As much as it may seem like it, that breakout didn’t appear to ruin your life. The truth is, acne has many causes, some that you can control, like washing your face and changing your pillowcase, and some that you can’t, like genetics and hormonal fluctuations. That’s why it’s important to understand what causes breakouts and how to treat them.
To help you clear up your skin, I’ve gathered tips from Dr. Melissa K. Levin, an NYC-based dermatologist and founder of Entiere Dermatology. From sneaky things that might be causing you to breakout to the best acne products that really work, here’s everything you need to know about how to get clear skin–fast.
Always wash your face before going to bed
I don’t care how tired you are, you are NOT allowed to sleep in your makeup. Trust me, your future, pimple-free self will thank you. Wash your face for 30 to 45 seconds every night with a nickel-size amount of face wash. (That’s how long it takes to clear all the dirt and oil off your face.)
Oh, and by the way, there’s actually a chance that you’re washing your face all wrong. Watch this video from dermatologist Liv Kraemer to learn all the ins and outs of proper face-washing
Don’t skip the moisturizer
If your skin is oily, you might be tempted to go without your morning moisturizer, but drying out your skin can actually make acne worse. It’s important to pick the right moisturizer, so it doesn’t worsen breakouts or cause your skin to become more oily.
Dr. Levin advises picking a daily lotion that will absorb any excess shine–like Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer, the winner for Best Moisturizer in Seventeen’s 2019 Beauty Awards. “Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer contains Micropearl technology to absorb surface oil for a matte finish,” Dr. Levin says.
Wash off ALL your cleanser
Leftover cleanser equals leftover dirt and oil. Rinse with tepid water (hot water dries out your skin and cold water closes your pores) until skin feels clean and smooth and no longer slippery or soapy.
Be gentle on your skin
Scrubbing too hard leaves skin rough and red. Don’t fight with your face. Skip harsh scrubs and even washcloths, which can be too rough on your face and can cause irritation, which in turn, can make you more susceptible to breakouts. If you use your hands, be sure they’re clean, or you’ll transfer acne-causing dirt and oil right back onto your face.
Don’t skip your morning wash
Hairstyling products get absorbed by your pillowcase then transfer to your skin — if it’s not cleared away in the am, it’ll clog your pores all day long. For your before-school wash, try something brightening that’ll help wake up your skin. If you have a hard time getting up in the morning, a cooling face wash can help you really look alive.
You need to clean your phone, too
If you’re seeing pimples on your cheeks or anywhere near the area where you hold your phone, they may be from your phone. Since it’s always in your hand, your phone picks up lots of bacteria, which can then get transferred to your face when you make a phone call. Wipe your screen with an antibacterial wipe often to get rid of germs
Stop touching your face
You know how you rest your chin on your hand when you’re sitting in class? That might be the reason for those blemishes on your cheek or jaw. You’re constantly touching things that have germs and bacteria — anything from your phone to your locker — so, putting your hands on your face transfers all of that onto your skin.
The trick is to remove the layers of dead skin cells and dirt that are blocking your pores — and your skin’s natural glow. Products with alpha hydroxy and lactic acids exfoliate gently to make you look radiant.
If your skin still feels oily, instead of washing again (which can make your skin produce even more oil), try an astringent after cleansing.
Change your pillowcase
Not changing your pillowcases enough can also cause your skin to break out. Even if you wash your face every night, your pillowcases carry dirt and sweat from your hair, hands, and build up from the products you use on your face at night. It’s a good idea to change it every few days.
Cut down your skincare routine
Too many products can irritate and too many steps may tempt you to skip. When it comes to your skin, more is definitely NOT more. In other words, trying a bunch of different remedies at once won’t boost your chances of making the zit disappear — more likely, it’ll just wreak havoc on your skin and turn a teeny-tiny pimple into a red, blotchy mess.
Wash your makeup brushes
Make sure to wash your makeup brushes regularly with brush cleanser or baby shampoo. If you use makeup sponges, wash those too. These tools can accumulate bacteria, which can lead to breakouts. Dirty brushes can make the most expensive skincare routines go to waste.
Here’s how to properly wash your face brushes.
This article was originally published on Seventeen