Vacation Tips for Clear Skin

"The Skin Coach" column is written by Kimmy Williams, owner of Acqua e Sapone, a skin clinic in San Francisco. 

Summer is upon us and that means most of us will be heading off for a vacation at one point or another. But whether it’s a faraway beach or a weekend getaway, any trip away can bring about hiccups in our normal routines which can mean post-vacation breakouts for those of us with acne-prone skin. Here are a few tips to make sure your acne-prone skin stays clear and radiant well beyond your summer trip.

Bring non-comedogenic toiletries

It does not take much contact with a pore-clogging product to cause a breakout and this does not just apply to the products you use on your face. Comedogenic toiletries like shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste can cause breakouts, even without coming into direct contact with your face. To avoid acne cosmetica, stay away from unknown hotel toiletries and bring your own acne-safe hair products, toothpaste, and even body wash if you suffer from body acne.

Bring your own pillowcases.

Hotels often use scented detergent and fabric softener to wash pillowcases which can exacerbate acne venenata, or contact acne, in acne-prone individuals. To avoid this type of acne that usually shows up on the side of your face that you sleep on, bring your pillowcases that have been washed with fragrance-free detergent and dried without fabric softener.

Stay consistent with your regimen.

The late nights and relaxed attitude of vacation usually means skipping your skincare regimen or not even washing your face at all. If you come home late, try to perform your regimen as soon as you enter the door so you don’t get too comfortable and fall asleep. Also, be sure to apply sunscreen to your face and body in the mornings before starting the day to avoid sun damage.

The Skin Coach: How to Stop Picking Your Face

"The Skin Coach" column is written by Kimmy Williams, owner of Acqua e Sapone, a skin clinic in San Francisco. 

The act of picking, digging, or scraping our skin, also known as Acne Excoriee, can be an intentional attempt to get rid of a blemish or a compulsive addiction. Whether you are an intentional picker or a compulsive one, the result tends to be the same and can include a combination of unsightly scabbing, infection, scarring, and inevitably, guilt. The next time the urge comes up to gauge at your face, here are a few practical tips to save your skin from yourself:

1. Don’t examine yourself.

Spending hours in the mirror inspecting every pore on your face usually triggers an urge to pick that most of us cannot resist. To prevent this vicious cycle from occurring in the first place, avoid examining your face in the mirror.  

2. Breathe and count.

If you didn’t follow the first tip and end up spotting a blemish that you feel the need to pick at, close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. Count each round of an inhale and an exhale as one. This will force you to learn how to tolerate the urge and also to take a pause to think about it instead of impulsively acting on it.

3. Throw out the magnifying mirror.

There couldn’t be a more dangerous tool for a picker than a magnifying mirror. If you have to look in a magnifying mirror to notice a "blemish," chances are that no one else can see it. If you have a magnifying mirror and feel like you can’t resist having it around without potentially picking, throw it out or give it to someone else.