Caring for Your Skin

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For the most part, I like the way I look. I think I have a pretty healthy self-image. I work out and I stay pretty skinny, even if I don’t always eat that well. And I try to dress my best, too. But I do have one embarrassing problem that I’ve been dealing with since middle school, and it doesn’t seem to ever go away: I have bad skin.

It’s really not the kind of bad where you have to go to the doctor, though. It’s not like my whole face is covered in acne — it’s just that I always have at least some acne, pretty much all of the time, and I feel like my skin is oily sometimes and dry at other times. It always looks bad. Most of my family members have pretty good skin, so I don’t know why this happened to me — plus, since my parents have good skin, I never really learned how to fix mine. Experts, what should I do?

It’s great that you have a healthy outlook on your appearance, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve your skin. In fact, having healthy and beautiful skin is a good goal, and focusing on it in the right ways can make you healthier overall.

Having bad skin can be an embarrassing problem. It can also be representative of other health issues. While it doesn’t sound as if your acne issues will require the direct treatment from a doctor or prescription medication (which is available for acne issues, by the way), there are nevertheless health considerations that are likely the core of your skin care needs.

For instance, you’ve probably heard that greasy foods can contribute to greasy skin. Is this true? To an extent, yes, it is. And it’s also true that good nutrition more broadly will help you maintain the kind of health that will lead to more attractive skin. Of course, you should also consider the severity of skin issues. While changing your diet can be a big help for things like acne, you should see a doctor if your acne is severe and is not getting better. You should also see a doctor for issues such as rashes and other skin conditions.

You say that you’re in good shape because you exercise, but freely admit that you don’t always eat that well. You should keep in mind that health is different from weight. While being a normal, healthy weight is virtually always good, that alone does not mean that your body is getting everything that it needs. Better nutrition could improve your skin and your health in general. (Even if your skin does not respond to a change in diet, we strongly recommend that you focus a bit more on getting proper nutrition for your health’s sake.)

It also matters what you do when you spot a pimple or blackhead. Are you popping them? You shouldn’t be. You should also not worry too much about spot treatment, an option that many of us are too quick to turn to. Trying to address individual pimples ignores the underlying issues that are causing your skin problems. You’re better off trying to make your skin healthier overall — this will help the acne you have go away while making it less likely to come back, in that particular spot or anywhere else!

You need to keep your skin clean. That means washing your face at least once every day, and preferably twice (though you should also not wash too often — limit yourself to twice a day and after sweating). Washing your face in the morning and in the evening can form the foundation of your skin-care regimen.

Keeping your skin properly hydrated matters, too. That means using healthy moisturizers. A good moisturizer will be simple and not full of strange and unrecognizable treatments and faux-scientific ingredients.

If you wear makeup, consider the impact that doing so is having on your skin. Look for skin-friendly makeup options, and let your skin breathe. Make sure that you take off your makeup completely and cleanse your face before bed so that your skin can recover. When you’re home alone, skip the makeup and give your skin some time to be free and healthy.

You can also use nourishing creams and essential oils like rose oil (make sure you’re using pure rose oil and not merely rosehip oil). Essential oils are absorbed through the skin. They can perfume your skin and may also enhance it with nutrients and other essences.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t come at your skin with anti-acne treatments. You can speak to your doctor about safe and effective options. You may even find that prescription options are a good choice for you, after all.

Because your skin issues are mild, you may be able to do a lot with a few lifestyle changes. A simple and reliable routine of face-washing, healthy eating, and a few quality skincare and beauty products may be all that you need to finally get the skin that you want.

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