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9 tips on how to reduce acne and take care of your oily skin

Written by 28 December 2020

Updated: 27 July’18 & 12 Mar’21

For the past few years I’ve started getting a lot of spots the week before my period is due – bigger spots around my face and smaller ones across my forehead. Not only that, I also get spots throughout the month – on the sides of my forehead, my cheeks and my chin. After a lot of reading and getting advice from friends, my skin looks more glowy and any spots I do get fade a LOT quicker than what they used to.

Here’s my list of my top 10 things to do, and not do, to help reduce the amount of spots you’re getting:

  1. Don’t pop them!
  2. Review what you’re putting on your face
  3. Use clean towels
  4. Use clean pillow cases
  5. Are you removing all your make up?
  6. Clean your make up brushes
  7. What make up are you using?
  8. What vitamins are you taking?
  9. Get a spot clearing gel

Don’t pop spots

You don’t have to tell me how hard this one is. There’s not much else better than popping a good spot and having the gunk ooze out. But this is doing your face no good at all. The white stuff in a spot is actually magical liquid helping to GET RID of the spot. So guess what? By squeezing the white goodness, you are 1. removing the goodness fighting the spot 2. making the bacteria go further into your skin increasing the size of the spot and increasing the time it takes to go 3. probably going to leave yourself a scar.

Tips for leaving your spots alone

Don’t look in a mirror.

When I get in and take my makeup off, my most popular time of day for a good spot-popping session was after my evening shower, after I’d taken my makeup off. Spots look worse after a shower because the hot water makes your pores open.

After a shower, I don’t even go near my (amazing) magnifying mirror. I put my creams/moisturiser on without looking. I don’t see my face all red and by the time I look in a mirror, my face has cooled and any spots have reduced in size.

Review what you’re putting on your face

Be honest – how many products are you putting on your face in a day? When I did this assessment, I realised I was:

  1. cleaning my face with a product (morning)
  2. putting 2-3 moisturisers on (morning)
  3. putting primer on (morning)
  4. putting make up on (morning)
  5. removing make up with a product (evening)
  6. putting 2 moisturisers on (evening)
  7. putting on night cream moisturiser (evening)

So that’s a minimum of 9 different products I was putting on my face per day. Your skin is only thin – it can’t possibly hold this much. I figured something must be irritating it so I started to slowly reduce:

1. how much of each product I was using (1 drop instead of 2)
2. reduce the total amount of products I was using.
3. not putting products on all over my face – taking care to reduce the products added to my oily bits (forehead) in a morning

Now my routine looks like this:

  1. cleansing my face with a product (morning)
  2. add 1x 2 moisturiser and 1x SPF on (morning) I’ve stopped moisturising my oily bits in a morning which has done wonders for stopping my forehead being so oily by the evening. SPF still goes on all over, though.
  3. add primer sparingly (morning) not all the time if I’m not wearing makeup
  4. add make up (morning) not all the time
  5. removing make up with a product (evening) I use The Body Shop Camomile makeup remover on my eyes, but for my face, I use a reusable Face Halo pad
  6. NEW: cleanse & tone (evening) – cleansing and toning take off every last trace of makeup/dirt from the day
  7. putting 2 moisturisers on (evening) any other products such as Retinol 3x weekly – I use the same products but I use 1 drop instead of 2 and I don’t use harsh products on my dry patches like I used to
  8. add night cream moisturiser (evening) unlike the morning, I put moisturisers on my oily patches which can be washed off in the morning and doesn’t make my oiliness worse during the day

My skin honestly feels like it’s breathing again and my spots have reduced from this routine.

Use clean towels

If when you wash your face, you dry it with the closest towel… stop! Your partner could have just used that to dry their feet. Or bum, urghhhh. The towel could have been sat wet for a time, collecting germs.

I never dry my face with a towel. I usually leave it to dry – it only takes 5 minutes. Or if I need to, I dap it with 2 small pieces if toilet paper. I never use something that’s already out, having been used already.

The same can be said if you use a reusable make up remover cloth. If you leave it out damp or wet, it’ll collect mould so it’s the last thing you want to use on your face.

Use clean pillow cases

I sleep for 7+ hours so that’s a lot of time my face is lay on something. If you have spots, the bacteria will rub off on to your pillow and stay there, so the next night, that bacteria will make its way back to your face.

I make sure to never sleep on the same side twice. I have spares so I don’t need to wash my pillow case and dry it before re-using.

Are you removing all your make up?

I’ve used Face Halo for a while now with The Body Shop Camomile butter make up remover to remove not only face makeup but also eye makeup.

My Face Halo’s have seen better days
The Body Shop Camomile butter – for removing make up

I therefore changed my routine a little. I still use the camomile butter on all my face including my eyes/face, but I also use a toner & cleanser afterwards to remove any last trace of makeup.

Clean your make up brushes

Easily forgotten! If you’re constantly hiding spots, you need to constantly be cleaning your brushes.

I use ISOClean to clean mine which takes literally minutes and they’re as clean as new.

Clean your make up brushes weekly or even daily

What make up are you using?

Do you have new spots appear during the day? If so, that could be a sign your make up is irritating your skin.

Your best bet is to try and see what works for you. Read online reviews and use https://www.skincarisma.com/ingredient-analyzer to check out the ingredients before you buy. It shows you any ingredients that could irritate your skin, in particular if you have spots, dry skin or oily skin.

What vitamins are you taking?

I’ve been taking biotin for hair growth. It works! But at the same time, too much, you guessed it, can bring on spots. I found this to be true. Since I’ve stopped taking a daily biotin vitamin, my spots have reduced. I now take only 2 per week.

Get a spot clearing gel

I’ve used Dermalogica Breakout Clearing Booster for putting on angry spots to help them disappear. I’ve also used Benzoyl Peroxide which kills the bacteria in spots, but it’s very strong and dries out skin, so use sparingly and be careful.

Update: March 2021

I’ve just started using polyester pillowcases which are soft enough to help improve your skin. They don’t soak in the lotions and potions you put on before sleeping, unlike cotton. I’m using them instead of silk, which isn’t cruelty-free. Have a read of my article where I discuss my new polyester pillowcases & show how my hair looks after sleeping. I was happily surprised!

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