Facts Checked By Freewill Beauty Experts - Written by Nancy Agrahari (Journalist) on 26th Sep 2020

Skincare Tips to Reduce Acne and to Get Clear Skin

Say No to Acne

For some of us, pimples, breakouts, and acne are a regular in our lives. Trying out different products brings skin irritation and redness in tow. And because acne is often triggered by hormones (causing pimples, blackheads, whiteheads), there isn’t a fool-proof way to prevent it.

But, there are few ways you can suppress its severity and get a clear looking skin.

When it comes to reducing acne on the face, people tend to miss the basics and jump on the first DIY remedy. This often leads to inflammation, more pimples, and the cycle tends to continue. Oily skin is prone to acne, and regular washing off the face won’t hit the mark.

Here are our top tried-and-tested tips to prevent acne and help your skin feel its best. 

1. Use a Gentle Face Cleanser Every Day.

Hey, you beauty, using a gentle face cleanser can be the golden tip you need for a clearer complexion. Ensure your skin stays free from oil, dirt, bacteria, or dead skin cells if you wish to keep it clear. A gentle face cleanser will not only remove the excess dirt from the skin but will keep it hydrated too.

Gentle cleansers also work great at removing oil while keeping a tab on the essential ones.

Though cleansing sounds like a pretty basic idea, using harsh, alcohol mixed cleansers can worsen it. Most over-the-counter products contain sulfates that can dry your skin. And even though getting rid of oil sounds exciting, it isn’t the purpose.

Over cleansing or using harsh cleansers will reduce essential or natural oils. If you rip off all oil and moisture from your skin, then your oil glands produce more oil to counteract. This results in more oil, and your skin shines like a mirror. 

Minimalist Experts Say:

Use salicylic acid face washes twice a day. Salicylic acid is best for acne-prone or oily skin and significantly reduces acne.  

2. Keep Vanity in Check

With acne comes a bad habit of staring at the mirror and picking them. As satisfying as it sounds, picking out your spots will only worsen the irritation. In case you pluck too hard, it might scar your skin.

Plus, staring at the mirror will not build your confidence; it may lower it instead.  

3. Squeeze Out The Pimple Correctly

Some people go along with the idea of popping the pimple, while others frown upon it. Picking the pimple should only be done when necessary - when the puss comes out, and you need to clean it. The right way of cleaning the puss is by doing it ‘gently’.

Want some tips on how to squeeze out a pimple? Well, it might seem gross, but you can’t help it when squeezing is the only way to go. Right? So, make a note, my dear (We highly recommend to seek professional help for squeezing acne):

  • Maintain hygiene: Make sure you gently squeeze out the pus from the pimple. Pop it only if it is hygienic. Else, you may only end up opening the pores for the bacteria to go inside the epidermis. Touch the pimples only when they are ready to be cleaned. Otherwise, use a gentle exfoliator.
  • Exfoliate: Gentle exfoliation helps eliminate all the excess oil, bacteria, or sebum accumulated near the pimple. Use fragrance-free, SA 2% cleansers for reducing acne and getting clear, plump skin.
  • Clean your face and grab a tissue: Before squeezing out the puss, wash your hands and face. Wrap a tissue around your nails (to avoid infection) and grab a few cotton buds. Sterilize the needle before use and lightly stick it on the pimple. This way, the puss will have a space to escape, and it will come right out rather than going deeper into the skin.  

4. Moisturize Your Skin Regularly

Regular moisturization keeps your skin hydrated and relaxed. Using fragrance-free, non-comedogenic moisturizers minimizes pore-clogging and gives you an oil-free, clean look.

Many over-the-counter products have creams with oils, fragrances, or unnecessary ingredients that may cause skin redness or irritation.  

Pro Tip:

Always choose organic, oil-free creams for acne-prone skin. Use moisturizers after washing your face, when it is dry or when you step out of the house. 

5. Use Anti-Acne Products

Using anti-acne products will help visibly reduce acne and smoothen your skin. Acne is usually caused due to four main factors - inflammation, clogged pores, bacteria, and excess oil. When you use anti-acne products that target these factors, it will bring a significant change in your acne-prone skin. 

Michelle, Chemistry Ph.D. and beauty lover, Says:

Look for physical or chemical exfoliants that gently unclog pores without causing any inflammation

Know all about direct acids and choose the right exfoliator for yourself. Also, to calm your acne inflammation or redness you can use anti-inflammatory Niacinamide serums. Niacinamide also helps in keeping your oil in check so best suited for acne-prone oily skin.

Did You Know?

Antibiotics may work well for the skin and help reduce inflammation and bacteria. For effective acne removal, you can also use benzoyl peroxide 2%. It is a complete acne-removal solution that gently cleanses your skin, leaving it radiant and smooth.

6. Hydrate Your Skin

Lack of hydration can lead to dull, dry, and itchy skin. Our skin is like a fluffy mattress where every layer needs to be hydrated. Lack of hydration will send red flags to the oil glands to produce more oil, which will result in pimples and oily skin. 

