17 Daily Habits of People Who Never Get Acne

As many as 50 million of us develop acne each year, so what about the millions who maintain a flawless complexion year-round? What do they know or do that we don't? Lots, as it turns out.

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They never skip a face-wash

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Wondering how to prevent acne? You might start by considering your choice of skin cleanser and how often you use it, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research and assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai in New York City. "While having acne does not mean that you are dirty, washing your face has been shown in studies to improve the appearance of acne," he says. Using a gentle skin cleanser that effectively removes dirt, oil, and makeup from the skin can help maintain a healthy skin barrier. " The key is to actually wash your face. Every. Single. Night. Skipping your daily face wash regimen, he adds, may lead to breakouts as dirt, oil, and makeup can block your pores. Here's why adults get acne and what you can do about it.

 

They clean their smartphones

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Don't freak out, but your phone screen is way dirtier than you think. "Studies have shown that your cell phone is dirtier than a public toilet," Dr. Zeichner says. "If you are not cleaning it regularly with an alcohol swab and it rubs against your face, you may be transferring that dirt to the skin, which combined with friction, may promote breakouts," he says. Texas-based dermatologist Ted Lain, MD, adds. "Plastering a phone to your cheek for minutes on end could lead to not only occlusion of the pores, but also infection and then acne," he says.

They never touch their face

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Your face is one of the eight body parts you should never touch. Frequent face-touching can cause breakouts, Dr. Zeichner says. "Leaning on your palm during the day can create friction against the skin, create inflammation and actually transfer dirt and oil that may get trapped in your pores," he says. The solution? Don't do it.

They change their pillowcases frequently

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Even if you are steadfast in your nighttime face washing ritual, not changing your pillowcase on a regular basis can result in breakouts. When you don't refresh your pillowcase about every three days, dirt and oil build up, and when you put your face into the pillow at night, these blemish-causing substances can clog your pores, explain Betty Rajan, MD, a dermatologist in Fort Worth, Texas. The type of pillowcase doesn't matter much when it comes to the transfer of dirt and oil, but one of the ways that dermatologists wake up with younger-looking skin is by sleeping on soft, less abrasive pillowcases.

They eat like Greeks

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Add better skin to the list of benefits associated with a traditional Mediterranean diet, says Dr. Lain. This healthy way of eating is rich in vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, plus small amounts of lean animal protein and of course, some red wine. "It is clear that the typical American diet, which is high in refined flours and saturated fats, bodes poorly for a good complexion." This may be one of the reasons that resveratrol, the beneficial compound in red wine, is popping up in skin-care products. These are the foods that can get rid of acne, and a few that make it worse!

They never pick, pop, or squeeze

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Picking or scratching at your acne leads to open wounds, prolonged healing, and sometimes scarring, Dr. Lain says.  "In addition, we all have bacteria on our hands, therefore you transfer bacteria to your face and lead to more infection." Here's how to treat acne scars.

They watch their weight

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Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for a host of illnesses including heart disease and some forms of cancer, and there is a link between acne severity and obesity too. "To minimize acne risk, keep your Body Mass Index in the ideal range by exercising, eating correctly, and minimizing sugar intake," Dr. Lain says. Check out these weight-loss tops form people who have lost 50 pounds or more.

They mind their microbiome

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The microbiome is the collection of normal bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live on the skin and in our gut, and there are many surprising things it can reveal about our health. A growing body of research suggests that a balanced microbiome is super important for skin health. "There is no one skin-care product or supplement that will absolutely protect or repair the microbiome," Dr. Lain says, but some studies have shown that people with acne tend to have an imbalance of good to bad gut bacteria, and that certain probiotics (such as Lactobacillus paracasei) can improve barrier function and make skin less reactive.

They wash their hair regularly

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All of the natural oils produced by our scalps to protect the hair can also clog pores on the face and lead to acne, Dr. Lain says. "Washing hair helps remove the excess oil on the scalp and hair, which minimizes the oil at the hair line and forehead." But avoid heavy, oily hair-care products during styling, Dr. Zeichner warns. "Touch the skin on the forehead may block pores and lead to pimples." Find the best shampoo for your hair type now.

They switch to almond milk

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People who don't drink cow's milk are less likely to get acne, says Joel Schlessinger MD, FAAD, FAACS, a dermatologist in Omaha, Nebraska. The reason: Hormones. "Milk contains hormones both from cows and from added hormones for greater milk production," he says, "and even if milk is 'hormone free,' there are still natural hormones from the cows and these make acne go out of control." (The same may be said of protein powder made from whey, a dairy product.)

And studies suggest skim milk may be an even worse complexion offender. The exact reason for this is not 100 percent clear, but it's possible that skim milk is devoid of the good-for-your-skin fatty acids found in whole milk. Instead, try almond milk. "Almond milk contains all of the great vitamins and calcium we need, but without any of the hormones," Dr. Schlesinger says.

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