12 unexpected reasons that could be causing you to breakout

Did you know that there are probably many reasons as to why your skin is breaking out unexpectedly? Did you also know that you can easily combat and rectify these issues? Your breakouts could be the cause of something as simple as your toothpaste, or even washing your hair. You heard that right, washing your hair!

There’ll never be anything worse than the times you wake up, catch your reflection, and notice another unexpected breakout. Your skin can actually freak out for a number of reasons. You probably know by now that an obvious lead to unexpected breakouts is constant touches to your skin, and ultimately leading to clogged pores. But we’re here to advise you of the other reasons to your breakouts, and how they can simply be rectified.

Here’s twelve unexpected reasons that could be causing your skin to breakout:

You’re not actually dealing with ‘acne’

Breaking out. Pic: Pixabay

Sometimes what you think is ‘acne’ isn’t technically acne. This could explain why your spot treatments are not having their desired effect, or could be making them worse. If you find that your breakouts are appearing on your forehead, hairline, back, chest or look like small red bumps, you might be dealing with something called fungal acne. It might only look like acne to you, but it’s actually an infection of the hair follicles and would require differing treatment.

If you are experiencing this, a simple over-the-counter dandruff shampoo can do the trick. Simply apply the product to the affected area, wait ten minutes, then rinse off thoroughly. 

Your face mask could be causing maskne 

Your face covering could be contributing to your acne. Pic: Pixabay

If you’ve suddenly noticed more breakouts around your jawline, chin, and cheeks, especially since the start of the current pandemic, it could be a result you wearing a face mask. When you wear a mask for a few hours, all of your sweat, natural oils, humidity and bacteria are trapped under your face covering, and it becomes the ultimate breeding ground for breakouts. 

As face masks are now mandatory on public transport and indoor premises, consider switching yours to one made of breathable fabric. It’s a good idea to stock up on quite a few face coverings so you always have a clean one to hand. If you’re not changing your mask after each use or washing your face at least twice a day, you’re doing it wrong. As your face is covered by the face mask regularly in public, there’s no need for a heavy foundation. Makeup could increase the issue of clogged pores.

Sleep deprived 

Acne can be caused by a lack of sleep. Pic: Freepik

You might think looking after your skin solely means applying the right skincare products for your skin type, but one of the most amazing gifts you can give yourself is a full night sleep, (around seven to nine hours.) Sleep acts as a reset button for your entire body. This will reflect in your face too, not only resulting in dark under-eye circles, but also acne breakouts. 

Getting adequate sleep each night overcomes a couple other major causes of acne, including overactive hormones, and stress. Sleep lowers your stress levels, preventing the overproduction of a hormone that causes the body to produce excess sebum. So essentially by resting up, you can help to keep you mind calm and your pores clear. If you struggle to get to sleep, it might be worth avoiding using your phone at least an hour before bed.

Not washing your pillowcase enough

Not regularly washing your pillowcase can be bad for your skin. Pic: Pixabay

Speaking of sufficient sleep, think of how many hours are spent face-planted onto your pillow each night. If you’re not washing your face before going to sleep, all of the sweat, oil, dirt and grime that accumulates whilst you sleep, or from the day before, then gets pressed against that pillow, which is also rubbing against your pores.

It’s very important to cleanse your face every night before bed. You should also wash your pillowcases at least every two weeks, if not weekly, to make sure it’s oil and grime-free. If you want to feel fancy, why not switch to silk or satin pillowcase? This will help to reduce friction – your hair will thank you for it.

Your diet might need altering

Eating too much of certain foods can contribute to your acne. Pic: Freepik

If you’ve already assessed what skincare products you’ve been using, and want to get to the root of your acne, then your diet might be the next thing to evaluate. It could be that your skin is responding negatively to certain foods, like sugar and dairy. How the diet affects the skin, and to what extent, is dependent on the person.

If you find that after eating certain foods you especially start to break out, you don’t need to remove it completely, limiting the quantity in your diet can simply do the trick.