Pro Tip:

For clear, glowing skin, drink at least 8-9 ounce glasses of water every day.  

7. Meditate

Listen to your mother when she asks you to calm down. It is not just good for your mind, but for your skin too. We understand that stress is a regular these days, but you need to relax.

A scientific study reveals that stress and acne are strongly correlated. Those with higher stress usually have higher acne severity. Overthinkers, time for some relaxation now.

To reduce stress, you can try the following: 

  • meditation
  • yoga
  • massage
  • brisk walking

8. Use Some Ice Around The Pimple

Use ice to soothe your skin. It will not only calm you down but will help reduce the swelling around the pimple. If you are experiencing acne around your periods (menstruation), know that it is pretty common. Try not to fuss over it.  

9. Use Ingredients Containing Salicylic Acid or Lactic Acid

reduce acne

The beauty industry hit the jackpot with the invention of salicylic acid and lactic acid. Their use in skincare products has changed the world forever and for the better.

Salicylic acid, or beta hydroxy acid, is a gentle exfoliator that works by dissolving dead skin cells from the surface. Regular use of salicylic acid in face washes will help clear acne from breakout-prone skin.

Lactic acid is another powerful direct acid that helps reduce acne, whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, and breakouts. It is one of the mildest direct acids in the alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) family tree and is loved for its acne-treating capabilities. Look for serums that have 8-10% of lactic acid. A higher concentration of LA increases the skin’s epidermis and dermis layers’ thickness and firmness. It also inhibits melanin production. 

10. Watch What You Eat

Your diet has a direct effect on how you look. Research shows that eating carbs, dairy, or saturated fats promote acne. If you have a sweet tooth or love carbs, you need to watch what you eat.

Bid farewell to junk food and sugary beverages and yes to fresh food for getting rid of those annoying pimples.  

11. Rock That Bare Skin

Acne and makeup don't gel well. So, if you have acne-prone skin, try to limit your makeup wear. And if you have to wear make-up, then go for non-oily and non-comedogenic products specially formulated to avoid pore-clogging and subsequent irritation or inflammation.

While you can always find foundations, blushes, and other makeup products that are meant for acne-prone skin, it’s good to allow the skin to breathe sometimes - especially when you are sleeping. 

Minimalist Experts Say:

Never wear makeup to bed. Not removing makeup before sleeping ages you faster, and it’s one of the top culprits for pigmentation, enlarged pores, and broken veins.

Pro Tip:

Check the ingredients list before buying make-up products and look for oil-free, dye-free, and chemical-free ones.  

12. Keep Your Hands off Your Face

As cliche as it may sound, try not to touch your face every half an hour. And there’s some scientific reason backing up this tip. Remember that your hands encounter bacteria, viruses, and dirt throughout the day. So, touching your face with your dirty hands will only infect your pores and spread the germs all over.

This is why keep those hands off your face. And if it’s necessary, then wash your hands before touching your face. Also, always use a gentle hand while applying the products you want.

Try this, and you will see a dramatic change in how your acne behaves, or disappears, for that matter. 

Pro Tip:

If you love to curl up to sleep and find that you have pimples often, then try changing your sleeping position. There are chances you are touching your face and leaving it open for bacteria to feast on.  

13. Stop Picking Your Skin

Let’s face it - we all have popped pimples at some point in our lives. But squeezing out the pimples will only damage the skin, leaving behind scars. When you deliberately squeeze out the zits, it can spread infection and lead to long-term damage.

Resist the urge to pick on your blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples with a white crown. This will help to reduce the acne and allow them to heal faster with no scars.

14. Sun Exposure is a Big NO!

Exposure to UV rays can lead to sunburn or erythema that can cause acne, dull skin, tan lines, or cancer. So, being exposed to the sun for long can damage your skin and aggravate your acne.

According to a study, frequent sun exposure promotes photoaging by breaking down the collagen and increasing the free radicals.

For clear, healthy skin, avoid deliberate tanning, and always wear sunscreen when exposed to the sun. Sunscreen protects the skin from the harsh rays of the sun. Applying sunscreen on the face blocks out all the UVA damage to your collagen levels, thus giving you radiant skin.

The ideal way to incorporate sunscreen into your routine is to apply it with a moisturizer. Wear a broad spectrum SPF 50+ sunscreen every day regardless of the season.

Keep your focus on healing your acne. Wear sunglasses and cover your head either with a hat or a scarf when you are out. 

Pro Tip:

Reapply your sunscreen every two hours to keep its effectiveness on.

Key Takeaways

Everyone has to deal with pimples once in their life. Teenage years, PMS, and bingeing on those chocolates and candies could be the reasons.

But, hey, relax. Take a deep breath, exercise, eat well, and take good care of your skin. Never let anyone stop you from being the best version of yourself, especially acne.

If this condition takes a toll on your mental health or social life, then follow the above tips or try some of the best direct acids and gentle exfoliators out there. And don’t hesitate to consult a dermatologist if the condition is worse than what you can handle.  

Minimalist Experts Say:

Follow a customized skincare routine for glowing skin and keep your spirits and your chin up.