What Are Ways to Clear Up My Complexion?

Anyone with a less-than-perfect complexion shouldn't have to pile on makeup just to feel comfortable leaving the house. Acne, blackheads and large pores are caused by the buildup of oil, bacteria and dirt; premature aging and uneven skin tone, not to mention the risk of skin cancer, can come from lack of sun protection among other factors. To tackle these issues and achieve flawless skin, you must incorporate a daily skincare regime and practice healthy habits.

Basic Handling and Washing

  • Though it is tempting, avoid touching your face as much as possible. Dirt and oil from the fingers further irritate the skin and picking at pimples can leave you with scars. When washing your face, put down the high-alkaline soap bar, which only damages the epidermis' natural barriers. Instead use an oil-free face wash daily, and a product with microbeads for exfoliation once or twice a week. Another option is a hand-held facial brush with a rotating brush head, as it operates more efficiently, leaving less oil and dirt on the face.

Further Acne Treatment

  • When pimples do crop up, it is best to treat the skin immediately. Products with salicylic acid, an antibacterial that exfoliates away dead skin cells, are great for acne sufferers; however, use with caution or avoid altogether if you have dry or sensitive skin. Glycolic acid helps with cell turnover and can aid in hydration to help keep acne-prone skin balanced. It is available in facial cleansers, toners and treatment products. Another option is applying a product containing benzoyl peroxide, an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory ingredient, to spot treat individual areas. Do not use it for more than a week at a time and decrease use if your skin starts to get overly dry. Visit a dermatologist if the acne shows signs of spreading rather than disappearing.

Other Products

  • Make sure that other products you use, such as shampoo and foundation, are both oil- and fragrance-free to avoid any type of buildup or irritation of the skin. Moisturize after washing, though opt for a light moisturizer if your skin is naturally oily. It is important to apply sunscreen at least a half hour before going outside, regardless if it is summer or winter, to combat premature aging. Sunscreen should have a minimum sun protection factor of 30 and a zinc-oxide base. Wide brim hats also help to protect the face.

Healthy Habits

  • There are plenty of things that can affect your complexion that don't appear to have an immediate connection to your face. Eating a healthy diet containing fruits, vegetables, whole grains and water gives your body and skin the nutrients it needs. Limit excess caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes as these stress out the skin, causing wrinkles and dehydration. Even something as simple as an unclean phone harbors bacteria and is often placed directly onto the face; remember to wipe your phone and hold it away from the skin. Finally, get plenty of sleep and exercise regularly -- sometimes these simple actions make the largest difference in your appearance.