We recommend a lot of acne-busting products on this website, but the truth is that not everyone is a billionaire. In fact there are so many supplements and magic herbs that I can’t afford all of them either.
With that in mind, here is a list of cheap tricks for tackling the problems behind acne.
They won’t clear your skin entirely, but they can make a good difference and most importantly, none will cost you a single cent.
Trick 1 – avoid paper receipts
Ever wondered why the paper used in receipts feels so different to other paper? It’s because it’s thermal paper. Most importantly, thermal paper is produced using BPA, a toxic chemical that has been linked to countless diseases such as hormone disruption and cancer.
Importantly for acne sufferers, BPA has been linked to increased levels of inflammation. Paper receipts are absolutely loaded with it and therefore you should not touch them; BPA absorbs extremely well through the skin. You can absorb plenty of BPA simply by handling the receipt; one study found that blood levels of this vicious chemical increased fivefold after contact.
So don’t bother taking the receipt, or minimise your contact with it if you do.
Is this free – yes. The only way it could cost you money is if your product breaks and you can’t get a refund – but that doesn’t happen often.
Trick 2 – drink some water and get hydrated
This study found that hypohydration (a technical term for dehydration) led to far higher cortisol levels during and after intense exercise, and many other studies have found the same.
This is important for your skin as elevated cortisol leads to insulin resistance, which is a big cause of high sebum production. Have you ever noticed that when you are dehydrated, your skin gets oilier? If so, the increase in stress hormones is why.
The solution is obvious and simple: drink more water. Drinking at least 2 liters a day will ensure that you are as hydrated as you need to be and will prevent any unnecessary sebum production.
If you get lots of exercise you will need more, and you’ll need plenty more if the weather is boiling and you’re sweating a lot. However, most acne patients will do well on 2 liters or slightly more.
Is it cheap – drinking more water is almost free as long as you drink from the tap. If you do then also make sure you have a water filter; tap water is filled with all kinds of rubbish like pesticides, herbicides, BPA, cocaine, rat poison, birth control, and even rocket fuel and heart attack medication.
Trick 3 – stop thinking about your acne
This is clearly free and it is actually very effective. If you’re like most people, then your Grandma or mother might have told you that the way to cure your acne was to simply stop worrying about it. It might have sounded like nonsense at the time but she was actually correct!
When you worry about your skin, you understandably get stressed out, and this mental anxiety triggers an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is one of the worst hormones for acne, and therefore by not routinely obsessing over your acne you can reduce it substantially. The usual reasoning behind this theory might be good old fashioned common sense, but the science is solid as well.
Is it free? Yes, it clearly is.
Trick 4 – say no to cigarettes
Smoking is one of the worst out of our common habits; the burning of tobacco generates a massive amount of free radicals. These enter your body, deplete your antioxidants, and thus allow your sebum to oxidise and kick start the acne process.
Many of the chemicals in cigarettes are highly inflammatory too. 90% of tobacco plants used for cigarettes are genetically modified, and what’s the purpose of that modification? To allow farmers to blast the plant with copious quantities of pesticides.
You can avoid all of this simply by not smoking anymore. Quitting is actually one of the best ways to cure acne full stop; cigarettes are some of the very biggest sources of free radicals. Completely eliminating cigarettes is difficult of course, but even cutting down will have huge benefits.
Is it cheap? Unless you decide to use e-cigarettes or another alternative like nicotine patches, then you will save lots of money by eliminating cigarettes. This will leave you with more money for other strategies; for example, you will have more money to spend on vitamin D supplements.
Trick 5 – stand up straight
This is one of the weirdest acne hacks ever but it’s supported by rock-solid science. When you improve your body posture, you can cause a big reduction in the stress hormone cortisol.
One team of scientists gathered 42 test subjects. Each person was assigned a specific pose, which either fell into the category of a power pose or a no-power pose. The results were astonishing; those who were assigned the power pose had a cortisol drop of 25% while the cortisol of those in the weak position actually increased, by 15%.
The benefits will be short lived if you end the pose, but if you keep doing it and embed it into your natural body language, you’ll enjoy reduced cortisol all the time and thus reduced acne all the time.
Specifically, you’ve got to make your body cover as much space as you possibly can; so no slouching, no sitting with arms folded, and no shuffling along. If you’re sitting down you need sit straight with your legs stretched out, and if you’re standing you need to project power at all times.
Is it cheap? It’s completely free.
Factor 6 – leave your window open
The air in houses can get pretty dirty. Bacteria builds up, gases from beauty products work their way around the house, and all sorts of fumes come from cookers daily. The result is that some pretty dodgy substances can build up in your house; for example, if you spray a deodorant every morning, the phthalates (a type of chemical) in it will build up in your room.
You will inevitably breathe them in and experience their acne-causing effects like inflammation and increased free radicals. Air fresheners, perfumes, and many more have the same effect.
The solution is clear – leave your windows open. This will allow naturally fresh air to displace the stale air. The best thing to do is actually allow a current of air to flow through your house; you need to keep doors propped open and leave several of your windows open. This will allow fresh air to flow through the house, and be all the more effective at displacing contaminated air.
The only circumstance in which you shouldn’t do this is if you live in a heavily polluted area, as you don’t want the air pollution flooding in. In that case, you could buy several plants and position them around your house; some plants can absorb toxins, while others release healthy aromas that freshen the air.
Is this free? Yes.
Trick 7 – go for a walk in the middle of the day
If you enjoy a daily walk, then schedule it for the middle of the day. Going out when the sun is highest in the sky will give you a nice boost in vitamin D levels; more ultraviolet light gets through the atmosphere at midday and this is what stimulates vitamin D production.
Remember that it’s best to do this in rural areas as air pollution in cities can block sunlight. If you live in a town, then simply head for the green areas away from the roads.
Is it cheap? Yes it is. Learn more about how vitamin D helps your skin in this article.
Trick 8 – wear sunglasses in the evening
Blue light exposure in the evenings is a real pain, as it is notorious for causing sleep deprivation. The problem is that blue light suppresses melatonin. Melatonin is your all-important sleep hormone and if it fails to increase, your chances of a good night’s sleep are completely scuppered.
In an ideal world, you’ll eliminate all blue light exposure in the evenings. But most people don’t want to sit around in complete darkness for hours; you need at least some dim light or you can’t even read a book.
What’s the solution? Wearing sunglasses of course. They don’t block vast amounts of blue light, but if you want to keep a light on for reading a book, eating a meal, brushing your teeth, or just to walk around without bumping into everything, then sunglasses will make a significant difference. You could even wear them while you sleep, if you find a way to make it comfortable.
Is it cheap – yes, because almost everyone has at least one pair of sunglasses lying around. If you don’t, then sunglasses can be bought for almost nothing at the local store.
They will cost you a tiny amount, but they’ll provide so many years of superior sleep that we can basically say that the cost is nothing. Remember that the sunglasses don’t have to be fancy looking! Just get a pair that works, even if it looks like it was the latest fashion trend in the 1930s. Also remember that blue light devices can be excellent for acne, by killing bacteria; just don’t use them at nighttime.
There you have it; 8 ways to improve your acne that are not only cheap, but also very easy.
Don’t rely on them, don’t forget to change your diet, but they are great tools to use if you’re low on money and want all the benefits you can get.
Thanks for reading!