How to prevent pimples before they happen?

by Lisa Kasanicky

What’s worse than a bad hair day? You guessed it. The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad breakout day. While pimples are most associated with the teenage years, acne doesn’t discriminate. Breakouts strike both men and women—and at any age. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology reports that 40 to 50 million Americans have acne at any one time.

While experts can’t seem to agree on what actually triggers acne (Does chocolate cause acne? No, says WebMD. Maybe, says Acne Einstein), what we know for sure is that a pimple forms when a pore gets clogged. When the body overproduces sebum—the oil that keeps our skin from drying out—dead skin cells can stick together and become trapped inside the pore instead of rising to the surface as they normally would. On top of that, a bacteria that lives in our skin, p. acnes, can find its way inside the clogged pore, where it can quickly multiply. Loaded with bacteria, the clogged pore becomes red and swollen and a pimple forms.

That brings us to a few key preventative habits that skin experts do agree pave the way to pimple-free skin. Avoid those no good, very bad pimple days with these seven tips.

1. Keep it clean

Cleansing the skin is key, especially after sweating and at the end of a long grimy day. And by cleansing, we don’t mean scouring your face with harsh brushes and scrubs, which can actually exacerbate the condition. Use a cleanser formulated for breakout-prone skin, like our blemish control cleansing gel, and gently massage the skin with your fingertips for a least one full minute to help dislodge dead skin cells, oil and debris. Wash your face in the morning before applying makeup or shaving and before you hit the sack at night.

2. Practice safe sun

We don’t have to tell you that the sun ages your skin and can lead to skin cancer. But when you have breakouts, protection becomes even more important because the sun’s rays are drawn to dark spots on the skin and can lead to scarring. Stay out of the sun if you can during bad breakouts and apply sunscreen liberally.

3. Don’t pick (scratch, or touch!)

Your mom was right when she told you to keep your hands off your face. That bacteria hanging out in the pimple is happy to spread to other pores and worsen the condition. Apply a spot treatment to the blemish to speed up healing and then hands off! Our advanced blemish control serum has salicylic acid among other pimple-fighting ingredients and can be used to spot treat pimples.

4. Use a moisturizer

Here’s the thing: If you dry out your skin too much, it will respond by kicking up oil production. And that’s not what you want. Find a lightweight, balanced moisturizer (we like our shine control face lotion) and use it as part of your regular skincare regimen.

5. Book a facial

Facials are more than just a foo-foo timeout. Aestheticians are trained to deal with all forms of acne and can help get skin back on the right path through chemical exfoliation and extractions. 

6. Make time for a mask

Clay-based masks absorb excess oil and help reduce clogged pores. White clay, like what’s found in our white clay deep pore cleansing mask, is best for sensitive skin and pairs well with other skin-soothing botanicals. Mask at least once a week to deep clean and purge lurking culprits of potential pimples.

7. Shave with care

If you shave your face and neck, consider an electric razor. Or, if you prefer a razor, be sure the blade is sharp and use shaving cream to help it glide over the skin.

Of course, if your acne persists and painful cysts form, you may want to consult a dermatologist or skin care professional who can help you explore other treatment routes.

For more about our acne-specific products, visit lather.com. Like all of our products, LATHER’s skincare line is free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oil and synthetic fragrance and colors.