Waking up with an outbreak can be a girls’ worst nightmare. However this can be avoided by setting up a skincare routine before going to bed. I know it isn’t easy, I know it’s hard, however it’s important that you are consistent. The best way to avoid blackheads coming back or you waking up with an outbreak is by following the ritual below to the teeth.
Step 1: Washing off all make-up before going to bed
This sounds like an easy one but it’s usually the one that gets neglected the most. Washing off all make-up means literally getting it all off. Not because make-up causes blackheads. No. You need to wash it off as having some make-up left on your skin is indicative of an unclean face. It means you’ve missed a few spots. And those spots can turn into real spots when you wake up again.
Blackheads and acne are caused by the same thing; a mix-up of dead skin cells and oil in the pores. These pores get clogged by this gunk and a so-called “Comedo” is born. If the pore stays open, the gunk in the pore oxidizes and turns black. Hence “blackheads”! If the pore however grows a thin layer of skin over the blockage, the gunk doesn’t oxidize and stays white. That is how a zit is made.
So to prevent these you need to tackle the main causes of “Comedos”, which are excessive skin oil and dead skin cells.
In this first step we tackle dead skin cells, as they are the easiest to manage.
When you wash your face, make sure to do so by using lukewarm water. Using too hot or too cold water can have the opposite effect, especially if you have sensitive skin. If the water temperature is too extreme, your skin might try and protect itself by either producing more oil or restricting the pores respectively. Which is the last thing we want. This can be a rookie mistake in setting up your skincare routine!
Step 2: Steaming the skin
Professionals will use a face steamer before any skincare routine. “Because it opens up the pores” I hear you think. No. Pores do not have a muscle and therefore cannot open or close. Contrary to popular belief, steaming the skin simply makes sure the skin is more pliable before the treatment. This makes it easier for the patient to receive the treatment, and makes the beautician more confident they aren’t hurting anybody.
If you don’t have a professional face steamer you shouldn’t worry. What you can do as an extra treat for your skin is simply wrap a very warm damp towel around your face. Covering your eyes, nose and mouth and leave it on for several minutes. That way the dampness and steam coming from the towel will nicely soak in to your skin. Also on a cold winters’ day it could be a nice thing to do anyway!
Step 3: Gentle exfoliation
Another important step in your daily cleansing routine will be to twice a week do a gentle exfoliation. There are several scrubs you can use but more often than not a simple wash cloth can do the trick. Make sure it’s a nice and clean one before you use it. With the wash cloth, gently go around your T-zone. This is the zone starting from the tip of your nose to between your eyebrows and forehead. This is usually the area where people suffer outbreaks the most.
By gently using the washcloth you are basically scrubbing the outer layer of your skin, dragging dead skin cells with it. In this way you prevent them from blocking pores in the future.
Step 4: Use the right cleanser in your skincare routine
A lot of people get very confused when they hear terms like AHA or BHA cleansers. However this is nothing to be confused about. As a general rule you could say that if you have oily skin, use BHA cleanser. If you don’t use AHA. So in all cases but oily skin, AHA is the way to go.
If you are blessed however with excessive oil producing glands, you’ll love BHA cleansers! The BHA and AHA stand for Beta-Hydroxy-Acid and Alfa-Hydroxy-Acid. They are acids that further help exfoliate the skin, while at the same time provide a deep pore cleanse.
If you are reading this article however I’m going to go ahead and assume you have oily skin. As do I. I use a BHA cleanser on a daily basis in my skincare routine. The acid in BHA cleansers usually is salicylic acid. This is an acid that has been shown to penetrate the pores and flush out the gunk in an effective way. As a result my blackheads have diminished after incorporating BHA cleansers into my routine.
Salicylic acid also happens to be the active ingredient in the common aspirin. So if you’re desperate for a cleanse but don’t have the right gear around, you should try and make your own aspirin mask!
Aspirin mask instructions
They are super easy to make. All you need are 5-7 aspirin pills, some bottled water and a mixing bowl. Mix everything together to form a paste. If the paste is too dry, add some more water. If it’s too wet, add a pill. However make sure not to add more than 7 pills. If you feel like after 7 pills it’s still too wet it’s maybe better just to throw that batch away and start a new one.
After the paste has been made, spread it over your face and let it sit for a few minutes. After it has soaked in, wash it off again with some lukewarm water and you’re done!
Step 5: Aftercare
If you want to be a skin-care professional, you’ll have to get familiar with toners. Toners are so-called astringents. Remember when I told you pores don’t have muscles and can’t contract? Well I didn’t lie, but there is a way to make them appear to be smaller than they are. And that is where the astringents come into play. They have the power to constrict a pore to some extent, making them appear smaller.
Especially after you’ve exfoliated and did your cleanse , then it’s a good time to break out the toner. As you apply it, the pores will constrict, making it more difficult for any new gunk to fall in. Also you’ll understand that if you’d apply toner at the beginning of the routine, it would be a lot more difficult to get the gunk out!
Once you’ve gone through all these steps, all that’s left to do is add some moisturizer, thank your skin and yourself for being who you are and go to sleep, knowing you now have a fully functional skincare routine! You’ll wake up refreshed and looking years younger in the morning!