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13 Surprising Causes of Acne

By Corinne Shoemaker July 12, 2021 0 comments

Acne is an unfortunate problem for millions of Americans, and with so many potential causes (especially those that few know about), it can be  difficult to find a solution. That’s why we’ve come up with a list of thirteen common, yet little-known, acne triggers that could be standing in the way of you and flawless skin. Read on to learn what they are and how you can take action:

  1. Coffee

Caffeine can really mess up the pH balance of your body by increasing acidity. This will result in more breakouts, especially around the mouth. If you are one of the millions of Americans who basically live off of coffee, this may sound like a bummer, but it’s something to consider if you want clear skin. Try switching out your coffee for more water or tea, which could also greatly improve your health!

  1. Sugar

Here’s another reason to ditch all those Starbucks lattes: putting too much sugar into your body will raise its glycemic index which results in the production of excess oils, the weakening of your collagen and elastin (vital proteins), and an increase of harmful bacteria. Cut back on these ingredients and focus instead on veggies, proteins, and complex carbohydrates. Also, remember that eating a healthy and balanced diet is important for so many more reasons than acne. It will help you in all areas of your life – mind, body, and soul. You will look healthier and feel so much better!

  1. A Lack of Vitamin D

You need a sufficient amount of vitamin D to keep your immune system functioning properly. A weak immune system makes it easier for harmful bacteria to find its way into your body and cause acne. Quit being such a hermit – set aside your remote every once in a while and step outside. Soak up some of the vitamin D that the sun so generously offers. You may also consider adding a vitamin D supplement into your diet.

  1. Sunscreen

It’s super important to protect against UV damage – especially during the summer – but some sunscreens contain harsh ingredients that can lead to acne. If more zits seem to be cropping up during the warmer months, this could be the culprit. Try a product that is formulated for sensitive skin, like Bioelements’ RayDefense SPF 30.

  1. Your Phone

We all religiously keep our phones at our sides – even when we probably shouldn’t (such as when we’re, ahem, taking care of our business). This means that our phones are often crawling with germs and bacteria that transfer to our faces the second we begin a conversation. How can we protect ourselves? Easy – just clean your phone! Purchase some sanitizing wipes and disinfect that sucker as often as you can remember. And maybe try to keep it out of the bathroom…

  1. Water

Washing may not do much to prevent acne with the high concentration of minerals in our water. It’s sad, but it’s true: the minerals prevent our soap from creating a proper lather, causing it to build up on our skin. This both clogs our pores and leads to a number of skin problems such as itchiness, dryness, and acne. Luckily, this can be helped. Try installing a shower filter and look for products that have chelators (they eliminate metals on the skin).

  1. Toothpaste

Do you use toothpaste as a quick-fix for your zits? Be careful! Certain ingredients in toothpaste (like fluoride and sodium lauryl sulfate) can actually trigger skin irritation and lead to breakouts. Monitor your skin before and after using this product to see if creates a problem.

  1. Ditching Sleep

With Netflix and Facebook, it’s really easy to let time slip by when we should be resting – but ladies, we need our beauty rest. Losing sleep can greatly impact your health, such as by causing your stress levels to escalate and weakening your immune system (two very big issues if you suffer from acne). Shut off your phone – don’t even set it near you – and hide the remote to your TV. The glow from either of these devices will give your brain the impression of sunlight, which will keep you awake. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, kick back with a book (the old-fashioned kind that’s made of paper) to help gently ease you into a tired state.  

  1. Thick Foundation

While makeup in and of itself can’t really cause acne, it can clog your pores which encourages the buildup of dirt and sweat. If your foundation is too thick, it will be harder to remove and likely cause a few blemishes to appear. To avoid this, simply use a lighter foundation or give your face a deeper wash using the double-cleansing method (“pre-wash” with an oil-based cleanser and then follow it up with your regular cleanser).

  1. You Don’t Stick to Products

Exposing your skin to too many different active ingredients can really do a number on your pH levels. Every time you try a new product, stay with it for a while. Don’t just give up after three days because you aren’t seeing the results you want. You have to give your skin some time to adjust and then decide if something isn’t working, otherwise you risk exacerbating the problem.

  1. You’re Drying Your Skin Out

Having oily skin doesn’t mean you should try to dry it out. Doing this will only destroy your protective barrier, allowing  a greater buildup of dirt and bacteria in your skin. Instead, use products created specifically for your skin type, like Clinical Care Skin Solutions’ CleansZit.

  1. Skipping Out on Toner

Toners are more important for your skin than you might think. In addition to providing a deeper clean, they can help balance out your face’s pH which should be more alkaline than acidic. Add it to your routine and get ready for a healthier complexion!

  1. Your Cleansing Brush

While facial cleansing brushes are effective exfoliators, they can be harsh on acne-prone skin. If any bacteria winds up on the bristles, it will spread to other areas of your face and cause more zits (especially if your brush is strong enough to create micro-tears). Take care to frequently wash your brush head(s) and replace them every few months.

Have you heard of any weird acne triggers? Leave a comment – we would love to hear from you!


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