5 SURPRISING ACNE TRIGGERS AND HOW TO AVOID THEM

5 SURPRISING ACNE TRIGGERS AND HOW TO AVOID THEM

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You thought left breakouts behind you with your teenage years? News flash: You can still experience acne even as an adult. And your hormones aren’t the only thing to blame for blemishes.

Consider these surprising reasons you may be developing pimples—and how to keep your skin clear and healthy.

1. Your Cell Phone

CONNECTION:

“Bacteria, oil, and sweat can build up on your phone and then be transferred back onto skin, triggering acne around your cheeks, chin, and mouth,” says Sejal Shah, M.D., founder of SmarterSkin Dermatology in New York. The pressure of the phone can also trap oil, bacteria, and other debris against your skin (what derms call “acne mechanica”), leading to blocked pores and blemishes.

CLEAR-SKIN SOLUTION:

To dial down breakouts, clean your phone daily (a soft, damp cloth should do the job) and consider a headset or using your phone on speaker.

2. A Lack of Natural Oils

CONNECTION:

In addition to keeping cells from piling up and clogging pores, phytosphingosine (PS), a type of fat that occurs naturally in the skin, kills acne-causing bacteria and reduces in ammation. People who are acne-prone are often genetically predisposed to have too little of this essential fatty acid, plus levels also decrease as we age, explains Audrey Kunin, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of DermaDoctor.

CLEAR-SKIN SOLUTION:

Use products that contain PS (look for phytosphingosine or sphingosine on the ingredient label) to boost your body’s own supply. When researchers used PS on pimple-prone volunteers in one study, they reported an 89% reduction in pimples after 60 days and a 90% inhibition of an enzyme that produces in ammation. Fear not if you already have excess sebum: Replenishing PS will not make skin oilier.

3. Your Pillowcase

CONNECTION:

The oil, bacteria, and dead cells that accumulate on linens can trigger acne, since they can be transferred back to your skin while you sleep, leading to clogged pores, explains Shah. If you tend to sleep facedown, the pressure from your pillowcase can also trigger trouble.

CLEAR-SKIN SOLUTION:

Change pillowcases regularly (every two or three days) and be sure they’re made of natural fabrics, which are more breathable and transfer less oil and debris. Avoid using fabric softener and dryer sheets on your pillowcase, since they leave behind a pore-clogging waxy residue. And any bedtime routine should include gently washing your face before hitting the sheets.

4. Your Diet

CONNECTION:

One more reason to keep your diet clean: High-glycemic foods (like re ned carbs) set off an insulin spike, which can stimulate a hormonal cascade that causes in ammation, oil secretion, clogged pores, and acne  ares, explains Shah. Dairy can also trigger outbreaks, possibly due to milk proteins like whey and casein, which release hormones that can cause acne. But not all dairy products have this effect: Yogurt, for instance, doesn’t seem to upset skin. “It may be because of the probiotics or lower levels of hormones due to the fermentation process,” says Shah.

CLEAR-SKIN SOLUTION:

Diet is not a trigger for everyone, but if you consistently notice a flare after consuming certain foods, try eliminating them from your diet.

5. Hair Products

CONNECTION:

Many thick hair products contain ingredients like petroleum, oils, and shea butter that can clog pores or have potentially irritating chemicals that can trigger breakouts.

CLEAR-SKIN SOLUTION:

Avoid oil-based products like pomades and oils, especially around the hairline or on hair that grazes your face. Wash and condition your hair before washing your face to remove any residue. Style your hair before washing your face. Shield your face when using styling sprays, and avoid touching your hair and then your skin so that you don’t transfer any product. Look for products labeled “noncomedogenic.”

BY KARYN REPINSKI