For the past three or four months my skin has been looking, dare I say it, pretty good. I still have terrible dark circles, some scarring on my chin and rosy cheeks but the main reason my skin has been looking better is that I very rarely get spots these days. I didn't have acne or anything like that but I usually had at least one or two spots at any given time. I've not made a lot of changes in my beauty routine but I have put a bit more effort into some of the steps so I thought I'd share a few tips just in case any of you are in the same position I was.
1) Remove your make up properly
We all know that we have to take our make up off before going to bed to avoid waking up to a face full of spots but usually taking a face wipe and rubbing for thirty seconds just doesn't cut it. I want my skin to be clean and completely make up free before I go to bed. The quickest and most effective way of thoroughly cleansing that I found was to use a micellar water a la Bioderma. I've tried several of them and liked them all. Recently I've been using my Philosophy Purity Made Simple cleanser before bed and double cleansing if I've got make up on. Just find a method that works for you and your skin; it will make a huge difference.
2) Exfoliate regularly
I always know when my skin needs to be exfoliated; it starts looking a bit dull and grey. I use the Vitamin C Microdermabrasion scrub from The Body Shop and highly recommend it for normal, combination and oily skin types. I usually exfoliate twice a week but if my skin's looking extra tired, I'll do it three times. When we were moving I didn't exfoliate for a week and I could really see it in my skin. Aside from brightening my skin, I also find that exfoliation helps to unclog pores somewhat and thus prevents some possible breakouts. In addition, when my skin looks a bit better, I tend to use less base make up which can clog up my pores.
3) Wash your hands
This step will seem like a no brainer, right? I'm sure you all wash your hands when you're supposed to but I've been a lot more careful to wash my hands a bit more often, particularly before applying or touching up make up. Not only does this prevent transferring spot-inducing bacteria to your face, it also prevents you from getting excess bacteria on the products you're using. I like to keep little bottles of alcohol gel in my bag and around the flat to use regularly.
4) Clean your brushes
This seems to be something a lot of us don't do often enough. I spoke to someone a while ago who was complaining about getting more and more spots. When I asked her if she'd cleaned her foundation/concealer brushes since she first got the breakout she said she hadn't so basically she was using the same brush to cover her existing breakout and to create more. I used to be quite lazy about cleaning my brushes mostly because I preferred to wash a lot at the same time but that meant that I'd use the same foundation brush quite a few times whereas I'd only used a particular eyeshadow brush a couple of times. Now I wash my foundation and concealer brushes after every second or third use. It's actually a lot easier to wash just a couple of brushes every few days than it is to wash ten or fifteen at the same time. I use mostly synthetic brushes which I find are a lot easier to wash, too.
5) Have some make up free time
I know not everyone can take a few days a week off from wearing make up but I've been trying to only wear make up when I really need to and my skin's been enjoying the break. Even if you have to wear make up every day, try taking it off the minute you come in from work or not wearing it at the weekends.
I hope some of those tips were useful. I realise that they all probably sound really obvious but I just wanted to chip in and say that these measures really do work in preventing occasional breakouts without spending lots of money on products to deal with the spots when they do pop up. If you have any other tips, please leave them in the comments!