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12 Healthy Habits For Clear Skin

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I LOVE skincare but I’m not one of those people who always had clear skin. I struggled with breakouts in high school, and while I had a little reprieve in college with clear skin, acne reared its head again in my 20s. But now, at almost 40, my skin looks better than it ever has. Literlaly.

Nowadays, many influencers and companies claim to know the secret to clear, flawless skin. Whether they are recommending products or expensive facials, everyone seems to have ideas about how to get clear skin. (Yes, myself included! I also have strong opinions on this!)

And while using products in your skin care routine can be fun and effective, you should know that there is more to healthy skin than focusing on the outer surface. So today, I’m talking about creating healthy habits for clear skin, from the inside out.

12 Healthy Habits For Clear Skin

In the beauty industry, more and more skincare companies flood the market, along with tag lines saying that their product can do wonders for all skin types. However, the reality is that people should develop habits that cater to their skin’s specific needs. Remember that your skin is unique, and some of these tips may work for you, others might not. However, in general, here are the research-based practices you can follow to achieve a bright, healthy complexion.

1. Wash Your Face Twice Per Day

Washing once isn’t enough if you want clear skin. This study showed that people who wash their face twice per day saw the least amount of pimples. Start your day by washing your face – it’s a great way to wake up! And washing your face at night is a great way to wind down as well. If you really can’t wash twice a day, PLEASE make sure you wash your face at the end of the day. This will remove makeup, dirt and pollution that piles up on your skin throughout the day. And I’d recommend using a washcloth to help remove impurities more than rinsing alone. So find a routine you like and will do even when you are tired! (Here’s my routine and the cleanser I use!)

Be sure to use a cleanser that won’t strip your face entirely of its natural oils (especially if you have dry skin). Those oils are necessary for balancing your skin, which helps lessen breakouts. Even if you have oily skin, you don’t want to strip it completely.

If you have truly oily, acne prone skin, you may want to try a cleanser that contains salicylic acid, since this will help prevent breakouts.

2. Cut Down on Sugar

The overconsumption of sugary food and drinks can impact your skin and may also be one of the causes of acne breakouts. One study found that people who frequently consumed more added sugars have a 30% greater risk of developing acne, and those who regularly ate pastries and cakes had a 20% greater risk. So before you opt for an expensive acne treatment, try to simply reduce dramatically or cut out sugar.

For starters, you can easily cut down your sugar consumption by reducing your alcohol intake, avoid food and drinks that have high sugar content on the nutrition label, and minimize processed carbs. And, of course, try incorporating more whole, natural foods such as vegetables, fruits, and grains. (This post has more ideas on how to reduce sugar intake!)

3. Destress and Focus On Relaxation

It’s no brainer that being stressed produces acne. Stress puts your body in that fight-or-flight state, which causes the brain to release more hormones, causing acne. If you have a busy and stressful lifestyle, make sure you still squeeze in a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise activities to help in de-stressing. (Want to start running? I have an online running course that’s great for beginners.)

Another idea is meditation or starting a journal and writing down your thoughts. Enroll in a yoga class, which is great for both fitness and relaxation. Even just listening to your favorite music and practicing intentional breathing will help you destress. I shared tips in this post on how I deal with stress and anxiety.

TeriLyn Adams taking a mirror bathrobe selfie

4. Stop Popping That Pimple!

As tempting as it sounds, popping a pimple is one of the worst things you can do to your skin. (I know, I know – it’s hard to resist!!) It causes acne scarring, and can actually force your pores to get clogged even deeper down. Plus, you can increase your chances of infection in what’s called “the triangle of death,” where an area of the face has nerves that directly connect to the brain. Pimple popping can increase the risks of acquiring an infection and may cause serious problems in the long run. One of the BEST glowing skin habits is to quit popping.

Instead, wash your face and keep your face clean and hydrated, and also apply anti-inflammatory creams to lessen the redness. Let pimples clear up on their own, and use an exfoliator to help them naturally extract on their own. I also like this spot treatment for breakouts. If you have acne scars from prior sins of popping, this gentle overnight peel will work wonders on scars, especially when paired with a vitamin C serum.

5. Always Apply Sunscreen

Sunscreen is the best protection you can use against harmful UV rays from sun exposure. Too much sun can cause issues on your skin surface, preventing it from looking super clear. You’ll be more prone to sun spots, hyperpigmentation and more. Not to mention skin cancer, which is REALLY why I wear sunscreen every single day. Also, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, sunscreen works effectively against skin aging, which is a plus! The women in my life with the most beautiful clear skin all attribute part of it to wearing sunscreen.

I use this daily sheer sunscreen under my foundation. And I use this Countersun lotion, stick and mists for days that I’m in the sun a lot, e.g. at the pool, doing a long run or hiking.

