5 Very Surprising Causes of Acne You May Be Overlooking
What causes acne?
To put it simply and bluntly; acne sucks. No matter what kind of acne – whiteheads, blackheads, the very obvious inflamed bumps that are cystic acne – it really sucks. Not only does it ruin your look for the day but it saps your self-confidence and in some kind of cruel twist of fate the worst breakouts often seem to happen right before an important event you had hoped to look your very best for.
So, you do what anyone would, try your best to avoid the problem and prevent as many acne breakouts as you can. You wash your face regularly with a good cleanser. You do the same for your body. You treat any pimples that do appear promptly and never pick at your zits, however tempting it may be to do so.
Yet the acne keeps coming back. Why? Sometimes no one actually knows, not even the experts. But sometimes the cause of an embarrassing acne breakout may be something you had never really associated with the problem at all before. What can we possibly mean? Well, here are five rather surprising things that may be adding to your acne woes without you even realizing it.
1. You are Applying Your Makeup the Wrong Way
OK, so you did the right thing and made sure that all of the makeup you just picked up at the drugstore/Sephora/online was labelled as non-comedogenic (because comedogenic means pore clogging and clogged pores can lead to acne) You bought a lightweight foundation so that your pores would be able to breathe. You plan to remove it all later with a gentle PH balanced cleanser. But then you screw all of this acne prevention up by applying the foundation with your fingers.
Your hands – and fingers – are bacteria magnets. Even when newly washed they can attract bacteria in seconds (really) They are also kind of oily (which they should be, to prevent wrinkles) So when you use them to apply cosmetics, especially foundations, the chances are good you are transferring lots of bacteria to your freshly washed face, setting yourself up for an acne breakout.
A better alternative is to make use of a CLEAN makeup sponge or brush at all times. And replace them on a regular basis too, as they also attract those bacteria that you really want nowhere near your face. And then keep your hands away from your face as much as possible for the rest of the day, both to keep that freshly applied makeup looking great longer and to prevent nasty breakouts.
2. You Aren’t Changing Your Pillowcase Often Enough
Even if you do the right thing and cleanse your face thoroughly before bed, as you sleep dead skin cells and oils do deposit on your pillow, even if you can’t quite see that when you wake up. And then the next evening, when you settle down to sleep again, some of that gunk will inevitably transfer back onto your face, potentially clogging pores leading to acne. And the longer you use the same pillowcase, the worse the problem gets.
While changing your bed linens every day is overkill doing so once a week is a must. Not just your pillowcase but the sheets as well, as similar goop on them may be a contributing factor to body acne as well.
You may also want to consider changing the types of bed linen you use. Cotton is the best idea. As it ‘breathes’ it helps keep you cooler, reducing how much you sweat. And the bamboo sheets you may have seen popping up in home stores recently are an even better choice as bamboo has natural antibacterial properties that shrug off a lot of that acne causing gunk anyway.
3. Your SO has a Beard
Lots of guys do look great with a beard. But while your significant other’s facial hair may look very attractive on him – and to you – it’s not always that good for your skin. Why? Well when you kiss and your smooth skin is rubbed by that prickly beard your skin releases extra oil to try to prevent damage. That extra oil can then lead to a nasty zit or two that you really didn’t expect.
Now asking your man to shave off his beard is probably a bit much but you can request he use a proper beard conditioner so that kissing him isn’t such a painful – and potentially skin damaging – affair.
4. You Skip an After Gym Shower
You just finished a marathon gym session. You are hot and sweaty but as you are going straight home anyway you skip the after gym locker room shower, planning to wash up when you get back to your place instead.
Except that when you do get home you get a bit sidetracked. There is dinner to be made – and then eaten, dishes to be washed and the other half of that great flick to finish watching on Netflix. Before you know it it’s time for bed and then you finally get around to that shower, but the damage may already be done.
You see all of that time, while you were still covering up your skin with sweaty clothes, dead skin and dirt was working its way into your pores, possibly causing acne and irritation that is going to be less than pleasant to deal with. So yes, it’s a pain, but take that extra five minutes to shower right after your workout, your skin will thank you for it.
5. You are OD’ing Your Skin with Pimple Products
If you have acne prone skin it’s only natural to turn to the various products, treatments and even home remedies that are available to help treat and heal acne you already have and prevent new zits and pimples from forming.
However, no matter what kinds of creams, potions, lotions and masks you are using to do so it is all too easy to overdo things and end up doing your skin more harm than good. Take benzoyl peroxide cream for example. Used sparingly it is a great way to treat existing acne and help prevent new breakouts. Some people though, realizing this, think that they can solve an acne problem even faster by ‘doubling up’ on the treatment by say, using both a benzoyl peroxide facewash and a spot acne treatment.
This is not the case though. As it is very drying stuff the overuse of a harsher chemical like benzoyl peroxide will result in dry, flaking skin. Dry skin that your body will produce more oil to try and combat. Potentially leading to new acne. It’s a vicious cycle you do not want to get started.
Instead use cleansers, toners and moisturizers sensibly and in moderation. And don’t scrub at your skin too hard either. Exfoliation will help heal acne but only when it’s gentle. Aggressive rubbing and scrubbing will only spread bacteria from pimples around, potentially leading to the development of many more.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this piece acne has many causes and not all of them are things you can control. But if you make an effort to make the little lifestyle changes that can reduce the chances of acne breakout you really will be doing yourself – and your skin – a big favor. Try some of these ideas and then let us know if they made a difference for you, we’d love to know.