You’re not using exfoliators correctly 

Exfoliation is a crucial step to healthy glowing skin. Pic: Freepik

Not including an exfoliation step in your skincare regime can be a cause of acne. If you think that the more you scrub your skin, the smother it’ll be, that’s where you’re wrong. It’s only going to make your breakouts worse. Using products like rough physical scrubs, washcloths, face washes, or cleansing brushes, can cause real damage to your skin, whether you have breakouts or not. The idea of exfoliating is to repair your skin’s barrier to keep bacteria out, and not to cause trauma, which scrubbing the life out of it can do.

It’s super simple to combat this, you should wash and exfoliate your face with an effective, yet mild formula that contains a chemical exfoliant, and does not require the action of scrubbing. Examples include, glycolic acids and salicylic acids.

Your products could contain acne causing ingredients 

Always look out for products labelled ‘non-comedogenic’. Pic: iStock

If you’re frustrated that you don’t have the perfect complexion after spending time and effort taking care of your skin, your acne trigger could be due to certain ingredients in your products. For instance, coconut oil is notorious for clogging pores. Additionally, both sodium lauryl sulfate, (an oil-stripping substance) and fragrance, are common acne causing ingredients found in many products.

Everyone is constantly told to “read the labels” but it’s easier said than done if you’re not sure what you’re supposed to be looking out for. If you’re in any doubt, just search for products marked ‘non-comedogenic’, or you can shop products labelled ‘acne-prone skin’ as these are typically the same.

Your hair products could be clogging your pores

Pore-clogging ingredients can be found in hair products. Pic: Vecteezy

Those same pore-clogging ingredients can be found in your shampoos, conditioners, and hairstyling products. Similarly to how they cause breakouts on your face, these ingredients can leak into the pores on your body. This results in back acne, chest acne and zits across your hairline, known as scalp acne.

You should switch to a sulfate-free shampoo. When it comes to conditioning your hair, you should clip your hair up, and away from your body, whilst you let the formula sink in. When rinsing your hair, tilt your head down to the side to keep the potentially pore-clogging residue off your back, chest and face. Lastly, be sure to always wash your face and body after shampooing and conditioning.

Your toothpaste could include irritating ingredients 

Make sure to wash your face after cleaning your teeth. Pic: Pixabay

You may find yourself getting breakouts around your mouth. This could be related to your toothpaste. Toothpastes tend to include ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate and fluoride, which can cause irritation and lead to breakouts.

Unfortunately, there are not many ways to combat this. Two changes you can make are switching to a non-whitening gentle toothpaste, and making sure to wash your face after brushing your teeth to eliminate the residue.

The sweat remaining on your face from workouts

Always cleanse your face after getting sweaty. Pic: Vecteezy

Isn’t working out supposed to lead to radiant, glowing skin? Yes, it is, but if you’re not cleansing thoroughly afterwards, it allows the combination of makeup, dirt, grime, bacteria and excess sebum to find a home in your pores and lead to blackheads and breakouts.

Prior to working out, you should always wash your face to remove your makeup and current oils on your face. Once you’re done working out, make sure to wash your face to clear away any pore-clogging bacteria and oils.

You’re drying out your face too much

Keep the use of acne cream to at least every other day. Pic: Shutterstock

Everyone has overloaded spot treatment on an upcoming spot in the past. Did you know that over-treating your zits can be a bad thing? Overloading with over-the-counter spot treatments can end up drying out your skin, triggering it to produce excess oil, and turning it into a breakout. Also, the constant use of active ingredients can slightly burn the top layer of skin, making it appear red and raw.

This doesn’t mean you have to go into your bathroom cabinets and throw away your usual spot treatments, just don’t overdo it. Applying the treatment just two to three times a week is the most ideal.

You’re over cleansing

Cleansing too often can trigger breakouts. Pic: Vecteezy

If you’re obsessed with over washing your face, then you may trigger the problem you’re trying to avoid. Your skin is smart, self-regulating and produces enough sebum to stay hydrated and healthy. If you wash your face too much, it can become overly dry, which triggers an overproduction of oils. You may then mistake this for a problem and immediately cleanse again. It can become a bothersome cycle of becoming too dry, then too oily without ever reaching a perfect harmony. 

You should always be mindful of the amount that you cleanse your skin. If you’re cleansing more than twice a day, simply because you’re working out, the weather’s hot, or you’re just a little obsessive with the matter, then you should aim to switch to a gentle cleanser that won’t strip your skin of its essential oils.

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