TeriLyn Adams holding different Pregnancy Safe Sunscreens for Healthy Habits For Clear Skin

6. Prioritize Moisturizing & Hydration

Moisturizing is one of the most underrated steps in your beauty routine! It’s an absolute necessity for giving skin that clear, dewy, flawless look. Hydrated skin is often less oily. Why? When your skin is too dry your body will produce more oils which will end up clogging pores. Moisturizing is also one of the easiest anti-aging things you can do for your skin too. The truth is, moisturizers keep the skin looking plump and supple, as well as keep your skin hydrated. But hydration also comes from the inside out. So drink up and make sure your body is hydrated to keep your skin hydrated.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re getting enough omega-3 fatty acids. These can help your skin’s oil production and improve the skin’s hydration.

Products such as the Colleen Rothschild Cleansing Balm and Beautycounter Countertime line are two of my must-haves for keeping skin hydrated. These products aim to restore moisture and hydration to the surface of skin and are just simply enjoyable to use (which I can’t say about all skincare products!)

7. Choose An Exfoliating Facial Cleanser To Use Daily

Regularly exfoliating helps purge the skin of impurities on a regular basis. Plus, it helps clean off dead skin cells that may end up blocking pores and can make your skin look dull. Regularly removing dead skin cells through gentle exfoliation will help your skin feel smooth, look clear, and illuminate vibrance. You don’t want to over exfoliate, as that can leave skin too dry (and we know what happens then!) but just a few times a week. I use this exfoliating mask 1 time per week since it’s both a chemical AND physical exfoliator.

8. Check The Ingredients in Your Hair Products

We all love a good dry shampoo, but did you know that the ingredients in your hair products can impact your skin negatively? Whatever is in your hair has the ability to get into your face and neck, especially if you’re working out or sweating from daily activities. So if there is anything that can irritate or clog your pores in your hair products, you might want to rethink them or use them less. Avoid these ingredients in hair products for clear skin: Isopropyl myristate, oils (except sunflower, safflower and tea tree tend to be okay), sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and sodium chloride. I share my hair care favorites in this blog post.

9. Use Vitamin E For Any Scarring

We all know Vitamin E can improve the skin and complexion, but it can also help reduce signs of scarring. So if you have any scars preventing your skin from looking super clear, add Vitamin E to your skincare routine!

10. Choose Safer & Check the Expiration Date

Many people focus on using organic skincare, but I would argue that choose safer is the most important aspect to look for in skincare. There are basically no rules around what skincare companies can put into their products. (Truly – the government hasn’t updated the required testing or regulations in over 80 years, despite thousands of new chemicals being developed.) So even if it’s labeled “organic” but still has parabens other harmful ingredients, it’s not a good option. And if it includes the ingredient “fragrance”, you don’t really know what you’re putting on your skin since companies can put literally any ingredients they want in something, call it fragrance and use the trade secret loop hole. Not. Great. Avoid fragrance like the plague!

So choose brands who test the safety of their ingredients and hold their products to a higher standard that what’s legally required. Beautycounter is my go-to and the EWG Skin Deep database is great resource to check the safety of your current products or other brands you’re considering. They also have a HUGE list of ingredients that aren’t allowed in any of their products called the Never List. And no matter what brand you use – conventional, organic or safer – check the expiration dates!! Yep, putting old expired products on your skin can do more harm than good. So go safer with your skin care routine, and double check the expiration date regularly as well.

11. Eat More Foods that Support Clear Skin

As mentioned earlier, food can be a cause for skin conditions like acne. Although some opt to use topical products such as benzoyl peroxide to address acne problems, healthy skin is also impacted by healthy living and eating. Some foods or drinks can trigger a surge of hormones that increase the production of acne. To avoid having breakouts, start changing your diet and focus on the following food choices:

  • Low glycemic foods such as legumes, fruits, and grains.
  • Foods that are rich in vitamins A and E.
  • Vegetables that have yellow or orange skin such as sweet potatoes and carrots.
  • Leafy vegetables.
  • Herbs such as turmeric, garlic, cilantro, milk thistle, etc.
  • Anything high in fiber.
  • And drink lots of water!

Daily Harvest is a great way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake!

12. Take Probiotics & Improve Your Gut Health

It’s true that a lot of skin issues stem from our guts. So if your skin is consistently acting up, maybe its time to consider that your gut could be the issue. Probiotics are one of the fastest ways to improve your gut health. So add in a probiotic and try these healthy gut diet tips. I’ve been taking Seed Probiotics for years and have a full review here.

How Do You Get Clear Skin?

I hope these tips are super helpful for getting your skin to where you want it. I would love to know any clear skin tips and healthy habits that you guys have! Leave a comment bellow for any tips I may have left out so I can add them to my list! And if you want more inspiration for getting on a skincare routine, be sure to check out this post with everything I use. There’s also an option on that page to shoot me an email for getting personalized help since we all have different skin!

Clear Skin Routine Essentials

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    5 responses to “12 Healthy Habits For Clear Skin”

    1. This post was so well written! I do almost all of these and have fairly clear skin 🙂

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