16 Habits That Can Cause Breakouts
By Kelsey Blackwell
If you or your child suffers from a random pimple now and then, that’s nothing to be alarmed about. Stress and normal hormone fluctuations are often root factors for experiencing a breakout. But when one or two pimples become four or five, or your skin is erupting regularly, it may be time to take a closer look at the root cause. Are any of the following habits keeping your skin from looking its best?
1. Wearing Oily Makeup
Does your makeup contain lanolin, mineral oil or petroleum? If so, this may be a reason for your breakouts. While helpful for balancing dry skin, for folks with acne- prone skin these oils can further trap skin cells and create pimples. Make sure all your makeup is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores.
2. Using Dirty Makeup Applicators
The sponges and brushes you use to apply your makeup can be teeming with dead skin cells and bacteria, making those tools ripe for bacterial growth. Be sure to wash brushes weekly with a designated cleanser.
3. Over-Washing Your Face
If you’re washing your face more than twice a day, are using drying toners or regularly skip using face moisturizers, there’s a good chance you’re over- drying your face. When your skin is dry, your body reacts by producing more oil, which could contribute to more breakouts. Stop the cycle by sticking to a daily skin care regimen and washing your face once or twice a day at most.
4. Not Moisturizing
It may seem like skipping the moisturizer is the best way to keep oily skin in check but, as was mentioned in the previous tip, the opposite is true. In fact, breakouts could be a sign your skin is naturally too dry. Make sure you’re using a non-comedogenic moisturizer, preferably one that also includes sunscreen, after every face wash.
5. Using a Dirty Cell Phone
When you think about how often your cell phone is pressed to your cheek, is it any surprise that pimples pop up there every so often? Regular pressure from bacteria-ridden objects can lead to breakouts. Your cell phone isn’t the only culprit; musical instruments, sunglasses or even your hand resting on your face can cause pimples to form. Regularly sterilize objects used near your face and keep your hands clean.
6. Being Stressed
We’ve all been told that stress can lead to breakouts, and it’s true: Studies suggest that stress does cause acne flare-ups. So what can you do? If you know you’re entering a period where you’ll be under pressure, make sure to budget time to relax. This may mean ensuring you get your daily workout or simply leaving work at lunchtime to take a walk. Finding time to unwind will do more than help keep your skin clear, it may help you more easily handle whatever’s got you worked up.
7. Wearing Dirty Clothes
It’s tempting to re-wear that sports bra or overlook washing those pillowcases, but engaging with dirty laundry is bad news for the skin. The bacteria and dead skin cells held in dirty clothes, bed linens and even your bathroom towel make these items ripe pore-cloggers. Wash pillowcases weekly, and if you’re experiencing body acne, try to use a fresh towel after every shower.
8. Wearing the Wrong Clothes
We lose millions of skin cells every day. Could some of those cells be getting trapped in your clothes and clogging pores? If you’re wearing synthetic fabrics like polyester and Lycra, this could be the case. Instead, opt for natural fabrics like cotton that allow your skin to breathe. Change out of workout clothes, which are often tight and made from synthetic materials, as soon as your workout ends and wash them every time before wearing.
9. Overlooking the Ingredients in Hair Products
How often does your hair touch your skin? If what you’re putting on your hair is shown to clog pores, there’s a good chance it’s doing just that on your face. Avoid hair products with oil, silicones, and plasticizers – especially if you have bangs or fringe touching your forehead.
10. Regularly Indulging in Foods with a High-Glycemic Load
Don’t worry, you don’t have to stop eating pizza or say adios to chocolate, but research does show that an overall unhealthy diet is also unhealthy for skin. Foods with a high-glycemic load, (think, white breads, pasta, and fried foods) spike blood sugar, which can cause acne. Bottom line, to keep your body and skin happy enjoy these foods as every-so-often treats, not dietary mainstays.
11. Spraying Perfume
Perfume can cause skin irritation, promoting or aggravating acne. If you wear perfume, avoid spraying your décolletage and neck. Instead, apply perfume directly to your wrists and use a finger to dab on your neck. If you wear essential oils, make sure the base oils used are non-comedogenic.
12. Not Washing Your Face EVERY Night
We get it, after a long night sometimes it’s nice to just slip right into bed. But that one harmless act can undo a lot of progress on your skin – especially if you’re wearing makeup. Getting into the habit a washing your face every single night is the only way to reap the benefits of an established skin-care routine. Get educated on healthy skin tips for your daily routine.
Need a reliable face wash? CLEAN & CLEAR® Deep Action Cream Cleanser’s oil-free formula removes dirt, oil and make-up deep down to the pores as you wash, leaves your skin feeling refreshed and clean.
13. Working on Your Tan
Sure, tanning can dry up skin and reduce the appearance of acne by conveniently browning inflamed areas. But getting some rays also increases skin-cell production leading to more dead skin cells and more opportunities for clogged pore. Though it’s tempting, stay out of the sun to keep breakouts at bay.
14. Consuming Too Much Dairy
Milk and dairy products often contain growth hormones and other known inflammatory substances that can lead to clogged pores. Though it can be tough, if you experience breakouts after consuming ice cream, yogurt or any other dairy-laden product it may be best to just say no.
15. Consuming Foods You May be Unknowingly Allergic To
Dairy isn’t the only food that can lead to an increase in pimples. If after eating any food (particularly those that contain the top-eight allergens – dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat or soybeans) you experience breakouts, it may be your body’s way of communicating a food allergy. Abstain for a few weeks to see if your skin clears up. Bonus, avoiding an allergen may result in other benefits such as less bloating and joint pain.
16. Giving up Too Soon
When your skin is breaking out, it’s hard not to want the situation cleared up yesterday. But addressing acne effectively takes time. Stick with your plan of attack for at least two weeks before jumping ship and trying something else. If you’re not seeing improvements or conditions worsen, consider consulting a dermatologist.
It is also important to know what doesn’t causes breakouts. Learn more about common acne myths.
©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2016