The other day, I had a consultation with an aesthetician and she briefly glanced at my face before declaring that I had congested skin. How did she know? I mean I was wearing makeup and there was dim lighting! She explained that living in the city, we have to work extra hard to keep our complexions clear and bright and most of all, to avoid breakouts amid the constant exposure to pollution. So while I may have a slight problem with congestion, I’m pretty good at minimising instances of zits. These five things are how to stop breakouts:

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1. 2 litres of water? No, 3.

Don’t hate me for listing one of the most obvious ones but when I suffered from acne one thing that really improved (but didn’t heal) my condition was upping my water intake. I won’t give you a life lesson on the benefits of hydration because you can Google it but I always push myself to drink more water than is ‘necessary’, especially on those days where I hit the gym.


2. Disinfect your phone every day

I bring my phone with me everywhere and naturally, it ends up kind of gross. Imagine, it’s in your palms as you travel on public transport and hold onto handrails, it sits on various surfaces throughout the day like desks, bars, dressing table, on your bed etc. Not to mention the risk of then putting the screen against your face. Phones are bacteria central and I’m pretty sure I’ve had the odd cystic pimple from contact with an unsanitary screen.

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3. Clear your system of toxins

I tell my boyfriend that girls don’t poop but between you and I, if we do, it really helps our skin. By that logic, (and I really hope this isn’t oversharing because at this point what does that even mean when it comes to social media?) I take traditional herbal medicine from Singapore that has very dubious translation of the English language on the packaging, which purges toxins from the body. And it makes you want to visit the loo as a side-effect, even though it doesn’t contain any known laxatives. For people who aren’t into that kind of thing, juice cleanses, regular probiotics and cardio can help. So how can you tell whether this is a necessary for to combat breakouts on your skin? Well, when I get blemishes around the mouth region, it’s an indication that there’s a problem with my digestive system and that’s when I know it’s time to cleanse.

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4. Change your pillow case regularly

I disinfect my phone every night so if I start to get pimples around my temples or sides of my face I know that I’ve left it too long to change my pillow case. I aim to do this weekly but like, I forget sometimes, okay?! People often think that changing the sheets is the most hygienic short cut to feeling like you’re sleeping clean, but unless you sweat excessively at night and enjoy a naked slumber on the reg, to me the pillow case is the first thing to swap out if you’re feeling very lazy with your laundry. Even if you’re diligent with washing your face thoroughly every night, you probably don’t and shouldn’t do the same with your hair. And guess what traps all the polluted dust and gross bits from the city air?


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5. Oil control

My T-zone is so undesirable that when I went to buy mascara, the sales assistant at Armani beauty gave me T-zone targetted skincare samples. Like, what is it with all of these eagle-eyed beauty gurus?! Oily skin is prone to those annoying white, ripe tiny pimples. I find that starting at the root of the problem and using a great quality serum to hydrate the skin can really help with oil production control and reduce the problem altogether. I’ve just finished the Darphin Hydraskin Intense Moisturizing Serum. When my skin is properly hydrated, there’s no need for it to create excess oil, leading to less sebum that results in far, far fewer whiteheads.

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  1. 27th September 2017 / 3:30 PM

    OH my god just when I thought that 2 litres was enough! Also the point about your phone is such a good one!


  2. 3rd October 2017 / 10:20 AM

    I really enjoyed reading your frank and practical article Andrea! I’ll try all of your suggestions (I was already advised about frequent pillowcase changing and do it every time I wash my hair for years, and also started probiotics).

    Together with my female cousins I still suffer from problematic skin, and my esthetician says it’s hormone related (the pill didn’t help much when I was taking it), so I’ve been trying everything, from washing my face with Head & Shoulders shampoo to expensive acid-based skin care.

    I’ve heard about excluding milk, sugar and white flour from your diet, but that’s not easy. Amazingly, a male Indian shopkeeper (!) recommended eating a chopped garlic slice daily for a week – apparently it really helped him and his other customers…

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