Just when you thought your crazy hormonal pimple popping days were over, suddenly acne has to reappear in your life and really eff things up! We asked the experts to get to the root of the problem. Here’s what they came up with.
1. Your bra straps
Ever heard of acne mechanica? Well, it’s a type of acne triggered by excess heat, pressure, friction or the rubbing of skin, says cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson of Beautystat.com. “It can occur anywhere on your body, and anything that traps heat for a long period of time (ahem, like your bra straps, or even a bike helmet), rubs or puts pressure on your skin can set it off.” To treat acne mechanica, Robinson suggests switching to more breathable fabrics. “There are also over-the-counter acne treatments that can help these breakouts,” he notes.
2. Your study habits
College students, this one goes out to you! According to board-certified dermatologist and author of “Skin Rules,” Debra Jaliman, studying with your hand resting on your face can cause dirty little breakouts. Eek, just think about all that gross bacteria on your hand you’re transferring to your face.
3. Your beauty products
Breaking out? You might want to check your beauty products for this ingredient. “Wheat germ oil sounds like it would be great to use on your skin, but only if you aren’t prone to acne, it’s highly comedogenic, as is carrageenan, a seaweed that’s often used to thicken skin care products,” warns Bethany Hilt, creator of Vertere Skin Care. Good to know.
4. Your shower routine
Yep, for real! “Many women wash their hair, put on conditioner and let it soak in while they do everything else,” points out Melissa Angert, founder of All Things Chic. “If you wash your face and then rinse it out, you’re leaving the shower with conditioner clogging your pores! Make sure that washing your face is the last thing you do in the shower,” she says. This especially applies to body acne.
5. Your love of carbs and dairy
Sure, your milkshake might bring all the boys to the yard, but turns out it could be causing your pimples, too. “Foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugars or contain dairy have been demonstrated to positively correlate with acne in many clinical studies,” says clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University, Julia Tzu, MD. “Of course, this is not a message for young people to stay away from drinking milk or eating meat,” she clarifies, “which can be beneficial to their health in many other ways. Rather, it is to encourage the incorporation of healthy eating and living in the quest for beautiful and clear skin.”
6. Your tendency to sleep naked
You get a little hot at night, so what? Well, the thing is, your bed sheets could actually be irritating your naked skin, explains Jenefer Palmer, founder of all-natural, marine-based skincare line OSEA Malibu. “Consider wearing pajamas and washing your sheets regularly with an organic, non-fragrance, hypoallergenic kind of laundry soap.”
7. Your chocolate addiction
Chocolate may be the sweet cure to a bad day, but unfortunately, it comes with heavy baggage, divulges Dr. Arleen Lamba, medical director of Blush Med Institute. “Studies show that there is a link between the amount of chocolate consumed and the number of breakouts. While chocolate hasn’t been shown to produce pimples, it does enrage existing acne.” Don’t fret however. “You can still reach for your dark chocolate, in moderation of course, since it does have added health benefits such as decreased blood pressure.”
8. Your sweat
If you just hit the gym, always remember to wash your face afterwards, advises Dimitri James, CEO of Skinn Cosmetics. Otherwise, the sebum that flowed from your pores while you were perspiring and hot cools off as you do and solidifies in your pores, clogging them all up.”
9. Your drinking habit
Yikes! Not only can overconsumption of alcohol result in a bad hangover but also a bad breakout, informs Dr. Lamba. “Remember: when you consume alcohol, your heat index rises, and you actually do get warmer and sweat more. This increased sweating leads to clogged pores and acne breakouts.” Hey, we guess you don’t have to go to the gym to break a sweat or break out!