Monday, August 25, 2014

What's Causing Your Breakouts? 5 Surprising Culprits
I've always had a hard time finding the right products and routine to get my skin under control and free from breakouts. Because of this I spent time testing out different products, I took antibiotics and I tried several treatments such as chemical peels, microdermabrasions, laser therapy, and exfoliation.

I am happy to say that in high school I was able to get it under control and when my skin changed in college I also managed to get through that. Every now and then I still get a few bad breakouts, which leads me to go through my list of possible causes.

Sometimes it seems like you are doing everything right in your skincare routine, but you still manage to breakout. There are endless causes and everyone's skin is different but there are several causes of acne that are less obvious, but just as bad for your skin.

1. Not Washing Makeup Brushes 

Making a habit out of washing your makeup brushes is an essential part of your skincare routine. Each time you put makeup on your brush and let it sit, bacteria starts to grow. When you apply your makeup again with the same brush, you transfer that bacteria to your face.
There are several brush cleansers you can purchase, such as MAC's Brush Cleanser, but those can get costly. It is important to wash your brushes at least every few days, which means you'll be going through quite a bit of brush cleansing solution.
Instead of buying a brush cleanser, I like to use products from my very own kitchen! Not only are you sure to always have these ingredients, but I think it is actually a better cleanser than the pricy MAC solution.
To make the homemade cleanser, you will pour some palmolive dish soap on a paper plate with a little bit of olive oil, dip your brushes in the mixture and wash under cold water.
When you're drying your brushes, it is also important to dry them facing down so that the water doesn't seep into the brush and tamper with the glue that holds the bristles together.

See below for a great tutorial video for making this brush cleansing solution by Beaty Blogger, Michelle Phan

2. Your Cellphone

Have you ever noticed when you're done making a call your phone looks greasy? Every time you press your cheek to your phone oil starts to collect and build up, which can then lead to a nasty breakout. There is actually a medical term for this kind of breakout: Acne Mechanica. Eric Schweiger, a clinical dermatologist, said that these kind of breakouts happen "to violinists around the chin and football players with the chin strap--it's (caused by) not letting the pores breath, and the repetitive motion causes friction. Now we're seeing it with cellphones."
Not to mention, most people have touch screen phones now so when you are constantly touching your phone the bacteria from your hands also transfers to your phone and on to your face. 
A simple solution to avoiding this kind of breakout is to regularly wipe your phone down. I like to use my Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes for this. 
Another option is use a hands-free option like bluetooth or the speaker phone. 

3. Your Pillowcases

Who knew that while you were getting some shut eye, a new breakout was forming? Every night a layer of bacteria accumulates on your skin and onto your pillowcase and when that pillowcase goes unwashed, additional layers of bacteria grow and eventually cause you to breakout. The solution to this problem is simple: wash your pillowcases more frequently. 
There is no need to do this every day, but it is important to wash your pillowcases once a week and I tend to flip mine over half way through the week to use the clean side. 

4. Your Birth Control

While birth control's main function is to avoid pregnancy, it can actually be beneficial for several other uses including clearing up your skin. However, it is important to talk to your doctor about the right form of birth control for your body. For example, I was taking a form of birth control that had higher levels of progesterone and caused me to have several extremely uncomfortable cystic breakouts. While I struggled with acne when I was younger, I never dealt with cystic breakouts before so I knew that something was wrong. Once we figured out what the issue was, I quickly switched to a different form of birth control with more estrogen and my face started to clear up and go back to normal.

5. Beauty Products

Do you breakout along your hairline, jawline, eyebrows or forehead? Each day you sweat for a variety of reasons such as exercise, stress, being overheated or just rushing through your day, so anything you put in your hair will eventually migrate to your face. 
Spray products, such as hairspray, can also be harmful because some of it is sure to end up on your skin, so it is important to check the labels to make sure the ingredients won't be harmful. 

When you're applying your shampoo and conditioner you should also be careful not to get it on your face, as this can also cause breakouts. Conditioner, especially, is known to cause cystic type breakouts. 

The next time you have a breakout and can't figure out what's causing it, make sure you aren't guilty of one of these!

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