10 Ways To Keep Pimples At Bay

It's no secret that during my young adulthood (not that I'm that old now) I suffered from pretty bad acne. It was all over my face - chin, cheeks, and forehead. I tried several products and acne systems - prescription, over-the-counter, and organic - to rid myself of it. 

Nothing worked until I tried Murad's Acne Complex and changed my overall skin care regimen.

Related read: My Skincare Routine

How to keep pimples away and your skin clear | A Relaxed Gal

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Now that I've been acne-free for several years I've stopped using Murad, but have stuck to my skincare routine. And I'm not just talking about the products I used and how to use them, but how I care for my facial skin overall. When I get an occasional pimple I've found it to be helpful in making sure the situation doesn't get any worse.

Here are my 10 tips for keeping pimples at bay

1. Change your pillowcase often

It makes total sense, but many people don't think their pillowcases could be the cause of breakouts. The pillow is where you put your face and head every night. So after a few nights, it can be covered in facial oil, oil from your hair, and even dead skin. All of which can irritate your face and contribute to a breakout.

I like to change my pillowcase at least once a week and will even switch using sides of the pillow about mid-week. Now, if I start seeing or feeling a few pimples, I will change my pillowcase even if it hasn't been a whole week yet.

2. Keep your hands off your face

This can be a hard one. I will find myself resting my chin in my hands when sitting at my desk at work. I also will rub the sweat off my face when working out or spending time outside.

By touching my face I'm transferring dirt and bacteria from my hands to my face which can cause breakouts. When I find myself touching my face constantly I end up with the starting of a pimple or two in those areas a day or so later.

3. Don't irritate your skin

This is also something that happens without me thinking about it. So many things I do on a regular basis can cause some irritation to my skin. Things such as
  • Over cleansing: Washing my face more than twice a day. This can dry out my skin
  • Over scrubbing: Using a harsh scrub or scrubbing multiple times a day. I've done this a few times and it immediately resulted in a breakout
  • Using hot water: While I love hot water my skin doesn't always love it. When I take long, hot showers I come out with dry skin

4. Wash your hands before touching your face

This really only happens when I'm washing my face. I like to use my hands to apply the cleanser, gels, and lotions, but before I do I make sure my hands are clean so I'm not transferring anything that could lead to a breakout.

5. Use facial products formulated for acne

When I first had my big acne breakout across my face to curb it I used Murad Acne Complex. Several years later I started using the Mary Kay Clear Proof line. I liked both lines because they didn't dry out my skin and were formulated to help with breakouts and pimples.

6. Keep your hair off your face

I've found the oils and fragrances from my hair products can sometimes irritate my skin. So I like to keep my hair away from my face. This is why I don't like hair swoops and will clip my hair up when I wear it down. Since I started wearing my hair up more I've found I get fewer pimples near my hairline and forehead.

Keep your skin clear with these 10 tips | arelaxedgal.com

7. Ease up on the foundation

When I used to wear liquid foundations I found that after a few days, my face would break out. I currently wear foundations that don't clog my pores and feel light on my face allowing my skin to breathe.

I like to have at least one day where I don't wear any foundation and if I'm experiencing a breakout I may go more than one day without foundation just so my pores can breathe.

8. Exercise

The increased blood flow from exercise can be good for the skin and complexion. Exercise can also help from the inside out with the secretion of chemicals and toxins that could lead to breakouts. I can attest that exercise does help as my skin tends to be clearer and glows when I exercise more.

9. Eat and drink healthier

While I do a decent job at this, I'm not always the healthiest eater and drinker. Sometimes I want more salt and sugar than fruits and veggies. When that happens I know I can expect changes in my skin. Those changes don't always lead to breakouts, but when coupled with other things they can and do. The more healthy foods I eat and the water I drink the better my skin looks and feels.

Not to get too sciencey, but there have been studies that show an increase in insulin can produce pore-clogging cells that lead to breakouts. Having too much sugar in your diet can result in increased levels of insulin.

10. Get some sleep

Last, but not least, is getting a good night's sleep. Sleep works wonders for my skin. It helps me feel better, be less stressed, and have more energy for exercising and taking care of my skin.

Do you have any tips for keeping pimples and breakouts at bay?


  1. I never thought that my pillowcase could be the reason for my breakouts...I'll certainly start changing that out more often. Thanks for sharing😊

    1. I was surprised too, a dermatologist gave me that tip years ago. I started seeing great improvements when I started making sure to regularly change my pillowcase. It also applies to sheets as well. Changing sheets regularly can also help with body acne.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. I started to get adult acne out of NOWHERE a two years back and it drives me crazy! But I never ever ever thought my hair could be part of the problem. But the way you describe it make me reconsider how I'm wearing it. Ughhhh that sucks but thanks for putting me on to it!

    1. Hair is something most people don't think as a contributor to acne. Wearing headbands and using less oily hair products can help and allow you to wear styles with your hair out.

      Thanks for reading!

  3. What a great list on ways to keep pimples away! I will have to pass these along to my friends!

  4. Hi Leah! These are fantastic tips! I'm a skin consultant and make many of these suggestions quite frequently. So glad you found the right skin line that keeps everything under control!

    1. Thank you Krista. It took some time to find the right skin line, but I'm so glad I did.

      Thanks for reading!

  5. These are some great tips. One of the biggest ones we miss is the hand in face and changing pillow cases or our head scarf regularly.

    1. I am so guilty of the hand on face even though I know it's only going to cause issues.

      Thanks for reading Tomes!

  6. I have one question why you especially mention to change the pillowcases.

    How to Get rid of Pimples

    1. Hi Albert. Dirt and oil from your hair and skin are transferred to your pillow case and then transferred to your face.