Blemishes on the face and body are a common issue for most people. And beautiful, clear skin is nowadays quite rare. Some 50 million people in America deal with breakouts, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Which also says that acne is the most common skin condition across the country. Blemishes and acne is not something that affects a specific demographic—dermatologists report that acne is on the rise in adults.
“Both adult and teen acne need topical skincare addressing bacteria, pore clogging, and oil production,” says dermatologist Robert Anolik, M.D.
So first, if sometimes your skin is going crazy and you’re affected by blemishes and acne, I want to say that it’s OK. Every woman will face this situation at least once in their life: between hormones imbalance, pollution, antibiotics, stress, and other pore-clogging aggressors, it can happen and you’re not alone. Bad skin is by no means something to resign yourself to; solutions exist but it does require a few lifestyle changes to get your skin right back on track. Maintaining clear skin and preventing breakouts, blemishes, and discoloration involves taking special care of your skin to keep bacteria and oil at a minimum. So today I want to share with you my best French tips on how to get and maintain clear skin.
5 French Girl’s Tips To Clear and Flawless Skin
1. Clean Diet For Clear Skin
It never hurts to repeat how diet is playing a crucial role in acne and blemishes (read my article on the French diet for more). I’ve seen a massive difference in my skin since I’ve cut down on processed and unhealthy foods, sugar, and dairy intake. Scientists have found that certain foods that cause your blood sugar levels to spike raise your body’s insulin levels, which causes a reaction that blocks your pores and creates blemishes. Instead, I would recommend eating a diet rich in antioxidants; whole grain, fruits, and vegetables.
In my experience, reducing dairy intake made a massive difference in my skin. However, for other people, sugar or fried food (like fried chicken or French fries) can cause pimples. If you’re not sure what your dietary triggers might be, it can help to keep a food diary to see when new pimples emerge.
2. Get More Sleep
Lifestyle can also make a huge difference. No matter what your age, or how severe your acne, I would always advice sleeping more. When you sleep, the skin works to restore itself through a process called regeneration. And lack of sleep can lead to a tired-looking complexion, dark circles, puffy under-eye bags and sometimes even breakouts. Scientists believe that a lack of adequate sleep can cause acne breakouts since a lack of sleep causes increased stress levels, which are linked with breakouts.
I’m always amazed by how my skin is looking plumper after a good night sleep or even after a 30 minutes nap. Everyone needs at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night. And some people need even more, like me: I need at least 9 to 10 hours of sleep. So turn your phone or TV off an hour earlier than usual, take a relaxing bubble bath, light a candle, and read a good book before going to bed. Your skin will be glad you did!
3. Switch To a Clean Beauty Routine
Many conventional blemish products use benzoyl peroxide, parabens, alcohol, petroleum-based ingredients, artificial dyes, and fragrances, which all can irritate your skin. I still do not understand why artificial fragrance is so often added to blemish products! Whereas this ingredient can lead to more inflammations and irritations. Keep in mind that anything that aggravated skin contributes to breakouts. And many blemish-fighting ingredients, from alpha and beta hydroxy acids to natural clays, can dry and disturb skin if used in excess.
By using these products you could strip away the skin’s protective barrier, which could lead to making things worse. Avoid complicated skincare routine as well. Some people have a whole arsenal of product to apply to their face daily, but too many products can actually be counter-productive. If you use an acne-fighting cleanser containing benzoyl peroxide, you do not need to also use a physical exfoliator. The chemical ingredients dissolve dead skin cells, and excessive exfoliation can irritate the skin and cause breakouts.
4. Fight Breakouts With Kindness
Counterintuitively, the best way to clear problematic skin is to treat it as gently as you can. Harsh drying agents, high concentrations of powerful treatments like benzoyl peroxide, or intensive scrubbing can aggravate your skin. Using too-harsh ingredients, even ones designed to treat acne can make things worse; the acne in combination with drier, irritated and pink skin.
Harsh drying agent can create an ideal breeding ground for more breakouts and can also compromise the skin’s barrier function and cause dryness, which is accelerating the visible signs of aging. Instead, use products that do not dry the skin like for example a gentle non-toxic cleanser instead of detergent-based ones. Remember that hydration is crucial when having acne and breakouts. Indeed, the skin is already inflamed and drying out your skin can lead to more inflammation. So existing acne can ultimately look worse!
5. Be Consistent, Be Patient
If you want great skin, care for it each day; sporadic care won’t work. And most important: don’t expect any overnight miracles. Beyond any particular formula or ingredient, though, it’s the routine that will, eventually, change your skin. Expect at least six weeks of non-perfection after starting any regimen—even with dermatologist or aesthetician procedures augmenting your at-home regimen.
Get professional help if you need it (dermatologist, aesthetician), but consistency and persistence are essential. Choose products with non-toxic formulas made with clay, charcoal, salicylic acid, vitamin C, and zinc for each step within your routine. And give them time to work! And once they do, keep treating, consistently until your skin looks better.