5 Surprising Culprits for Your Breakout
As if adult breakouts weren’t irritating enough on their own, identifying the factors that cause them and effective ways to prevent them often feels like an uphill battle.
You might try all the usual remedies like managing your stress, washing your face more often, and getting more sleep, only to find those pesky zits still popping up as persistently as ever.
What many people don’t know is that there are many sneakier, lesser-known factors that contribute to acne, and a lot of them are common parts of daily life you probably think nothing of. Fortunately, most of these lesser-known causes of acne are also easy to fix by changing a few key habits. Read on for five surprising causes of acne and what to do about them:
Touching Your Face
If you have a habit of picking at, scratching, or simply touching your face frequently, you may be inadvertently causing yourself to break out. Remember that pimples form when your skin’s natural oils (known as sebum), dead skin cells, and bacteria get trapped in your pores. Now think about how much dirt and bacteria are likely to accumulate on your hands throughout the day, especially if you don’t wash them often. Touching your face won’t just spread around any bacteria that was already on your skin but will also expose it to even more from your dirty hands.
Simply touching your face less frequently can keep pimples from forming and reduce breakouts. Try to occupy your hands with other tasks when you feel the urge to scratch or pick at a scab. Masking up when you go out will also put a protective barrier between your face and your bare hands. Consider buying antimicrobial face masks with neck loop, as these extra-sanitary masks will also prevent bacteria from forming on the fabric that comes in direct contact with your face. And if you really can’t kick the habit, at least wash your hands often to keep them clean and germ-free.
Talking on Your Phone
We take our mobile phones with us pretty much everywhere we go and also handle them often throughout the day. This makes them breeding grounds for bacteria, which in turn may come into direct contact with your face when you talk on the phone. Pressing your phone screen directly against your cheek can also push any sweat, oil, and other substances back into your skin.
To counteract this, be a bit more mindful about pressing your phone too hard against your face. Try to minimize this when you take calls on your phone, or consider using a headset or earphones to avoid facial contact completely. Wiping down your phone screen regularly with disinfectant wipes is also sure to be a big help.
What You Eat and Drink
It’s entirely possible that your diet may be giving you pimples, but not for the reasons you might think. Contrary to popular belief, eating oily or greasy foods doesn’t cause acne. Research shows that it’s actually carbohydrate-rich foods and dairy products, which contain hormones, that make you more likely to break out. If your regular diet contains lots of sweets, starchy foods, or dairy, it may be a good idea to cut back and see if that helps clear up your skin.
Pomades, Hairsprays, and Other Hairstyling Products
A lot of the time, the products you use on your hair will end up on your face as you apply them, especially those that come in spray bottles. These products often contain silicone, sulfates, oils, and other substances that can clog your pores and lead to acne. The best fix? Apply hair products by hand, taking care not to let them touch your hairline. Once you finish styling your hair, wipe around your hairline with a mild cleanser to remove any stray product.
Over-Exfoliating Your Skin
Strange as it may sound, it’s entirely possible to overdo your skincare routine. Exfoliating too often with face scrubs and cleansing brushes can actually spread bacteria across your face and also induce swelling in clogged pores. Certain harsh ingredients such as sulfur and salicylic acid can also dry out your skin if you overuse them, which may in turn cause it to overproduce oil to compensate.
It helps to bear in mind that with skincare, sometimes less is more. Resist the temptation to scrub your face too often and instead use a gentle, anti-acne cleanser most of the week. Most people only need to exfoliate once or twice a week to clean out their pores more thoroughly, and gentle chemical exfoliators are usually best for this purpose.
As with many other matters concerning our bodies and our physical health, the factors that cause us to break out will inevitably differ greatly between individuals. If changing a few daily habits doesn’t magically heal your skin, don’t give up. Take note of when pimples and blemishes tend to appear on your face, then try to identify patterns and tackle possible causes. Once you’ve managed to pinpoint the major culprits, you’ll be able to bring those nasty breakouts under control in no time.