Clear skin doesn’t have to be a wish for someday. You can take action now to help improve your complexion. Try these 10 steps to get started.

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How To Get Clear Skin In 10 Easy Steps

You're tired of pimples, zits, and blemishes ruining your skin. But no matter what you try, clear skin seems to be an impossible dream.

We’re here with a simple message: Don’t give up! You can take steps to help your complexion. It won't be an overnight transformation, but with steady effort and dedication, you can have the glowing skin you've always wanted.

Table Of Contents

Acne Causes And Symptoms

Woman examining a pimple with a magnifying glass

Before you can clear up your skin, it's essential to understand what causes breakouts in the first place. A combination of genetics, hormones, and bacteria can cause acne. When your oil glands produce too much sebum (or oil), it mixes with dead skin cells, clogging your pores.

This creates an environment for bacteria to grow and multiply quickly, leading to inflammation and breakouts. It’s often a vicious cycle.

Depending on the type of acne you have, you may also notice the following:

  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Pus-filled pimples
  • Whiteheads
  • Blackheads
  • Extremely oily skin

These can appear on your face, chest, back, shoulders, or other body parts that produce oil.

10 Steps To Help You Get Clear Skin

Now that you understand the underlying causes of acne, let’s look at some actionable steps you can take to help clear up your complexion.

1) Wash Your Face Twice Daily

Woman washing her face to get clear skin

Keeping your face clean is one of the best ways to prevent breakouts from happening. Use a gentle cleanser specifically made for acne-prone skin, and carefully rinse your face when you finish washing. That way, you don't have any leftover residue irritating your skin.

While you're washing, be mindful of how hard you're scrubbing. Cleansing too harshly can sometimes make breakouts worse and even damage your skin. Instead, use your fingertips and warm water to massage the cleanser into your skin.

2) Keep Your Skin Hydrated

Acne happens because of oil, so you may not think your skin needs a moisturizer. That's simply not the case.

Proper hydration is actually essential for keeping acne in check. When your body isn’t getting enough water, it signals to the skin that it should produce more oil, which makes breakouts even more likely.

Using a good moisturizer gives your face and body the hydration it needs to keep your oil glands in balance. Apply moisturizer daily after showering to help lock the moisture in, ease dry skin, and improve your overall skin health over time.

Pick a product that's specifically made to treat acne-prone skin. That way, you don't risk clogging your pores or drying out your face too much.

3) Use Spot Treatments Carefully

Woman using spot treatment for acne

Spot treatments are a great way to target blemishes without irritating your entire face. This makes them an essential tool when trying to achieve clearer-looking skin. But using these treatments properly is important, or they can worsen your breakouts.

Look for spot treatments with ingredients such as almond oil, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide. These will help reduce and treat acne without causing over-drying of your whole face.

When you apply, don't assume that more is better. Always read the directions on the product first, then use a small amount of the spot treatment and let it absorb before applying more.

Also, remember to give it time to work. You likely won’t notice any significant results right away. It can take six to eight weeks for you to see improvement. So be patient!

4) Be Mindful Of The Ingredients

Ingredient lists can be intimidating, but you need to know what’s in the products you’re using.

Be wary of anything with synthetic fragrances, alcohol, or artificial dyes. These can be irritating for sensitive skin and make breakouts worse. You'll also want to avoid parabens, sulfates, and other ingredients that can clog your pores.

Instead, look for ingredients from nature, like colloidal oatmeal, tea tree oil, and aloe vera. These are gentle on the skin yet powerful enough to help clear acne.

5) Keep Your Linens Clean

Woman taking laundry out of a dryer

When was the last time you changed your sheets?

If you have acne-prone skin, wash your bedding and towels frequently to keep them from collecting dirt and oil. Sleeping on the same sheets or using a towel over and over again can cause bacteria to build up on your skin, leading to breakouts.

Wash your bed sheets at least once a week in warm water, and do the same with your towels. In addition, you may need to upgrade your linens. Some materials, such as polyester, are more likely to hold onto dirt and oil than other fabric choices.

Opt for linens made from breathable materials, like cotton and silk. This way, you can sleep peacefully at night and know that you aren't reintroducing dirt and oil to your skin while you snooze.

6) Take Care Of Your Whole Body

Achieving clear skin isn't just about what products you put on your face; it’s also about taking care of your whole body. Exercise regularly, follow a balanced diet, get plenty of sleep, and manage stress.

This list can feel overwhelming if you aren't taking care of yourself now. To help, break it down into manageable steps. Start with one task at a time, and incorporate the others gradually.

For example, if you don't work out much right now, start committing to 20 minutes of walking three times a week. Once that becomes routine, add healthy eating habits, like reducing your sugar intake and keeping track of your portion sizes.

And when it comes to sleep, aim for seven to nine hours each night so your body has time to rest and rejuvenate. Getting enough sleep really does make a difference.

By consistently making these small changes, you'll help create an overall healthy lifestyle that supports clear skin.

7) Stay Away From Triggers

Triggers are anything that worsens your acne. For some people, this could include:

  • Eating certain foods (sugar, dairy, and processed food are often culprits)
  • Staying in hot, humid environments for too long
  • Touching your face often
  • Skipping sleep
  • Going out in the sun without sunscreen
  • Exposing your skin to harsh ingredients

If you don't know your triggers, you can't avoid them. You'll need to identify them first. Keep a log of the things you do, eat, and come in contact with daily. Then, review your notes to look for any patterns.

Once you identify a trigger, make avoiding it a priority. Some of these changes will be easy, while others may require more effort. But if you stick with it, you'll notice a difference in your skin.

8) Don't Linger In The Tub

Woman soaking in the tub

No matter how much you love a hot shower or bath, it could worsen your acne. That's because heat and steam can strip your skin of its natural oils and make breakouts more likely.

When you bathe, keep the water warm instead of hot. And try to limit your total time in the tub to 15 minutes or less. This allows you to still relax while keeping your skin clear.

And once you're out of the water, remember step two above and always moisturize afterward. It's the best way to prevent your skin from drying out and flaring up.

9) Exfoliate

Exfoliating is another great way to help clear up your skin and remove dead skin cells. You can do this by using a gentle scrub twice a week. Just be careful not to over-exfoliate since that can irritate your skin and make breakouts worse.

When you exfoliate, focus on your problem areas and gently massage the scrub in circular motions. This motion helps remove excess dirt, oil, and dead skin from your face, leaving an improved complexion behind.

10) Seek Professional Help

Woman getting light therapy to help achieve clear skin

If your acne persists despite trying all of these steps, it’s time to seek professional help from a dermatologist. Many treatment options can effectively clear acne, including prescription medication, light therapy, laser treatments, and more.

Your dermatologist can help you determine which treatment is best for your skin type and the severity of your acne. They can also walk you through potential side effects so you can make an informed decision about your treatment options.

Clear Skin, Here We Come!

Acne can be a frustrating and embarrassing problem to handle. But by following these tips, you can be well on your way to clear skin.

Remember to be patient because clearing up your skin won't happen overnight. But with a bit of time and effort, you can achieve the complexion of your dreams!


American Academy of Dermatology Association
Office on Women’s Health
The University of Alabama at Birmingham

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