13 Things That May Be Causing Your Acne & 10 Ways to Get Clearer Skin

13 Things That May Be Causing Your Acne

1. Over-drying
Over drying your skin by using harsh or alcohol-based cleansers can cause more harm than good. Over washing can also lead to dry skin. Drying out your skin will lead to an increase in oil production making the situation worse.

2. Certain Makeup Ingredients
We all know several makeup ingredients can clog pores and mess up your skin. Here are a list of the worst of the worst:

- Mineral Oil: It forms a film, trapping in all the bad stuff.
- Isopropyl Myristate: Makes your skin feel less greasy but can also clog pores.
- Lanolin: An oil that is good for dry skin but not acne-prone skin.
- Petroleum: Another oil.
- Artificial colors & fragrances: Can irritate skin. Artificial colors are often in lipsticks and blushes which can create breakouts in the areas where they are used.
3. Diet
The myth that food does not cause breakouts can often not be a myth at all. Especially given a lot of American's dietary habits, having an overall bad diet will affect your skin negatively. Sugars and fried foods are some of the biggest culprits.

I recently bought a book called The Clear Skin Diet that I do intend to actually read one of these days but it received pretty high acclaim and I read some good reviews on it. Might be worth checking out.

4. Pressing Things Against Your Face
Sounds a little odd but we touch our faces a lot; both with our hands and other objects (including cell phones). Stop doing it! Both the bacteria on the objects AND the actual pressure can cause acne breakouts.

5. Stress
Stress can cause the release of certain hormones that will cause acne. Reducing stress levels isn't always easy but taking a little time out for yourself each day to meditate or even just sit quietly can help immensely. There are also breathing techniques that you can try during that time that can both reduce stress and help you clear your mind and be more -zen-!

6. Hormones
If your breakouts are happening around your jawline or neck area or during your period, it may be due to hormones. Getting on birth control can help even out your skin if this is your problem. Your doctor can prescribe birth control and also tell you if you may have a polycystic ovary since that can increase hormone levels that lead to breakouts.

7. Your Hair Products
Unless you can safely say that your hair never touches your face, you can't guarantee that your hair products aren't getting transfered to your skin (especially if you sleep with your hair down). Products with oils, silicone and plasticizers can clog your pores and cause acne.

8. Dirty Makeup Applicators
How often do you clean your makeup sponges, blenders and brushes? As often as you should? If you don't, these can be teaming with bacteria. It is suggested that cleaning brushes at least once a week is good. More is better. Daily is probably best.

9. Your Pillowcase or Towel
There are a few problems going on here. One being that dead skin and bacteria cover a dirty pillow case and a dirty towel will ruin your fresh out of the shower skin. Pillow cases should be changed at least once a week and a fresh towel is always best when you get out of the shower or wash your face.

Aside from dirty linens, your laundry detergent--the answer to the dirty linens--may be causing problems. If the ingredients include tallow, or, animal fat used to make your clothes soft, it could have a negative impact on your skin. Overly fragranced detergents can also be irritating to skin.

10. Your Clothes May Be Causing Body Acne
If you wear synthetic clothing and you experience non-facial breakouts, this could be the reason why. Fabrics like polyester trap sweat, dirt and dead skin right up against your body. To avoid this, wear natural clothing that is more breathable.

11. Your Perfume
Again, fragrances can be bad for your skin. If you're letting your perfume get on your face or using highly fragranced bath products, this can be causing problems.

12. Flaking On Your Skin Care Routine
Skipping a step in your routine or skipping a night of skin care altogether can undo all the good you've done for your skin prior to getting lazy. (This is so true, I know, I'm experiencing this right now. If you're bad to your skin, it will kick your ass!) Get a routine going and STICK TO IT. No excuses.

Doctors recommend using a gentle cleanser first--nothing that is going to dry out your face and make your skin feel taut. Then you can follow up with a toner and a spot treatment. If you just cannot make yourself do this every single day and night, invest in some purifying wipes (offered by a number of different skin care brands like Josie MaranOle Henriksen and Korres).

13. Tanning
If you ignore all the risks of tanning, the short term effects are clearing for your skin. However. This is short-lived because not only can tanning cause over-drying but it also causes increased cell production which equals more dead cells.

Now that we've covered all that... Now here are ten tips to fight acne.

10 Ways to Kick Bad Skin

1. Change Your Pillowcase
We talked about it above and it really is important and maybe not done often enough. Knowing how oily your skin and hair are and how often you wash your hair will help determine how often you should change it. Every 1-3 days is suggested depending on your needs.

2. Sleep with Your Hair Pulled Back
Depending on how long your hair is, you have different options obviously but get it off your face! If you have long hair, while it may not be great to wear your hair pulled back, piling it atop your head and securing it loosely with an elastic can get it off your face.

3. Hands Off Your Face!
We touch our faces a lot even if we aren't aware of it. I try to catch myself doing it and immediately stop. Eventually, you'll get better at not touching your hands to your face which will reduce the amount of bacteria reaching your face by A LOT. Our hands are dirty places!

Also, washing your hands regularly can help when you can't help keeping your hands off.

4. Wash Your Face Once a Day
Washing your face too much will cause over-dryness. It is recommended to use a mild cleanser after makeup removal at night (and never never never go to bed with your makeup on!) and splash your face with water in the morning. (Personally, though, I like to wash my face twice a day because it makes me feel a lot cleaner than merely splashing my face in the morning. Just don't wash your face more than twice a day, it won't help.)

5. Moisturize with a Non-Comedogenic Moisturizer
It doesn't matter if you have oily skin or not, you still need to moisturize. Moisturizing will keep your skin from thirsting for moisture and thus producing extra oil. It can also have great long term effects like wrinkle prevention. However, if you get the wrong moisturizer, you can clog your pores so make sure it is non-comedogenic.

6. Drop the Caffeine
If you're acne prone and caffeine prone, it may be causing major flare-ups. I personally cannot cut back on my coffee intake but if you can or you can switch to tea, it will be beneficial for your skin.

7. Get Enough Sleep!
Getting enough rest is imperative for your whole body, including your skin so get your 6-8 a night!

8. No Smoking!
Smoking cuts off oxygen flow to the skin and can cause long-term serious damage. I won't harp any more than that, I'm not a smoker-hater but it definitely doesn't help your skin (or much else, I suppose).

9. Cut Back on the Fast Food
... And other foods that are processed or sugary. These foods can cause breakouts as well as lead to other known problems. So if you can, opt for the salad. Even if you only do it once in a while, it's better than nothing!

10. Relax and Destress
We talked about it earlier and here it is again--don't let life get you totally wound up in knots. Calm down, take a breath and it might help your breakouts.



  1. WOW! that's a great and helpful post :) thanks for sharing ^ ^

  2. @Sara.H You're welcome! Glad it was helpful!