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Acne: Pillows, Towels & Make Up Brushes

I speak to people about how to keep skin in good condition all the time, and since I launched my TJ Teenage Cleanser, I’ve had lots of queries about teenage skin and acne.

Something that’s come up a few times is cleanliness. It might be fair to say that teenagers aren’t always that clean, and keeping your skin clean is key to keeping teenage spots, pimples and acne at bay. This not only includes actually washing your face, but keeping what you dry your face on clean, what you apply your make up with clean AND what you sleep on clean.

This advice doesn’t only apply to teenagers, it’s something anyone with skin problems should consider.

So we are talking:

  1. face towels
  2. pillow cases
  3. make-up brushes

Bacteria! Some kinds of bacteria are good for us, but when it comes to acne and problem skin, some create a breeding ground for acne, spots, pimples, rosacea and even eczema.

Research has shown that towels are actually the most bacteria-infested items in our home: with dead skin, dirt, oils, moisture, make-up and dust, that’s a pretty disgusting combination and bacteria love it. So you wash your face with a product that is meant to solve all your beauty problems, then you rub all that gross muck from your dirty towel into it after; if you have acne or sensitive skin, you can see why that might be a major problem. You are just transferring dirt back into your pores. Hence more spots.

So if possible, use a clean towel every night, and if you don’t have access to one, consider using kitchen paper (or even toilet roll) that can be just thrown away. Just blot your skin gently. I use this method when I’m away from home and don’t have my own towels that I know are washed in eczema-friendly detergent. I’ve had an eczema face flare-up from drying my face with hotel towels.

And definitely never use the same towel for your hair and face. Hair products are not skin friendly, particularly conditioners!

Don’t forget your Pillow Case:

Now let’s talk about your pillow case. You get all nice and ready for bed, rub in your moisturiser, lay your face onto your pillow, rub your hair around on it all night, and the same kind of oil, sebum, sweat and dirt will build up on your pillow case …. and you keep lying your clean face onto it night after night …. a dirty pillow case could be transferring all that muck back into your face each night. Yuk.

So what are you going to do? Use a fresh pillow case every other night (one side for each night). Try to use 100% cotton as they are less likely to hold so much dirt on their surface. If you feel every other night is excessive, use a clean pillow case once a week. Although if you have persistent acne, it’s worth trying every other night initially!

Make Up Brushes

OK so you’ve woken up in the morning, and you start putting your make up on. When did you last wash your foundation applicator or blusher brush?? Basically the same principles apply here: all your make-up applicators are a breeding ground for dirt, oil, dust and bacteria, and you are potentially reapplying them to your skin daily.

Washing them is pretty easy and also quite fun. Fill a bowl with warm water, dunk your brushes in then swirl each one around and around on a bar of skin-friendly soap (such as our Scratchy Soap, made with just plant oils and very skin-friendly) until all the make-up and dirt and oils starts coming out, rinse thoroughly and repeat until the water runs completely clear. Then lay them down flat on some kitchen roll and leave them somewhere warm to dry. Do this weekly, if not more often!

My Advice

I’m not suggesting everyone needs to do all this washing of towels and pillow cases every other day, it’s really just for those of you who may be suffering with persistent acne, rosacea or eczema problems. It’s just another angle to think off in your battle to get your skin behaving. If you are going to try this, make sure you are washing your laundry in non-skin-irritating detergent, such as Ecover, Soap Nuts or Surcare (you can read more about my advice on washing powders here). Never use fabric softeners; they are basically just a layer of grease on your laundry, totally unnecessary and usually contain a toxic blend of perfumes that seriously aggravate skin.

Lastly, if you touch your face during the day, make sure your hands are clean.

So if you are using my gorgeous TJ 100% Organic Cleanser for teenagers (but also used by spotty grown-ups) make sure you are also following some of this advice. As I repeatedly tell all my customers, good skin care is usually a combination of many different things, and you’ve just got to try loads of different things until you find regimes that work for you.

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