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Help! How can I get clear skin?!

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Clear skin is perhaps the Holy Grail of everything we do to cleanse, nourish and treat our skin. If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably spent more than a few minutes thinking about your skin today.

Looking in the mirror on a daily basis to cleanse our faces, use serums and moisturisers, put on makeup and remove hair by plucking, waxing or any other means, all means that we’re spending lots of time looking at our skin, and possibly scrutinising each square centimetre of it.

If you’re experiencing spots and acne breakouts, whiteheads and blackheads then it can be stressful and upsetting. We talk a lot here at Sönd about non conformist skin and what to do about it. From acne to rosacea and eczema to psoriasis, we know what it is to have stressed out skin as we’ve suffered ourselves.

Why is my skin not clear?

Many skin conditions often need specialist care, especially in the case of severe acne for example. But we believe in a holistic skin care regime that helps to tackle the underlying causes of non conformist skin that doesn’t require medical help.

There are many reasons why your skin might not be clear, and that you might experience breakouts. Our hormones play a large part, as do our genetics, our diet and our lifestyle.

So here’s our top tips on achieving clearer skin.

Cleanse twice a day with a mild cleanser

Our skin can suffer the effects of stale makeup, dirt, grime, excess oil, pollution and environmental toxins that can build up on our face every day. As we sleep, sweat (plus any makeup and grime we haven’t removed before bed) can build up.

This can all mean blocked pores, and blocked pores can mean spots, blackheads and whiteheads.

So it’s important to thoroughly cleanse the skin each morning and each evening to remove the pore blocking build up of all the things our skin is exposed to.

Using a mild cleanser will also help to nourish the skin, without stripping it of its natural oils or using harsh chemical ingredients.

Exfoliate regularly (or as regularly as your skin can tolerate)

Exfoliating using a mild exfoliant such as salicylic acid can help to clear the pores of all the dirt, makeup, pollutants, dead skin cells and other cellular debris that can block them and lead to spots and pustules.

Not everyone can exfoliate their skin as regularly as they’d like as it can cause the skin to become irritated, but aim for once or twice a week to rid the skin of pore blocking grime.

If you have sensitive skin then start off gently and build up until you start to notice the difference.

Never forget to moisturise!

Using a non pore blocking (also called non comedogenic), gentle day time and night time moisturiser (which are often slightly heavier to nourish the skin as you sleep) will help to keep the skin well hydrated. Always moisturise after cleansing the skin.

Dehydrated skin can overproduce sebum (the natural oil, waxy substance produced by the skin to keep it hydrated) to counteract the dryness. This can then lead to oiler skin that’s more prone to breakouts.

Even if you have oily skin, it's essential to moisturise after each facial cleanse. Oily skin that isn’t well moisturised will produce more sebum to compensate, making your oily skin worse.

Choose your makeup carefully

Just like opting for a gentle, oil free non pore blocking moisturiser, it makes sense to also choose makeup that doesn’t block the pores.

Heavy, oily makeup can build up on the skin and further stress stressed out skin causing those dreaded but oh so familiar spots and pimples.

When applying makeup, always use clean hands and wash your brushes, sponges and other tools regularly (preferably on a weekly basis).

Be mindful of how much you touch your skin

It’s extremely common for us humans to touch our faces. Often, when we’re working, reading, concentrating, getting animated in a conversation or even flirting, we’re touching the skin on our face (knowingly or unknowingly) and we’re inadvertently transferring dirt, oil, grime and hand cream to our face.

This can cause pore blockages, and yep, you’ve guessed it, potentially spots and unclear skin. Read our article on how to stop touching your face for tips on breaking the habit.

Get plenty of nourishing sleep and avoid stress (where possible)

Nothing says clear skin more than proper sleep. A lack of decent, restful sleep leads obviously to tiredness, but also to acne breakouts. This is thought to be by the production of pro inflammatory compounds that can be caused by a chronic lack of sleep.

Feeling tired can also cause us to become stressed or anxious which can also lead to our skin becoming stresseddue to the release of the stress hormone cortisol.

So do all you can to get a good night’s sleep.

Be careful of your diet and lifestyle habits

Our skin is very much a representation of what we put into it from the inside as well as the outside.

Eating a diet high in sugary foods and white carbs can cause the release of pro inflammatory compounds leading to a build up of inflammation in the body. This can then lead to far from clear skin.

Also, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of clear fluids and avoiding excess consumption of caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks will help to flush out and clear the skin.

Smoking is a big no no for the skin too, as it can lead to acne spots, breakouts and dull, clogged skin. This is due to smoking restricting the fine blood vessels that deliver nourishing nutrients and oxygen to the skin.

What can I do to get clear skin fast?

We wish we could give you some magic advice that meant, overnight we could all put something on our skin that would allow us to wake up with the clearest skin ever, free from spots, oil, acne breakouts, pigmentation problems and blemishes forever.

But we can’t. If we could, we’d probably be extremely rich and quite honestly, we’d be sipping cocktails by a pool somewhere hot.

Clear skin isn’t achieved by a quick fix. It takes time, dedication and trial and error. But follow our tips here and you could be on your way to your clearest skin.

How can I keep my skin clear?

Just like clear skin doesn’t happen overnight, keeping your skin clear isn’t simply a case of doing things once or twice and then letting your new found clear skin routine slip.

Dedication and commitment is the name of the game and following our tips and knowing what works for you will help to maintain your clear skin.

Don’t forget, your skin is as unique as you, and will behave uniquely and respond to different skin care and beauty regimes differently and at different speeds to other people. But don’t ever give up the dream of clearer skin - and most definitely, love the skin you’re in!

Hannah de Gruchy BSc(Hons)

About Author

Hannah de Gruchy is a freelancer writer who specialises in health and wellness. She has a keen interest in the biology of skin and loves using her words to help separate the real science of skincare from the pseudoscience of some skincare brands. Hannah has a degree in Human Biology and many years’ experience working in laboratories around London. Using this experience, Hannah enjoys turning complex science into interesting, engaging and easy to digest pieces to read. In her spare time, Hannah runs, practices yoga and loves cooking plant based foods.

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