Breakouts can be caused by all manner of reasons, but once you throw in summer, sun and sweat even those with the least acne-prone skin can have a hard time keeping breakouts at bay. Whilst there are some more obvious causes, I thought I’d share some less obvious reasons that can be contributing to your unwelcome face friends.
Using a clean wash cloth each night.
If a face washer or muslin cloth is part of your cleansing routine, it’s important you at least use a clean side or cloth each night. If you stop and think about it, using the same one again could mean you’re wiping last night’s gunk right back onto your face (no thanks!).
Worse than that, you’re then putting all your beautiful skincare over the top, leaving your old skin cells, makeup, sebum and sometimes bacteria to clog the pores. You don’t want to wipe your hands on a dirty towel, so don’t wipe your face with one.
Overdoing the actives.
Active skincare ingredients such as vitamin c and retinol are fantastic, but it’s important that you’re still supporting your skin barrier whilst using them. Irritation and breakouts are sometimes the first sign that you’ve been neglecting your skin barrier.
This is where the age-old adage of “everything in moderation” comes in; make sure you’re introducing new or stronger actives slowly and always balance them with nights and mornings focused purely on hydration and barrier support. It’s also important to be mindful with any pimple clearing treatments you introduce as well, since overuse of these can dry out the skin further and perpetuate the cycle.
Touching your face.
This is a sneaky one and not one we’re really thinking about when we’re sweating through our makeup and trying not to let it show. Excessive touching of the face through the day with your hands or phone can transfer dirt and bacteria onto the skin. We all think we don’t touch our faces, but I challenge you to make it through one hour at work without resting your chin on your hand.
Whilst it does help that we’re all washing our hands more than ever, it can be useful to have something like a stress ball to keep your hands occupied instead. Or once you notice that you’re doing it, trust me when I say it’s a lot easier to stop.
You’re not wearing or reapplying your sunscreen enough.
We often think of UV damage purely in terms of a sunburn or pigmentation; however, UV rays can cause all kinds of oxidative stress damage. Sometimes this looks like a worn-down barrier, irritation and inflammation that inevitably leads to angry breakouts.
On the flip side, if you’re applying enough sunscreen throughout the day, it’s just as important that you’re properly taking it off at the end of the night (I happen to know of a great balm cleanser to help!). Whilst your UV protection wears off during the day, it doesn’t mean your physical sunscreen has worn off, so traces of the oils and other ingredients in the product are still there.
At the end of the day, breakouts suck and sometimes they just happen, but other times it could be a simple change to your routine to help you along.