A cellphone? Your tweezers? Breakouts have many surprising causes. Photo credit: bikeriderlondon / Shutterstock
Think your makeup brushes may be causing acne? There’s a good chance you’re right.
There are items throughout your house that could be causing those dreaded breakouts. The key is knowing the triggers and how to fix the problem.
Here’s a rundown …
1. Makeup Brushes
You know which brush is for powder and which is for contouring. But did you know all brushes should be cleaned before or after every use? Even the finest natural bristles are magnets for dead skin cells, oil, dirt and bacteria, which wreak havoc with your complexion. To degunk, suds up brushes with warm tap water and the same gentle cleanser you use for your face, rinse and then dry flat on a paper towel. Voila! Cleaner tools, clearer skin.
2. Makeup Sponges
Beauty sponges don’t just blend your foundation into a fresh, dewy finish. They’re happy havens for skin-ruining oil and bacteria. So if you’re not washing your reusable sponge every night – do so STAT! An extra word of caution: Storing damp sponges in plastic bags can breed mold. Go dye-free and non-latex to avoid allergic reactions.
Yes, tweezers! Plucking facial hairs can bring tears to your eyes in more ways than one. To keep the hair follicle from becoming traumatized, follow these two rules: Store your pluckers in a sanitary place (i.e. not the bottom of an old makeup bag) and be sure to sterilize them before use with germ-killing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
4. Lip Balms
There’s nothing worse than chapped lips. Or is there? Overuse of lip balm, especially scented and flavored types, is one of the main causes of acne outbreaks around the mouth. This happens when wax from lip balm clogs pores and fragrance stimulates sebum production resulting in the perfect storm for pimple production. To avoid those tiny breakouts around the lips, switch to a fragrance-free, non-comedogenic balm that will keep lips kissable – and blemish-free.
5. Heavy Conditioners
Many hair products contain petroleum, silicone, jojoba oil, or shea butter, which are all oil-based products that can clog pores and trap bacteria. Another ingredient called panthenol, which helps strengthen hair, is a common trigger for blemishes along the hairline and back. Look for products without these aggravating ingredients – and condition your hair before washing your face and body in the shower – to keep your skin as healthy as your mane.
It’s not the kind of pillow talk most of us prefer, but if you find you’re only breaking out on one side of your face (and you’re a side sleeper), your pillow may be trying to tell you something. First, try lightening up on the laundry detergent, which may be irritating your skin. And change pillowcases often. When they aren’t laundered regularly, a build-up of dirt and oil gets recycled to your skin on a nightly basis.
It’s known as “tech-ne,” or acne brought on by a tech device. And unfortunately it’s a real issue – thanks to the pressure and contact of your cell phone against your face combined with a surface swirling in bacteria. The good news is tech-ne is an easy fix. Clean your phone often with antibacterial wipes and hold it away from the side of your face – or just rock some cool headphones.
8. Your Hands!
No, technically, touching your face doesn’t cause acne. But if you’re skin is pimple prone, you want to keep those hands as clean as possible. The flow of bacteria, viruses and allergens from your fingertips onto the face will often prompt a breakout. While you try to curb the touching habit (we know it’s tough!), wash your hands often and don’t apply foundation with your fingers. Use a makeup brush – freshly cleansed – instead.