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10 Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Deal With Acne

Skin-Saving Change No. 5: Say ‘Yes’ to SPF

You may be apprehensive about slathering SPF on your face because you’ve noticed that after a day in the sun (after getting “sun-kissed) your complexion looks clear and breakout-free. But you’re playing with fire on all fronts. The sun dries out skin, hence the less-oily/pimpled complexion. And if you get burned, the inflammation aggravates acne lesions and pores, potentially leading to worsening acne.

It’s important to wear SPF each and every time you’re in the sun. Read the ingredients list on the back of your sunscreen, and if you’re acne-prone, look for the lighter, non-occlusive chemical ingredients like avobenzone, oxybenzone, methoxycinnamate, or octocylene. Sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium oxide tend to be thicker and sometimes more likely to block pores and aggravate acne-prone skin. If you have acne, look for “noncomedogenic” on the label, which means it should not clog your skin’s pores.

Skin-Saving Change No. 6: Become a Fan of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

It seems like there’s no end to the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids (aka “good fats”). And here’s one more for you: Omega-3s have been shown to control the production of leukotriene B4, a molecule that can increase sebum and cause inflammatory acne. To reap the benefits of the complexion-perfecting nutrient, pop a daily omega-3 supplement, or add foods like walnuts, avocados, flaxseed oil, and salmon into your diet.   

Skin-Saving Change No. 7: Cleanse Twice a Day

The face has more oil-producing glands than any other parts of the body, says Carolyn Jacob, MD, a Chicago-based dermatologist. Top that with a day’s worth of makeup, sweat, smog, dust, and dirt, and you’re left with a pore-clogging concoction that, if not washed away regularly, will seep into and clog pores, resulting in blackheads and pimples. Even if you don’t shower twice a day, it’s important to cleanse your face in the morning and at night. Look for cleansers that say “noncomedogenic” on the bottle and wash your face thoroughly -- and gently -- every a.m. and p.m.   

Skin-Saving Change No. 8: Exfoliate

Sure, overzealous oil glands can lead to breakouts, but so can under-performing oil glands. Dry skin has tiny cracks in which bacteria can breed, plus excessive flaking can lead to clogged pores. The fix: Gently exfoliate skin a few times a week with a scrub designed for the face, and follow up with a noncomedogenic (there’s that word again) moisturizer.

Skin-Saving Change No. 9: De-Germ Your Cell Phone

Several studies have shown that cell phones are hotbeds for germs. Throughout any given day your phone can be exposed to thousands of bacteria, which spread from your fingers (via texting) to your face (via talking) and vice versa. In addition, the heat produced by your phone can aid in the multiplication of bacteria. Yuck! To keep the germs from landing on your face, wipe the surface of your phone with a little hand sanitizer each day.  

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