We all have seen those lists before: paragraph upon paragraph of rules and restrictions to finally get the clear, blemish-free skin we all desire. Exercise, eat healthy, drink enough water, get a lot of sleep, remove your makeup every night and on and on it goes. Of course, those are all important points and not to be discounted but usually those steps take a lot of time, effort, and hard work to actually implement.
I’ve struggled with blemishes ever since puberty and I have the scars to prove it. Only recently have I gotten into a good skin care routine that finally cleared up my skin. During this process I’ve also made a few changes in my lifestyle that have had a profound effect on the condition of my skin. Nothing radical like exercising five times a week (I hate working out) or drastically changing my diet (who wants to live without chocolate?). These changes were actually pretty easy to implement, don’t take up a lot of time, and don’t cost a ton of money. Today I want to share them with you.
1. Remove your makeup as soon as you get home
I usually get home from work around 5pm and go to bed at 10 and most 8-4 folks probably have a similar routine. If you remove your makeup as soon as you get home instead of waiting until bed time, that’s five extra hours of makeup-free time. Think about it! That’s five additional hours where your pores aren’t clogged by the grease and grime of the day. I try to remove my makeup as soon as I get home unless I have some other commitment later on in the evening. I usually also go through my whole skin care routine at this point, which means that my products have more time to work their magic. Sometimes I even go in with another round of moisturizers or facial oils right before bed time to give my skin some extra pampering.
2. Wash off your cleanser properly
We all have seen commercials for facial cleansers where the actress happily splashes her face with water to remove the product and her skin looks radiant and glowing afterward. Unfortunately, a lot of cleansers don’t budge as easily especially when it comes to heavy-duty balms and oils. They can leave residue on your skin that might clog pores and lead to breakouts. I remove all my cleansers using a washcloth and haven’t had any problems with them leaving any stickiness behind. Of course you have to launder your washcloths regularly so that they don’t become a breading ground for bacteria. I have about 20 washcloths on rotation and use a new one every day. You can find an 8-pack for less than $5 at Target so it’s a pretty inexpensive investment.
3. Give your exfoliating toner time to work
This is the change in my routine that has probably had the biggest impact on the condition of my skin. I’m usually in a hurry and don’t take my time doing my skin care routine so I tend to apply one product right after the other. But exfoliating toners especially need some time to do their magic. Now I try to wait at least ten minutes before applying any subsequent products and it has made a world of a difference. I use this time to brush my teeth, apply body lotion, do my stretches, and fix my hair. By rearranging my routine I’m not wasting any valuable time but I give my products sufficient room to do their job.
4. Wash your pillow case at least once a week
Every time I suffer from a sudden burst of breakouts and congested pores I know it’s time to wash my pillow case. Once I sleep in a fresh set of sheets those blemishes will magically disappear. It isn’t really surprising considering that your pillow case will collect all kinds of gross stuff: dead skin cells, sebum, oil, hair, makeup residue, and the list goes on. You really don’t want your face touching that all night, do you? I now try to remember to wash my pillow case once a week. More often would be even better but ain’t nobody got time for that.
5. Sleep on your back
In addition to changing your pillow case more often you might also want to consider trying to sleep on your back. That way your face won’t even come into contact with all the ickiness that is hiding in your pillow. It’s generally a better posture to sleep in anyway and another added side benefit is that you won’t wake up with wrinkly sheet impressions on your face. Bonus!
And that’s it. Pretty easy, huh?