“Many with acne-prone skin are terrified of sunscreen, but there are plenty of options formulated specifically not to clog pores, like Elta MD’s UV Clear or La Roche Posay TOLERIANE Double Repair Moisturizer UV,” Dr. Parks says. It’s important to know that the sun “does not dry out your breakouts, as many might think,” he adds. “The sun can cause further irritation and damage your skin’s barrier, which leads to more breakouts and redness.”
13. Swap out your pillowcases, often.
Ideally, your pillowcases should be swapped out every two to four days — or, if you sweat in your sleep, sooner, according to Dr. Kramemer. “Buy 100% cotton pillowcases,” she says. “It’s affordable, so you can have a big collection of pillowcases, and most importantly, it’s easy to wash.” Toss them in with regular laundry detergent but at a high temperature, Dr. Kramemer adds, to ensure you’re eliminating all bacteria.
14. Need to “dry out” a breakout? Benzoyl peroxide might be a good idea.
Commonly used by people with mild to moderate acne, benzoyl peroxide is “anti-bacterial and helps to dry out breakouts,” Dr. Parks says. It’s topical and can be found as a listed ingredient in everything from cleansers and lotions to gels and toners, and some prescription acne treatments use it, too. Use it sparingly, though, Dr. Parks warns, as it “can be irritating” — which is also why it shouldn’t be used in combination with salicylic acid products. And, because benzoyl peroxide can bleach everything from clothes to sheets and pillowcases, you’ll want to be careful with what fabric comes in contact with it.
15. Keep some home remedies for clear skin in the pantry and away from your pores.
We’ve probably all fallen prey to a wellness influencer or two who’s peddling solutions for getting clear skin naturally. Who doesn’t want the key to a clear complexion to be something mom’s already got in the kitchen cabinet? You should exercise caution, however, before testing out these theories on your face, Dr. Purvisha Patel, founder of Visha Skincare, says.
“It is important to know that some natural ingredients do not jive with acne-prone skin, like coconut oil, olive oil and almond oil,” Dr. Patel says. “They all feed the bacteria and fungus that can cause acne, making it worse.” It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for these oils in your hair products too, she adds, especially if you’re breaking out for seemingly no reason.
16. For brighter skin, look to vitamin C.
A time-honored hack for how to have clear skin, vitamin C is in a ton of skin-brightening and complexion-improving products, for good reason. “Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties, which help to reduce redness and inflammation,” Dr. Sobel says. “Applied topically daily, vitamin C helps to brighten and soothe the skin for a more radiant-looking appearance.” It works on all skin types, he says — just be sure to look for a product with a high-quality formula and a lower concentration of Vitamin C, around 10%, to start with. (You may opt to increase concentration from there, depending on how sensitive your skin is.) And don’t forget to put moisturizer and sunscreen on top!
17. Get moving.
Exercise isn’t just good for your mental and physical well-being. It can help you get clear, glowy skin, too, according to Dr. Adam Mamelak, MD, who pointed to research presented at the 2020 European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology Congress. In a study of 72 women with mild and moderate acne, researchers found that physical activity had an effect on participants’ progesterone levels. “Progesterone is a hormone involved in the menstrual cycle and may trigger breakouts,” Dr. Mamelak says. “Results showed that the exercise group had lower levels of the hormone than the control group. As a result, physical activity may help relieve acne.” Just be sure to wash your face after a sweaty gym sesh!
18. Catch some Z’s (just don’t do it with makeup on).
Want to learn how to get clear skin overnight — literally? Keep an actual bedtime. It’s hard for your skin to look its best, not to mention for you to feel your best, without sleep. For optimal skin health, you should ideally be getting at least seven hours nightly, according to Dr. Mamelak. “When you’re sleeping, your body is producing new skin cells and rehydrating your skin. A lack in sleep causes your skin to fatigue because you are missing a very important timeframe in which your body rejuvenates and replenishes what it’s been through the previous day.”
19. Keep it simple, and stay consistent.
As you wade through clear-skin product roundups, it can be hugely tempting to try a bunch at once (cut to a shot of my bank account side-eyeing me). Keep in mind, though, that the scales are definitely tipped in favor of quality over quantity here, Dr. Noelle Sherber, MD, FAAD says. “Cocktailing numerous active ingredients can inflame skin and just worsen acne,” she explains. “Additionally, the more products you use, the more difficult it can be to determine which products are helping and which may be making things worse.”