Lately, with the hot, muggy weather we've had here in NE Florida I have had quite a few clients come in just to "get clean" as they felt that with the weather, summer and the swamp-like conditions of late they needed some help. Breakouts have been on the rise also. With that, thought this would be an ideal time to share some helpful hints on how to keep your face clean and clear. These can also be guidelines for tweens and teens to help them start some healthy habits for clear skin.
We all know the golden rule of “Never go to bed without washing your face.” but in addition to that, how else can you keep your face clean? Here are a few helpful tricks. 1. Keep Your Hair Off Your Face: There are TONS of hair products available today: pomades, straightening products, styling creams, dry shampoo and more. Many of these are made to “coat” your hair and in doing so attract dirt and grime throughout the day. Think about it...if you are one that doesn’t wash their hair daily, how much dirt and oil is on your hair after a few days? Bangs can make this even worse. What to do: If you have longer hair, wear it off your face as often as possible, especially if it hits you in the breakout-prone chin area. If you have bangs, clip or rubber band them off your forehead at night. Worst case-check your hair products and move towards lighter, healthier (see me for a list of ingredients to avoid) products. 2. Review Your Shower Routine: Just like Kramer did in the infamous "Germphobe" episode of Seinfeld, let's review your morning routine. If you are like me, you wash your face in the shower each morning. Great habit but let me ask…where in your routine do you wash it? I used to wash mine when my conditioner was on my hair. Then I read to wash it after I rinsed out my conditioner. Why? Because conditioners are made to condition/coat the hair. In rinsing, what rinses out are oils that in turn can coat your face and body and lead to breakouts. This is important not only for your face, but for your back, chest and backside as well. What to do: First, start washing your face after rinsing out your conditioner. Next, if your hair is long, put it up in a ponytail (I keep a rubber band in my shower for this) and wash your chest and back (and backside, if needed) with your prescribed facial wash. This ensures no extra oils are left to clog up your pores. 3. Cleansing Brushes, Washcloths, etc. While I am a HUGE fan of the Clarisonic cleansing brush, one thing that is imperative with any cleansing device is keeping it clean AND dry between uses. You’re using these things to clean the bacteria off your face and if not properly cleansed and allowed to dry between uses, you’re putting that ick right back on. Not good!
What to do: After each use, rinse brush thoroughly. Shake out and put in a place where it can dry. Showers are okay; just keep it up high and away from water so it can dry out. Weekly, wash well with an antibacterial soap, rinse and dry. Change your washcloths out 1-2 times a week and wash in hot water. Be sure to dry it out between uses. It goes without saying but if any of your cleansing devices ever have a funky smell, do not use. Bathrooms can get damp and while you might THINK something is clean, it may not be. Change it out.
4. What’s Touching Your Face? Think about what all comes in contact with your face (and neck). While phones have somewhat gained some distance with headphones and speakers, I still see clients with congestion on their cheekbones, chin, between their eyes and on their forehead. The culprits? Dirty phones, glasses/ sunglasses, hats, headbands and in the case of some professionals-masks. Let me ask-are you good about cleaning these things? We tend to clean our lenses, but not our frames that rest on our skin. They collect dirt and oil and redeposit it onto your face as do favorite hats, visors and headbands which probably do not get washed as often as they should. And phones? We all know they are germ magnets. What to do: A few times a week, cleanse frames and phones with a pre-moistened alcohol wipe or cotton ball with alcohol. No need to over saturate, just make sure to get all oils off. In a pinch? Just wipe off with a tissue for the time being. Be sure to wash hats and headbands in warm, soapy water and let air dry. 5. Wash Your Hands: Life is dirty. Kids. Pets. Public Restrooms. Even our dear spouses can be a tad messy at times. Given this, think of how dirty your hands must get throughout the day. And most likely, you probably touch your face throughout the day said dirty hands. This can lead to breakouts and in worst cases, impetigo, staph or cellulitis. (I’ve seen it, you definitely do not want this to happen) What to do: With viruses, MRSA and other icky things going around today, many of you are already vigilant at washing your hands and using hand sanitizer. Keep it up. If you aren’t already in the habit, start. Wash your hands throughout the day, use hand towels to open public doors, sanitize after using grocery carts and other public kind of things and for goodness sake...keep your hands off your face! 6. Change Your Pillowcase. Every Other Day: As my Mom said when I did this all through high school, this suggestion sounds really high-maintenance but trust me, starting this habit can really clear things up. Given the dirt and oils your hair attracts and then leaves on your pillowcase, you are basically rubbing your face in said dirt and oils every night. Not to mention your drool but we won’t go there. Ick. What to do: Buy a few extra pillowcases. Use one side of your pillow, flip it over the next night, use and on the third night, and change to a new one. Repeat as needed. While it doesn’t make for pretty, matched bedding it makes for a pretty face. Well worth it.
7. Last but not least…how clean is your diet? While the topic of food and your face warrants a separate blog, here's a really good article that gives a good summary of how what you eat can affect your skin. While I want to stay in my lane and not pretend to be a nutritionist, I have seen first hand how ones diet can affect your skin. Never do I want to say you can or cannot have a food or beverage (cough, cough...wine) but this is a great read, especially if you are doing everything you should be doing for your skin but still struggling. And yes, I do have access to some great probiotics and know a fabulous nutritionist too! Want to learn more about gut health
So, here are some of my little helpful hints. Not rocket science by any means but helpful. If you have teens or pre-teens, try to get them into some of these habits NOW as it will help alleviate their skin problems that are either already here or just around the corner. Have any helpful hints? Please share! Keep it clean people.