It’s easy to feel like you don’t have control over your breakouts. But the fact is, you do in most cases, says Mandy Epley, a master clinical facialist at Jillian Wright Clinical Skin Spa in New York, who specializes in converting challenging skin into glowing complexions.
Acne is a “tremendously embarrassing and burdensome problem” for about half of the women who book time in her Midtown treatment room. “Many attribute their acne to oily skin, food allergies, or say it’s hereditary. But none of these are absolutes,” says Epley. “Sometimes, all your body needs is the right nutritional balance and proper skin care.”
So what works? “Natural remedies can be just as effective as prescribed topical products. Possibly more powerful,” says Epley. She sees a lot of frustrated women fresh from the dermatologist with “dry, irritated, usually red, and sensitive skin.” In most cases, they just need to know more about how to use their prescriptions properly—and use way too much, she says. And they’re missing a few extra tips on what they can do in the day-to-day to try to reduce their acne.
To that end, Epley offers some easy things you can start doing today that help heal acne. (Naturally, she’s a fan of getting monthly facials to help clear and calm your skin.) And good news: You should notice a difference in your skin in about four weeks, she says. Here’s how:
1. Scale back on your prescriptions for acne. If you’re using prescription topical products, try using them every other day to avoid excess drying. The alternate days, use a very gentle cleanser (Epley likes Bioelements All Things Pure Cleanser) and a moisturizer for your skin type. This will help balance the skin.
2. Use an exfoliating mask. If you have moderate to severe acne, do not use a Clarisonic or any facial scrub. This can irritate inflamed acne and spread bacteria. Instead, use an exfoliating mask that doesn’t abrade the skin as it sloughs dead skin cells and helps purge pores. Dr. Alkaitis Organic Exfoliating Enzyme Mask can do the trick.
3. Eat more carrots. Vitamin A strengthens the protective tissue of the skin and actually prevents acne. It helps reduce sebum production, too.
Get seven more tips for simple changes that combat blemishes at Well+GoodNYC’s 10 Natural Ways To Deal With Acne.