As someone who had acne from the age of 10 and well into adulthood, I could have saved a lot of time (and money!) if I knew that I had control over what was happening to my skin. In many ways, our skin is a reflection of our lifestyle, and how we treat our bodies is the foundation for achieving the results we want to see. Below are the most important lifestyle changes I made that made my skin clearer, softer, and healthier.
1. Drink More Water
Yep, you knew it was coming. Drinking ample amounts of water daily makes a huge difference in the look and feel of your skin. It even plays a role in the effectiveness of your skincare products. On days where I would barely drink water or (gasp) no water at all, I noticed how my cleansers failed to produce as much lather and I had to use twice as much as I normally would. When I drink lots of water, my skin accepts my products and they don't have to work as hard.
2. Leave Dairy Alone.
I'm sorry. I love ice cream and cheese and much as the next person, but dairy is pretty much the devil if you have acne prone skin. There are studies that directly link the consumption of dairy to acne. I haven't completely eliminated it from my diet, but I don't consume nearly as much as I used to and my skin has drastically improved because of it.
3. Get To Know Your Skin
This takes time and intention. Notice how your skin behaves after you eat certain foods (dairy, meat, sugar, gluten) , consume different drinks (caffeine, juices, alcohol), and partake in certain activities (staying up late, binge drinking). Not to get all preachy on you, but this is the stuff I wish I knew back when I was eating whole pints of ice cream, drinking sodas, and not getting enough sleep. As a general rule, if you listen, your body will tell you what it needs and what it doesn't. The same goes for your skin.
4. Stop Using So Many Damn Products
Yes, product junkies, I'm talking to you. Do you really need 3 cleansers, 5 serums, and 10 moisturizers? Will you break out if you don't do that 10 step K-beauty routine? Do you have to exfoliate every single day? No, you'll be ok. I get it though—you love pampering your skin. I do too. But you have to give your skin time to breathe, generate new cells, and acclimate to new things. If you're always packing it on, you're not giving your skin a chance to show you if your products are actually working. On top of that, you may end up causing irritation and breakouts. Relax and be patient.
5. Be consistent.
As with anything in life, consistency is key! If you want to see results, develop an easy routine that works for you and stick to it. Don't expect drastic changes overnight.
If nothing else
—cleanse, tone, and moisturize daily. Don't sleep in your makeup. Keep your skin and your body hydrated. I heard that minding your business helps too...