After 9 years in the skincare industry I have discovered many reasons my clients skin and my own breakout. The skin is complex and each situation is so personal, but here are 17 more common reasons your skin may be breaking out and what you can do about them.
#1 PROBLEM: CLOGGES PORES, SKIN TEXTURE, ACNE SCARS ETC.
SOLUTION: GET YOUR PORES PROFESSIONALLY CLEANED
You know how important facials are but especially when your skin is breakout prone it is so important to remove blackheads, whiteheads and clogged pores (hardened sebum, or oil) from the skin. Skin care is amazing and does about 80% of the work through daily use, but the combination of regular facials and the right home care products will give you the very best results.
#2 PROBLEM: HORMONES
SOLUTION: CONSIDER TAKING DIM (DIINDOLYMETHANE)
Unfortunately with breakouts, hormones rule. They're imbalanced, annoying and make treating breakouts difficult. DIM and probiotics have made a big difference for my clients skin! DIM is a supplement derived from cauliflower, kale and broccoli that is said to affect estrogen levels to improve hormonal acne. If you are on birth control this does not have any negative effect, but it's always a good idea to check with your doctor. My favorite DIM supplement is from Jane Iredale and you can find incredible before and after photos on their website. Internal and external treatment for acne makes the biggest change!
#3 PROBLEM: MEDICATION
SOLUTION: MAYBE SWITCH
Have your recently started or stopped taking birth control? I have many clients that have come off of birth control, and their skin goes crazy. Some birth control pills can also cause acne to worsen. I have had multiple clients even generic brands can cause this. Fertility treatment medications among a long list of other types of medications can often cause breakouts or even extreme dryness.
#4 PROBLEM: DAIRY
SOLUTION: Try eliminating dairy for 2 weeks and see if you see any improvement.
Out of any food, dairy has the most research showing how it effects breakouts. We all know that cows have different hormones than humans and that is one of the biggest parts in why dairy effects or skin. Whether it's organic or not, that doesn't change. Try going without the consumption of milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream etc for a few weeks and see if you see any skin changes. Goats cheese is a better option on occasion if you choose to reintroduce it, or there are many great dairy free options now. I have a whole IGTV on my dairy free favorites!
#5 PROBLEM: POOR DIET
SOLUTION: EAT CLEAN!
We all know we should eat better and avoid processed foods. This is true but when it comes to the skin wheat, dairy and sugar are inflammatory foods and can be the culprit of many skincare problems. Try reducing, or again like dairy removing these one at a time from your diet for a few weeks and see if you see any changes. If you don't want to you don't have to give them up, but knowing they may effect your skin could help you keep your skin clearer and limit them! Gut health is essential for great skin! Probiotics help to balance good and bad bacteria in the gut. I like to take 30-50 billion a day. Zinc has also been found to be helpful for breakouts by reducing the skins inflammatory response. These and other recommendations come from one of my favorite books, "Younger Skin Starts in the Gut" by Nigma Talib. You can find my favorite supplements here in my Amazon shop! If your breakouts come at a certain time of the month, consider keeping track of your breakouts in a journal. This may help you figure out what time of the month is an issue for you and what hormones may be off. You can read more about this in the book “Beyond The Pill” by Dr. Joleene Brighten.
#6 PROBLEM: HAIR CARE
SOLUTION: READ YOUR LABELS!
A not often thought about factor with breakouts is haircare. I have found that for many people the ingredient “panthenol” is an issue. This is often found in shampoos and conditioners, but can be in other products as well. Panthenol is a vitamin b-5 which is good for hair and skin, but for some people can cause breakouts. You may see these on your back and around your hairline, but depending on how you sleep this ingredient could contribute to breakouts all over. If this ingredient is an issue for you and you switch hair products, you should often see a change even within a week. I always recommend in the shower cleansing your face as the last step. Shampoo and condition first!
#7 PROBLEM: OVERDRYING THE SKIN WITH HARSH PRODUCTS
SOLUTION: USE RESULTS ORIENTED, BALANCING PRODUCTS
Today in skincare there seems to be a “more is more” mindset. More tingle, more exfoliation, more products. This is not always a good thing! Over-drying/over-doing the skin will only exacerbate acne in many cases. Skin cells need water and moisture for proper skin health and function. Don't try to tackle your acne on your own! Please see a professional as there are so many factors to proper skincare for YOU. Common mistakes I see are not cleansing twice a day, not using the right products and not being consistent!
#8 PROBLEM: STRESS
SOLUTION: LEARN TO DE-STRESS
I know this one is easier said than done but there is lots of research linking stress and acne. Stress not only affects acne flare-ups but in general, it worsens the overall skin condition. It induces the adrenal glands into overproduction of cortisol, a steroid, which in turn makes sebaceous glands produce more oil resulting in oiler skin. Thus the reason why in stressful periods, people experiencing an increase in acne get more inflamed, puss-filled papules than simple whiteheads or blackheads. Find habits you can implement throughout the day. Deep breaths, exercise, baths, get off of your phone, read an hour before bed. Spearmint tea is helpful for breakouts, try a cup of evening tea!
#9 LACK OF SLEEP
SOLUTION: BALANCE YOUR SLEEP
Good sleep also helps manage stress! Americans are known to be very sleep deprived and our bodies need that time for renewal. I’ve also heard that a condition called adrenal fatigue may affect acne so look that up to get more information and consult with your doctor to see if they have knowledge in this area. But without a doubt, sleep and proper rest can work miracles for the bodies healing processes.
#10 PROBLEM NOT EXFOLIATING
SOLUTION: LEARN TO EXFOLIATE!
Gently removing dead skin cells helps to unclog pores, increase product penetration, improve skin texture, lighten acne “scars”, improve breakouts, increase cell turnover and more! I love to use AHA’s or BHA’s in my evening routine, do a weekly enzyme peel and a scrub on occasion (probably once or twice a month). An enzyme peel digests dead skin cells and gives the skin a glow, like a mini facial! My favorite products are 5% Glycolic Solution, Cranberry Peel and Cranberry Scrub which can all be found in my online store!
#11 PROBLEM: NOT CHANGING YOUR PILLOWCASE
# SOLUTION: CHANGE IT 3 TIMES A WEEK
During the night our skin excretes oil, toxins and waste. All of this can be left on our pillowcases and bacteria can breed leading to breakouts if you’re sleeping in it every night. Change your pillowcase every other night! I love my silk pillowcase which is amazing for your skin and hair!
#12 PROBLEM: DIRTY MAKEUP BRUSHES
SOLUTION: KEEP THEM CLEAN
This is a big one! Makeup brushes really need to be washed every week, or even every day or two with liquid products. Ideally every use. If not, they are potentially harboring bacteria and also introducing more to the skin. I like using Dr. Bronners baby hemp unscented castile soap to wash my brushes. Also make sure you're keeping your brushes covered or in a plastic container when not in use to protect from dust and debris.
If you read this far, thank you for reading and I hope you found these tips helpful!
Post updated 7/17/2020