8 Things That Can Make Your Acne Worse


8 Things That Can Make Your Acne Worse

Whether it’s a speckling of tiny blackheads across your nose, a giant blemish in the middle of your forehead, or painful cystic bumps, acne can be deeply frustrating. You may already know that sebum—the natural oil that lubricates and protects your skin—causes acne when it becomes trapped in your pores.


What you may not realise is that a number of skincare strategies and lifestyle factors can increase sebum production and make your acne worse. If you need novel tips on how to deal with acne, then you also need to know what to avoid.

Hormonal Changes and Health Problems
You can develop acne at any time, but hormonal shifts—especially those related to puberty, menstruation, and medications—are particularly likely to cause breakouts. If your breakouts are getting worse, don’t respond to store-bought treatments, or are accompanied by symptoms such as irregular menstruation or changes in your mood, talk to your doctor.

A number of health issues, notably polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), can cause breakouts. Even if your breakouts aren’t the result of a health issue, your doctor may be able to prescribe a more powerful treatment that rids you of acne once and for all.

Excessive Scrubbing of the Skin
It’s tempting to try to scrub away every fleck of makeup or glint of oil, but excessive scrubbing can actually damage your skin, triggering more breakouts. When you cleanse too frequently, your skin responds by producing more oil.

Additionally, if you use harsh products more often than recommended, you may irritate your skin, triggering allergic reactions that increase oil production and acne.

Picking or Touching Your Skin
It’s tempting to pick at pimples and blackheads, especially when you know you can easily squeeze out the pus. Yet the momentary satisfaction of popping a pimple typically gives way to further breakouts. Picking at acne irritates your skin, introducing more bacteria that slow healing.

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Even touching your skin can be a problem. Your hands are never perfectly clean, and they may be coated with chemical residues—such as those from cleaning products—that further irritate your skin. Resist the urge to touch that pimple, and wait instead for it to heal on its own.

Haircare Products
The right haircare regimen can produce silky hair, soft waves, and glossy shine. Unfortunately, haircare products often contain oils and other heavy ingredients that can irritate your skin. When you use conditioners and stylers, make sure they don’t get on your skin—or wash your face immediately afterwards. When showering, wash your hair first, then rinse off your face.

Tight-Fitting Helmets and Hats
Helmets, hats, scarves, and other headgear may protect your skull or look fashionable, but they can also cause breakouts. Particularly when you wear these accessories in very hot weather or they fit very tightly, they can trap sweat and oil on your skin, triggering breakouts.

Wash your face immediately after removing headgear. Wear hats and helmets only for as long as you absolutely must.

We mostly think of bacteria as the source of diseases and infections, but the body is home to millions—maybe even billions—of perfectly harmless, and even beneficial, organisms. Some bacteria can trigger or worsen breakouts, particularly when they’re embedded in your pores.

It’s not possible or desirable to rid your skin or body of bacteria, and antibacterial products are not safe to use on your face. But you should still try to reduce the number of foreign bacteria introduced to your skin. Abide by the following:

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Wash your hands frequently.
Wash facial brushes, washcloths, and other cleansing aids after every use.
Use your own towel at the gym.
Change your pillowcase frequently, particularly if you sweat a lot.

An Unhealthy Lifestyle
It’s a myth, at least for most people, that stress and greasy foods cause acne. But your skin is a reflection of your overall health, which means that an unhealthy lifestyle may reduce your skin’s ability to fend off breakouts. To improve the health of your skin along with your overall health:

Drink at least eight glasses of water each day.
Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Limit your consumption of pre-packaged, processed foods.
Exercise regularly to increase blood flow to your skin and speed the healing process.

Poor Skincare
Acne is a product of oil, not dirt, so your skin doesn’t have to be squeaky clean to break free from acne. However, if you cleanse your face infrequently, sleep in makeup, or allow sweat to settle into your pores, oiliness gets worse. So too will acne. Cleanse your skin with an oil-free, non-comedogenic, soap free cleanser such as Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel.

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