To start off, I just want to put it out there that my skin has changed since my puberty ended. Nobody in my mom or dad's family has acne or pimples and I am the only one (out of all my family and relatives) that has acne and pimple problems. It started after I hit 20, and ever since my first breakouts its been all downhill =_=
So I guess this is acquired knowledge from past mistakes or things I really didn't care about :p
I am only going to address some life style tips here and nothing directly related to putting something on or doing something directly to your skin.
1. Take a shower at night
I have oily hair and used to take showers in the morning so my hair could stay nice and fluffy through out the day. But think about how much dust and dirty stuff your hair collects while you are outside. It's like a magnet! And think of sleeping on that hair and everything in that hair.... unless you sleep on your back with your hair pulled back, that hair is going to get on your face while you tumble and toss while sleeping. And even if your hair doesn't get on you, it's on the pillow and the pillow is rubbing on you.
So what I do is, after I am done with my outings, I take a shower and don't go out anymore (shower occurs usually between 9PM - 12AM).
If you think about it, it makes complete sense to take a shower at night. You have worked or done something all day long and your body has secreted so much stuff, and your hair has so much in it - it is logical to clean all of that up before you get into bed. Fresh and clean :D
After I switched to night-showering, my acne problems (especially those around the borders of my skin and hair) have calmed down significantly.
* I know this is an off-topic issue, and I know it's cultural difference and I really don't care unless it happens to me, but one thing I never understood was people getting on their beds with their shoes on... To me, a bed is an extremely clean, holy place :p I wouldn't even go near my bed with even socks or jeans on. Anything that has had outside contact or was been in a sweaty shoe is not clean enough to go near my bed. Yet when I watch TV, so many people seem to have no problems getting on the bed with their shoes on. It's like bringing the streets on to your bed. Maybe it's just me :p and maybe it is just the city I am living in. NYC streets are really ghetto and filthy. You can see rats running around diners, garbage bags are always piled up on walkways, weird liquids are always leaking out of the bags and people step all over it.. And some people seem to have no problem getting those shoes on their beds :( But it's just cultural difference, and like I said, unless someone does that to my bed, I really don't care. I'm just throwing it out there. It's like some people thinking Asian people are dirty and weird for taking their shoes off when entering a house - everything is cultural and there's no right answer to the issue. It is just something I thought was interesting. *
2. Wash your pillow case often.
This is related to number 1, if you go to sleep with clean hair your pillow case should equally be cleaned often. Try using a natural and mild detergent (I use Seventh Generation's Ultra Concentrated Natural Baby laundry Detergent)
This will at least minimize risking your face rubbing on unclean surfaces.
3. Look at your shampoo label.
I wrote a post about shampoo and chemicals in it, but you should really get into a habit of checking labels especially if it is something you are either going to put on your body, or consume it.
Same with shampoo. If it is heavily loaded with cheap and harmful ingredients like SLS (or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) or questionable chemicals, might as well try to get a more natural ingredient concentrated one. I think shampoo is important because shampoo and conditionor residues could easily stay in your hair, and your hair really has a lot of contact with your face. Some may argue that they can't invest a couple more dollars into a better quality shampoo and are happy with their current shampoos, but it's like sacrificing a lipgloss for two bottles of really good shampoo. Now that doesn't sound so expensive does it? :)
4. Wash your hands often and watch what you're touching.
I wash my hands like a mad man. It's probably because I touch my face (to be specific, my acne spots) alot, and I touch a lot of other stuff too. I flip my hair a lot, I touch door knobs, I touch the elevator buttons, I touch the subway pole when the train comes to a sudden stop, I touch money, I touch a lot of things and if I don't wash my hands often, my hands are going to wander off to my face. It will be like rubbing my face on surfaces that god knows who or what touched.
I know this sounds OCD, but there's really no harm in washing your hands often. Especially if you like picking on your face like me.
5. Get enough sleep!
Whenever I have bad sleep or am super stressed out, my skin has an outbreak overkill. I try a lot of things, but the best remedy (for me, at least) is sleeping enough, or catching up with my missed sleep - aka the beauty sleep. I put aside my worries and try to force myself to sleep at least an minimum of 8 hours. Usually what happens is, after 2-3 nights of doing so, my skin starts to clear out.
6. Eat properly.
If you know it is bad for you, cut it out.
We all know junky food does us no good, except excite our taste buds for a few seconds. Snacks and coke were my closest friends in my early 20s. I would skip regular meals because I was always full with snacks and other junk food. And then I would feel extremely guilty, and try to make up the overloaded calories by skipping some meals, and then I'd get really hungry and binge on snacks again (such a vicious cycle!)
I drastically changed my diet after I met my boyfriend (which is almost 2 years ago).
I cut out meat, I eat everything organic (or at least natural), anything artificial is almost 99% cut out of my life, I don't eat out as often (eating out is fun and the food is tasty, but there's not a lot of healthy options out there), meals are all home cooked, I don't fry anything (everything is baked in the oven), no white rice, no white bread, no trans fat, no partially hydrogenated anything, and so on. And my skin has really improved.
* If you have a whole foods near you, I recommend shopping there. People have this misconception of whole foods being expensive, but if you compare it to other grocery stores, whole foods has extremely competitive prices (most of the time I find it cheaper than food emporium, morton williams or other places to shop). Whole foods is a huge chain and they always have great deals and sales so go get your fresh veggies and healthy food at whole foods :D
It's like a health nut's heaven. The products are heavily leaned towards natural, organic and eco-friendly products. The selection is wide so it's not like you get stuck with a product you are unwilling to buy.
* If you don't live in the states or don't have whole foods in your country, try to buy products that are fresh and organic.
Cutting out bad eating habits doesn't necessarily have anything to do with body mass. I do have to admit you do lose a good amount of weight if you cut out bad junky food, but it's more about getting healthy than losing weight or changing your figure.
I know some people are going to roll their eyes and think being healthy is annoying, but there's no reason to be appalled with one trying to be healthy. It's a gradual change and investment in your own life - even in the near future regarding your skin and beauty, so you should really be careful of what you consume.
When I was like 20, 21 so many people worried about my unhealthy diet. I had a huge ego thinking that I was exceptional and special, I could stuff my face with junk food and I'd be just as fine and young as I were. Oops, but no. My unhealthy diet really got at me, and if I could turn back time, I would have never done such damage to my body and health. So don't think you are okay because you are young and beautiful at the moment. Your health and body is a long term investment.
Okay, that was an insanely long post :p I feel like I wrote a testimony on here, but try to look back at your tracks through out the day. Just being aware of simple stuff and changing some daily habits could really result in a big change! (living example here :p)
I still have the scars left (because I was stupid enough to pick on them), but other than that, after changing some life style habits that I've listed above, I no longer have huge outbreaks like this. So even if you aren't gifted with the "perfect skin", don't give up and try to make your skin perfect in the right way :D
Take good care of yourselves :)