WHAT'S CAUSING YOUR BREAKOUTS?

I’m sure if you are reading this you experience a breakout here and there... or maybe you consistently breakout and don’t know why.  There could be a multitude of factors but some are certainly more “fix-able” than others.  Take it from me personally, as someone who suffered from adult acne and still continues to combat breakouts, it’s worth making a few shifts to potentially mitigate this common problem. Below are some reasons why we tend to breakout:

  1. DIRTY PILLOWS! OMG this is a big one, you have no idea what lives on your pillowcase and how that bacteria can fester on your face leaving you with unwanted blemishes. Experts say you should wash it at least once a week but if you are more oily you may want to bump it up to every few days. Also, be sure you are using a detergent free of synthetic fragrances- that could also be a culprit (you have no idea what is in the ingredient “fragrance” labeled on any bottle which is a whole other story).
  2. DIRTY MAKEUP BRUSHES.  This one is a bit more obvious.  Makeup, oils, and bacteria from your skin gets stuck on your brushes and when you reuse and reuse, that grime only continues to get reapplied to your face and clogs pores. Experts say wash at least once a week.
  3. NOT WASHING YOUR FACE BEFORE BED.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again… it is an absolute must that you wash your face before bed.  Your skin has dirt, dead skin cells, bacteria, and sebum that then stays on your face only to clog your pores (and dirty your pillow!!!)
  4. USE NON-COMEDOGENIC OILS.  Be sure that no matter what skincare and/or makeup you are using on your face, neck, and back that the oil is non-comedogenic meaning it won’t clog pores.  Oils such as grapeseed, castor, meadowfoam seed, and sunflower seed, for example, will not clog pores.  On the other hand, coconut and olive oils will.
  5. AVOID DAIRY.  There are several things at play when we ingest dairy.  Whey and casein, the proteins in milk, trigger breakouts. Sometimes the hormones in milk can also interact with our own hormones, confusing our body’s endocrine system and signaling breakouts. In addition, lactose is the natural sugar present in milk. After infancy, it becomes more difficult for humans to break lactose down and digest it. And if you belong to the 65 percent of people who are lactose intolerant, your acne-related breakout could be due to a lactose sensitivity or allergic reaction.
  6. OVER EXFOLIATING.  Over scrubbing and use of chemical exfoliants can strip and aggravate your skin.  Over-exfoliation can lead to redness, irritation, and may leave the skin in worse condition than what you started with, especially because it exposes your raw skin to environmental stressors which can cause breakouts. 
  7. HORMONES. Obviously this one is a bit more complex but one example is just before your period starts. Estrogen and progesterone levels drop at this time and can trigger your sebaceous glands to secrete more sebum, an oily substance that lubricates your skin. Too much can result in clogged pores and breakouts. Hormones can also increase skin inflammation and the production of acne-causing bacteria. In addition, lack of sleep causes cortisol levels to spike which leads to inflammation and an increased production of sebum which also results in clogged pores and eventually, breakouts.
  8. OVER DRYING. Since the clogging of hair follicles causes acne, dry skin can cause an excess buildup of dead skin cells. This, in turn, can clog your pores. In addition, dry skin makes your pores more likely to break open, allowing acne causing bacteria deeper into the skin.
  9. DIRTY HAIR.  Dirty hair that is loaded with oils, hair products, and grime over the course of the average day can cause an acne flare for those who are prone to breakouts (now imagine if you are a person who shampoos once a week or every few days). The residue on hair clogs pores and can harbor acne flaring bacteria.
  10. PICKING YOUR PIMPLES. Although it seems so satisfying (and trust me I am the biggest offender), it can cause scarring, create more pimples by spreading bacteria, cause the pimple to get worse by forcing the bacteria down further, cause tearing when your forcefully push the contents up, and prevent your body from naturally healing the breakout. Leave this to your derm or esthetician. 
  11. NOT WASHING YOUR FACE AFTER WORKOUTS. Come on- this one is obvious.  Don’t leave sweat, dirt, and excess sebum on your face- you are just asking for a breakout.
  12. SKIN PURGING.  This one is not exactly a traditional “breakout” per se.  Purging is a sign that a product is working and you should continue with the treatment as prescribed. After a few weeks of purging, your skin and acne will have noticeably improved. Breaking out is when your skin is reacting to something in a negative way (all reasons listed above).
Written by Allyson Welch

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