this have to do with acne?

"Stress increases glucocorticoid production, which can lead to abnormalities in skin structure and function," says Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, a dermatologist in Danville, CA. And that can make conditions like acne worse.

To get your beauty sleep, crank your thermostat down to between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. French researchers found that a cooler body temperature makes it easier to fall asleep after you've hit the sack.

No. 2: Tweak Your Diet

Some foods cause your blood sugar to rise quickly, triggering a boost in insulin.

Too much insulin in your bloodstream can trigger changes in your body that can lead to the growth of pore-clogging cells. It can also boost action in your oil glands.

So make some changes to your meals. A study in the American Journal of Nutrition suggests you may have fewer breakouts if you add more whole grains, beans, and veggies and cut back on pasta, white rice, white bread, and sugar.

No. 3: Get Some Exercise

Exercise helps cut stress, which may contribute to acne outbreaks.

Physical activity also helps your skin by increasing your blood circulation, which sends more oxygen to your skin cells and carries cell waste away.

But keep in mind that sweat from exercise can also lead to breakouts by irritating your skin. So it's important to shower right after a workout.

No. 4: Sip Water

Increasing the amount of water you drink is a great way to flush out internal toxins and hydrate your skin from the inside out. Though there is no definitive research that shows toxins lead to breakouts, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia found that having about 2 cups of water significantly boosted blood flow throughout the body and skin.

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