Acne is one of life’s most annoying skin curses that affects roughly 40 to 50 million people in the U.S. alone. Acne is caused by the overproduction of oil and blockages that prevent oil to exit pores. In addition to the causes of acne and genetics, there are daily habits that can also cause breakouts. Here are some of the triggers and what you can do differently to avoid acne-causing behaviors:
You touch your face frequently: Bacteria, viruses and allergens transfer from fingertips onto the skin. If you are acne-prone, touching your face will absolutely lead to breakouts. Touching can spread existing p. acnes – the culprit behind red inflammatory acne papules and cysts – on the surface and beneath the surface of the skin.
What you can do differently: If touching your face seems like an impossible habit to break, then be sure to wash your hands with mild soap in lukewarm water for at least 20 seconds.
You wash your face too hard: While you may think that exfoliating more frequently or scrubbing your face harder than usual may make acne-prone skin smoother, washing your face too much or too rough will actually cause an adverse effect. When you scrub the active acne, blemish bacteria spreads across the skin, worsening the condition.
What you can do differently: Gently wash and moisturize your face with a gentle system (cleanser, toner, moisturizer). It’s important to choose products that contain the right active ingredients, such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, both which deep clean and reduce blemishes.
You’re not active enough: It’s important to release built-up stress to keep acne at bay. When your body experiences stress, the skin produces stress hormones, including cortisol, that stimulate oil glands. This can lead to clogged pores and in the end, more breakouts.
What you can do differently: One can also take part in stress-reducing activities. Working out regularly and meditating can help alleviate stress. Workouts restore fluctuating levels of hormones thus reducing sebum production. Sweating will also ensure that your skin pores stay clear. Be sure to also take a shower after each workout. Skipping the shower right after a workout allows the makeup, dirt, bacteria, and oil mix with sweat. These can then settle into your pores, causing breakouts to happen. Replenish moisture that is lost during your workout by moisturizing after you shower.
You pick at your skin, even when blemishes are not there: Many women and men have a problem leaving their skin be. It’s tempting to play dermatologist, but picking at your pimples will only worsen the situation, leaving behind scars When you touch and pick at your face, you run the risk of pushing acne bacteria deeper into the skin and spreading it further.
What you can do differently: It may be tough, but challenge yourself to not touch your face at all. This will allow blemishes to heal on their own, should you get any. By not touching and picking at your face, you eliminate additional oils and bacteria from spreading from your hands onto your face.
You don’t change your bedding sheets often enough: Pillowcases can house dirt and oil. No matter what material your pillowcases are, if they are not changed regularly, then they can harbor more grime, dirt and sweat. The bacteria can easily transfer onto your face, forcing you to wake up with unpleasant (and new) pimples.
What you can do differently: Be sure to wash your face every night. Your skin restores itself at night so skipping your cleansing routine is only doing your skin an injustice. Look for pillowcases that are made out of natural fabrics. These materials are able to breathe better and transfer less oil.
You smoke: Every time that you light up a cigarette, you decrease the amount of oxygen that goes to your face. Not only is smoking bad for your overall health, but it also wreaks havoc on your skin. Smoking causes the breakdown of collagen and elastin that can then lead to fine lines and wrinkles.
What you can do differently: Simple. Don’t smoke. You will live a longer, happier life AND clear skin by skipping the carcinogens.