If you’ve ever struggled with acne, you understand that it can be a difficult battle. You diligently wash your face to no avail; the breakouts won’t stop! What many people don’t realize, however, is that there are several ways that blemishes can sneak up on you no matter how religiously you wash your face. Below are four sneaky causes of acne and what you can do about them.
1. Avoiding moisturizers
One sneaky cause of acne is avoiding moisturizers. People with acne often think that they should not use moisturizers because doing so will further clog the pores and contribute to more breakouts. Quite the opposite is true! Moisturizing prevents your skin from becoming too dry. This is important because dehydrated cells can build up and retain oil, which can lead to even more acne. Use a moisturizer that is light, oil-free, and noncomedogenic to avoid this sneaky cause of acne.
2. Not protecting your skin from the sun
Neglecting to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays is not only going to give you wrinkles and put you at risk for skin cancer, it is also a sneaky cause of acne. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can increase inflammation and worsen breakouts. UV rays can also cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark discoloration). Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every day. Many patients convey they are worried that sunscreen will cause them to break out. While this may be true for certain sunscreens, you can still have superior protection against the sun by knowing which ingredients to look for. Look for a sunscreen that is in a lotion form. It should be light, oil-free, noncomedogenic, and provide broad spectrum protection.
3. Over-scrubbing your face
One very sneaky cause of acne is over-scrubbing your face. You may think that washing and exfoliating your face will rid your skin of the dirt and oil that cause acne, which is true, but there also can be too much of a good thing. Excess exfoliation causes inflammation and swelling of clogged pores. It’s best to limit exfoliation to no more than twice per week.
4. Makeup brushes
Your makeup brushes and sponges collect oil, dust, dead skin cells, and residual makeup after every application. Unless you regularly and properly clean these tools, all of these substances can be deposited back onto your face, leading to clogged pores and breakouts. After every use, give your brushes a quick clean with a makeup remover wipe. Then, once a week soak your tools in a mixture of warm water and a gentle shampoo, rinse, and allow them to air dry.