Skin is our biggest organ, and the one that keeps it all in place, really. Of course, we should take care of it, not only for health but also for aesthetics reasons. Adolescence comes with a bunch of skin problems that need individual routine care but often even a targeted plan or cure to keep acne-free. Of course, in case you have skin problems, you should immediately consult your dermatologist. But also you need to take care and make sure that it is not you that is triggering these skin problems. Many people keep having skin problems far beyond adolescence, in their thirties, in their forties, and so on. And one key aspect that may be keeping these problems coming over and over again might be proper hygiene.

Don’t be shy. We are all raised in different families and cultures, and we learn our hygiene habits from the environment we are placed-not exactly a free choice. This has its own consequences. Do we pick our pimples? Do we wash our hands before touching our faces? Do we often change our pillowcase? How often do we change towels? Do you wear make-up daily? Etc. I was stunned when I first understood that my husband was so sensitive to impurities that when he places his cheek in a not-so-clean pillow, he immediately senses it, and asks me to change it. For the same pillow, I was absolutely insensitive to dirt. This episode made me reconsider my hygiene standards. This insensitivity was built with time. I came to realize that the hygiene standard I was raised with was different from his. I made some research to understand what could I be doing better and changed my routine, overall cleaning, and skincare, and started upgrading to these higher standards. With time also my skin cleared out of acne.

And here I am sharing with you a list of steps you should consider, in order to make sure that it is not your hygiene that is triggering your acne. Acne or not, respecting these principles will certainly lead to healthier skin. So here we go.

1. Where you sleep, matters. You should change your sheets and pillowcases every 3-6 days. But the 6th day should really sound an alarm in your ears. The residue left on your pillowcase can contribute to clogged acne. The oil of your skin remains in the pillowcases. Sometimes you sleep without removing your makeup, sometimes you watch a movie or eat in bed. If you really think about it, a lot of impurities end up in your bed. Want to make the best you can? Use breathable material, possibly cotton sheets, and change them every day. Don’t get scared. Invest in a fair amount of pillowcases, pie them up, and everyday grab some fresh ones. You will get used very soon.

2. Towels absorb a lot of water and remain damp for hours, which is the breeding paradise for germs. That’s why towels should be washed every three uses. We have around 16 000 000 000 skin cells and 4 000 000 sweat glands. And one handy tool keeps it all clean each day: your towel. Dead cells make up the top 20 layers of our skin. Some of these cells scrub off during the shower, but many of them end up on our towels. We should not use our towels more than three times. Although it may dry, and we feel like it can be reused, in fact, many dead cells are still there and may clog your pores and damage your skin.

3. Wash your hands often. On, average we touch our face 15 times/an hour. Imagine that nowadays we all work on computers or cellphones. Laptop keypads have a bad reputation. They are known to be one of the dirtiest places in the world, even worse than public toilets. Since you are going to touch your face this often, unconsciously, you should consider washing your hands often. And by now, you should know you are expected to thoroughly wash them for at least 20 seconds straight. There is not a precise number of times you should respect, but rather a list of when’s.

  • After you use your laptop or cellphone
  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before and after eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • After using the toilet
  • After touching garbage
  • After cleaning up a child who has used the toilet or diapers
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, its waste or its food

4. Limit bath time and favor warm water rather than hot water. Hot water and long showers or baths remove oils from your skin. Don’t use strong detergents. Your shampoo often ends up in your skin and irritates it. The irritation may not appear immediately but later. And you may be wondering what caused it. Take care to use separate products for your hair, your face and neck skin, your body skin.

5. Build a skincare routine. There is an ocean of choices and to be frank, a list of powerful brands are fighting to be your choice every day. So, how do you pick what is good for you?

Have a dermatologist visit to define your skin type and pick a routine for you. Start with it but don’t expect overnight results. Every regime needs some time to start yielding results. Results can only be seen only after consistent use. Use, twice daily, for at least 6 weeks. Your skin does not seem to like it? Here is a trick before jumping to a new routine: stop using your current products and momentarily switch to a gentle cleanser. I prefer to use baby shampoo. The most neutral, gentle shampoo I can find. If it is good for newborns, should be gentle to my skin too. Then gradually start introducing the new routine. For me personally, I have stuck to that baby shampoo. It works perfectly for me. But always remember, give time to the new routine to work.

6. Pat dry and hydrate. After you are done actively washing your face in round motions for at least 60 seconds, rinse it thoroughly, with Lukewarm water. Now it is time to dry. Don’t rub your skin, but pat dry gently. Next come toning and moisturizing, which we will explain more in detail in another article. But until then, stay clean and drink plenty of water.