Ten Sneaky Reasons You May Be Breaking Out

After years of working on clients with #mysterybreakouts I thought I’d finally put together my Top Ten Sneaky Reasons You May Be Breaking Out. Have one that I didn’t list? Please feel free to leave in the comments below.

Young female is squeezing out a pimple before makeup making
1.) Gym Towels

Why? These are a secret culprit and if you are acne-prone, keep them away from your face. The chemicals from the harsh detergents used to wash these towels are left behind on the towel fibers. When they come in contact with sensitive, acne-prone skin they will contribute to breakouts. Keep them away from your face, and or any areas of your body that are prone to acne.

Solution: Bring your own towel or paper towel to your workout classes.

2.) Dirty pillow case

Why? The products we use on our hair transfer onto our pillowcases, and if you have ever fallen asleep with your makeup on (shame on you!) then that is embedded in the fabric too. These oils get trapped against your skin while you sleep leading to breakouts.

Solution: If you are acne-prone, change your pillowcase 2-3 times each week.

3.) Fragranced laundry detergents and scented fabric softeners

Why? Acneic skin is also sensitive skin. The fragrances in scented laundry detergents merge onto your pillow cases, sheets and towels. The linens next come in contact with your skin, resulting in potential breakouts.

Solution: Switch to unscented laundry care. Your skin will thank you.

4.) Touching your face throughout the day

Why? Many of us place our hand over our chin while we read on the computer or cup our cheek in our hand while we think. Our hands are typically not very clean, and by touching our face we are spreading and occluding bacteria onto our skin thus causing ourselves to break out.

Solution: Practice mindfulness and notice when you touch your face. Try to stop yourself before you start.

5.) Steam Rooms

Why? Going into a steam room may sound like relaxing self-care, but they are not healthy for all of us. Acne-prone skin is easily overstimulated, and by spending time in the steamy heat of a steam room you can easily over-stimulate your oil glands and cause a breakout.

Solution: No steam rooms until your skin is clear and calm. Even then, notice if you break out within 48 hours of having spent time in one.

6.) Snuggling with our pets

Why? Pet dander is real and it is a well-known allergen. When we snuggle our pets against the skin on our faces, we expose our skin to their oils and dander. We make things even worst for our skin when we allow our pets to sleep on our pillows.

Solution: If you find yourself breaking out, try petting your animals with your hands rather than bringing them to your face for snuggles. Keep them off of your pillows as well. Be sure to wash your hands and avoid touching your face after playing with your animals. Your skin will thank you, and your pets will still receive lots of love and attention.

7.) Knit scarves

Why: The fibers in wool and even cashmere collect oils, makeup debris, and bacteria when placed near our face. For many people, wool itself is an irritant as it naturally contains lanolin (a known allergen for sensitive skin). We rarely wash these scarves, then place them right up against our breakout prone chin and jawlines all winter long.

Solution: You have two options. You can hand-wash your knit scarves weekly ton see if that helps clear your skin or switch to easily washable cotton or microfiber scarves and gators.

8.) Not cleaning your makeup brushes

Why? This one is pretty obvious. Many of us use our makeup brushes daily to spread creams, powders and pastes over our skin then NEVER clean them. Ewww. Acne-prone skin does not do well with this. Really nobody’s skin does well with this.

Solution: If you are dealing with inflamed breakouts then I suggest switching to disposable foam wedges to apply all of your makeup (eye makeup excluded) and change to a new wedge everyday until your skin clears. The other option is to clean your brushes everyday after using them with a spray brush cleaner. You will want to wash them once each week with soap and water then let them air dry as well. This way they have received a thorough deep clean. The spray only removes surface debris so they are not fully clean.

9.) Sleeping in Lip Balm

Why? When we apply our waxy lip balm then lie down on our pillow the balm creeps below the lip line as we sleep. If you are a side sleeper (like me) you are actually pressing the waxy balm into your skin, thus clogging your pores.

Solution: We all love our lip balms. I encourage you to use them all day long, just skip the application before bed.

10.) Sleeping in hand cream

Why? Similar to lip balm, the hand creams contain rich emollients. If you find yourself sleeping with your cheek on your hand or touching your face while you sleep then you do NOT want to sleep in hand cream with acne-prone skin.

Solution: Balm your hands up all day long. I encourage it! Just leave it off before bed if you think this could be contributing to your acne.

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