It’s a fact: Most of us will deal with stubborn breakouts at some point. In many cases, the cause is easy to uncover – it could be related to hormones, a bad reaction to a new product, or just some sneaky bacteria lingering in your daily routine.
In other cases, though, the cause is more difficult to detect. Here are 10 sneaky causes of breakouts that might be keeping you from the clear complexion you crave.
1. Applying makeup with dirty brushes
You wash your face at the end of each day to remove makeup; your makeup brushes deserve similar treatment. If you don’t wash your makeup brushes frequently, you’re essentially spreading days’ worth of dirt and bacteria over your face each time you get dolled up. The same thing applies to beauty blenders and sponges. Keep your makeup brushes and applicators clean by washing them in warm water with baby shampoo or a gentle facial cleanser weekly.
2. Exfoliating too frequently
Exfoliating your skin is a great way to keep your face soft and smooth by removing dead skin cells and dirt. However, over-exfoliating can send your oil-producing glands into overdrive and cause breakouts. Exfoliating your skin too frequently will dry out the top layer of skin, prompting the oil grands to overcompensate and produce extra sebum. Keep your skin clear by exfoliating no more than three times a week.
3. Not cleaning your cell phone screen often
How many times a day do you touch your phone screen? We tried to count and lost track at 57, and that was before 8:00 AM! Each time you touch your phone’s screen you’re transferring dirt, bacteria, and other substances to the device’s surface. And when you use your phone to make a call, you’re holding all of those things against your skin – transferring the mess to your face and possibly contributing an irritating breakout.
4. Using the wrong sunscreen.
Yes, using sunscreen daily is one of the very best things you can do for your skin. However, using the WRONG sunscreen for your skin type can be a sneaky contributor to breakouts and acne. Make sure you’re using an oil-free, non-greasy and non-comedogenic formula on your face each day. Yes, this might mean you need to use two different products for your face and body, but we promise you’ll thank us in years to come.
5. Not rinsing completely after washing your face
Maybe you’ve consulted Dr. Doppelt and are using a great cleanser, but not getting the results you expect when it comes to treating your breakouts. It might have a simple, but surprising cause: you’re not rinsing well enough. Leaving even a little cleanser residue on your face can clog pores and cause breakouts.
6. Jet-setting and air travel
Air travel might make getting from home to paradise easy, but it can wreak havoc on your skin. Dry air, pressurized air in airplane cabins can dry out skin on your face and over-encourage oil-producing glands. If you’re frequently on the go, moisturizing more can help fight breakouts caused by exposure to these dry conditions.
7. Sleeping on a dirty pillowcase.
No one looks forward to laundry day. However, each night as you wander around dreamland, you are leaving oil, sweat, hair products, dead skin cells, and the traces of the previous day’s dirt on your pillowcase. Be sure to swap out pillowcases at least weekly and avoid this sneaky breakout cause.
8. Working out without cleaning up
When was the last time you wiped off your yoga mat? If you’re frequently working out without cleaning up, you might be transferring dirt and bacteria to your face each time you down dog. Consider using a clean towel as a barrier between your face and your yoga mat each time your practice and regularly wipe off your mat and other equipment with anti-bacterial cleaner.
9. Not getting enough skin-healthy nutrients
You’ve probably heard it a million times: You are what you eat. If you have to have great skin, consider working for it from the inside out. Caffeine, dairy, and gluten can cause acne and breakouts in sensitive individuals. Foods with anti-inflammatory properties like kale, almonds, and broccoli can help keep your skin looking great. Staying hydrated and drinking enough water can also help keep your complexion glowing.
10. Stressing out
If you notice breakouts during periods of heavy stress, you aren’t alone. Many people are sensitive to cortisol—the hormone the body produces when things get stressful or hectic. Cortisol can trigger oil production and contribute to your breakouts, which can be stressful to deal with on their own. Take time to build your “healthy reserves” when things get tricky: Make sure you’re sleeping well, eating well, working out and enjoying some quality “me time.”
If you’re dealing with breakouts regularly, consider making an appointment with Dr. Doppelt for additional help. He can recommend the right products, including prescription treatments, to help you achieve and maintain a complexion that’s clear and acne-free. Read more on our blog about ways you can stop breakouts before they happen.