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How to Prevent Acne: Stop It at Its Source

7 mins

Akhila Jerripothula

Knowing how to prevent acne is the most important step towards blemish-free skin. Here’s what you need to know about preventing acne!

Acne is a common issue that doesn’t stop as an adult! Believe it or not, there are many unexpected causes of pesky pimples. So if you’re looking to be blemish-free and the best acne treatment to get you there, here’s what you need to know about how to prevent acne and stop it at its source.

Why Does Acne Occur?

There are four factors that contribute to acne; excess oil production, clogged pores from “sticky” skin cells, bacteria, or inflammation. These can be worsened by changes in hormones, stress, and the menstrual cycle, all of which can influence oil production and clog pores. Hair, skin, and makeup products can also clog pores and cause these blockages. Diet and overall lifestyle can affect your skin by influencing inflammation throughout the body. Lastly, some medications like corticosteroids, anabolic steroids, and lithium can also cause acne. 

How to Stop Acne at the Source

Acne is a fickle matter because there are different types from different causes that need unique treatments for various parts of the body. To prevent acne, we must stop it at the source. Find out how to do this by starting with your skin type, and tailoring your skincare routine to fit your needs. Since your skin type can change pretty dramatically from seasons, hormones, and aging, pay attention to how your skin reacts to your routine. Keep in mind that your body has thicker skin than your face, so use more gentle ingredients in your facial skincare than the rest of your body. Lastly, implementing lifestyle changes will make the biggest difference. Try to stop consuming foods that will encourage bodily changes, like milk, and sugar. 

How To Prevent Blackheads vs Whiteheads?

What’s the difference between blackheads and whiteheads/pimples? Blackheads can be precursors to acne, as they too are clogged pores with dirt, sebum, pollution, etc., but because they are not infected or inflamed, they are not considered pimples. Blackheads look like dirt is clogging the pore, but it’s actually a plug of oil and dead skin cells that developed in the follicle, which oxidizes and gives it that black appearance. For a pimple, this clogged plug develops deeper within the pore instead of the skin’s surface. 

There are plenty of gimmicky products claiming to remove your blackheads through suctions, pore strips, even baking soda, but in reality, it tears off the top layer of skin cells without digging deep to clean your pores. The best way to get rid of blackheads is to NOT pick them, and use detoxing skincare ingredients to purify pores. Using a facial cleanser, staying away from harmful ingredients, and exfoliating your skin regularly are just some tips that you can take to try to help combat blackheads. Find out more by here!

Know Your Skin

The first step to preventing acne is to know your skin and treat it accordingly! Everyone’s skin is different and requires different treatment and products. What works for others may not work for you.  

If you don’t know your skin type already, here are some tips to help you figure it out:

  • If you have tight, itchy, and flaky skin, then you likely have dry skin. This means that your skin naturally doesn’t produce enough moisture due to genetics, weather, hormones, and/or stress -- so you will need to supplement with hydrating skincare products. 
  • If you have shiny and sticky skin that’s prone to breakouts, then you likely have oily skin. This means that your skin is producing too much sebum that can clog your pores, leading to pesky pimples and dark spots. You will need to combat this excess sebum by using products that gently cleanse, and rehydrate your skin with moisturizing products to promote balanced skin. 
  • If some areas of your face are oily (like your T-zone around your nose and forehead) and others are dry (like your cheeks), then you likely have combination skin. Cater your skincare routine for combination skin by using different products in different areas of your face to best address your skin concerns as a result. For example, you may need to use a product made for oily skin on your T-zone, whereas you may need to use a different product made for dry skin on drier areas like your cheeks. The extra work is worth it!
  • If you consistently deal with redness, irritation, and/or blemishes, then you may have sensitive skin. People with sensitive skin don’t react well to certain ingredients in skincare products that contain harsh chemicals. For those with sensitive skin, it’s best to stick with gentle and natural products to soothe your sensitive skin rather than irritate it. Less is best! 

Cleanse For Your Skin Type

Once you know your skin, it’s time to start with the basics of a skincare routine - washing your face. This crucial step means you should always make sure to wash your face at least once a day -- preferably twice if possible. Once in the morning and once at night before you go to bed. 

That being said, you shouldn’t be washing your face with just any old soap (especially not plain hand soap!), you need a good face wash product that will remove impurities, balance, and nourish your skin. What does that look like and where can you find one? 

WOW Skin Science has a variety of different natural and gentle (yet effective) face washes for every skin type. Here are some of our favorite options to try for yourself:

  • Aloe Vera Face Wash: This natural product soothes and moisturizes dry skin and helps reduce inflammation thanks to hydrating ingredients like aloe barbadensis leaf juice, hyaluronic acid, green tea extract, calendula officinalis extract, and cucumber extract.
  • Ubtan Face Wash: This vegan product brightens and evens skin tone thanks to a holistic blend of natural exfoliators like chickpea flour, turmeric, saffron, almond powder, rose water, and sandalwood oil.  
  • Activated Charcoal Face Wash: This deep detox will cleanse your pores to remove dirt, oil, and pollutants to reduce blemishes thanks to ingredients like activated charcoal, tea tree oil, and aloe vera extract. 
  • Vitamin C Face Wash: This exfoliating cleanse is able to brighten your complexion thanks to powerful antioxidants like Vitamin C, in addition to hyaluronic acid, mulberry extract, licorice extract, and aloe barbadensis leaf extract. 

Tailor Your Skincare Routine

Once you have your face wash down, it’s time to tackle the rest of your skincare routine. In addition to face wash, you also need exfoliants, serums, and moisturizers to seal it all in. 

If you suffer from clogged pores and dull skin, use WOW Skin Science Ubtan Face and Body Scrub to exfoliate dead skin cells, smooth, soften, and revive dull skin. To combat acne and revive your glow, use WOW Skin Science Vitamin C Serum with 20% Vitamin C to spot treat acne. Seal in your skincare with hydration to balance, and nourish irritation with WOW Skin Science Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel! As you can see, we’ve got you covered!

Now that you know what to do, how about what not to do?

Avoid these common causes of acne

1. Picking Those Zits

Whether it's picking a new bump that’s just forming or a full-sized zit, popping those pimples can cost you more than you think! 

Every time you pick a zit, you are hurting your skin and risking scarring. You also end up pushing whatever is in that pimple deeper into your skin. All that bacteria and pus clogs the pores & causes inflammation. 

If you’re looking for something to help with this, we recommend using the WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Foaming Face Wash. It is filled with hydrating ingredients that leave your skin deeply cleansed without drying your skin. It’s also great for lightening blemishes and scarrings!

2. Fragrances 

You can’t judge a book by its cover, especially with beauty products.

Fragrances smell heavenly but they have some not-so-heavenly effects on your skin. Fragrances can aggravate already dry skin and they are also a common source of various dermal allergic reactions. 

You may not notice a reaction the first time you use a product. It may take up to a few weeks for the flare-ups to appear. 

Looking for fragrance-free products? All WOW Skincare products like WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Foaming Face Wash and the WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Mist Tonic are made without any harsh chemicals (and they still smell amazing.)

3. You’re Using Too Many Skin-Care Products

If you’re in love with skincare products, you have probably lost count of how many products you purchased in the past few months alone.

All those new products on social media can be pretty hard to resist. And you may already be experiencing effects like redness & flaking. This eventually leads to further skin issues & acne breakouts. You probably may not even have sensitive skin to begin with.

Keep your skincare routine simple, and watch your skin glow with joy!

4. Your Hair care Products

If you’re getting adult acne, there’s a good chance you’re using the wrong shampoo. 

It’s common to have your face pay the price for your shampoos as it leaves a residue on your skin with every wash. Most commercial soaps and shampoos have a drying effect on your skin & scalp as they’re designed to solely remove oil & dirt. 

Ingredients like Parabens & Sulphates are common culprits that stress your sebaceous glands. Switch to gentler products and you should see your skin clear out within 4-6 weeks. 

The WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo & Coconut Avocado Oil Conditioner are amazing hair products with gentle formulas. All WOW products are free of harsh chemicals and cruelty-free! 

5. Stress

Although stress isn't a direct cause of breakouts, it can hinder other body functions that may lead to acne. Stress causes our body to release cortisol, which could impair sebum regulation. Constant stress could even alter the skin's microbiome, which is essential for killing harmful bacterias on the skin. The exact results of cortisol on the microbiome are under debate, but observational studies have shown that on average, people who are under constant stress tend to have more frequent breakouts than people who do not. 

6. Unclean Pillow Cases or Sheets

Just think about how long your face stays in contact with your pillowcases, sheets, or blankets. Not washing these items may lead to bacteria accumulation and dead skin cells on them and your face. That is 8 HOURS of contact with a dirty surface on an average. This is why it is vital to wash or clean everything that comes in contact with your face. This may also include cell phones, in which case, wiping them daily with disinfectant wipes would be your best bet. 

7. Maskne

Just like your skin changes over time, we have new ways to get acne. Let me introduce, maskne. Mask acne is just what you think it is-- acne because of the constant wearing of a face-covering mask. Since it is essential to wear masks to help reduce the spread of COVID19, many of us are experiencing acne right around our mouths, noses, and chin area. 

Why is wearing a mask causing acne? The answer is in the friction caused by the mask rubbing on your skin. “Acne mechanica” is the type of acne that is caused by friction, tension, and even the heat from the mask rubbing onto your skin. Acne is not the only thing worsened by mask-wearing, as skin conditions can be exacerbated by the recycled hot, dry hair inside the mask. You can follow these tips to keep maskne at bay, like washing your mask regularly (or recycling disposable masks after 1-2 days of use), cleansing your skin upon removing the mask at home, avoiding makeup and pore-clogging ingredients, etc. Get the full maskne routine here!

Lifestyle Changes

Give Skin A Break

Skincare products aren’t the only thing you put on your face -- odds are you use makeup as well, which could be another source of breakouts. 

We recommend only using products that are non-comedogenic and won’t clog your pores, like castor oil! We also recommend giving your skin a break from cosmetics if you want to prevent bacteria contamination and pore-clogging. Finally, always make sure to completely remove makeup from your face before going to bed - no matter how tired you are! 

Eat and Hydrate Properly

Another internal factor that affects our skin is what we put into our bodies in the form of food and hydration. Can drinking water prevent acne? Well, it’s important to drink enough water on a daily basis to properly hydrate our skin. It’s also important to follow a healthy diet and avoid foods with hormones like dairy, and sugary foods that can cause unsightly breakouts and make acne worse


Take charge of your skin health and combat acne with these tips! Progress might not happen overnight, but with the right lifestyle changes, it will be well worth it when you look in the mirror and finally see the even and blemish-free skin that you’ve been dreaming of!


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