Why Am I Breaking Out? 15 Super-Weird Things That Cause Your Acne

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what causes acne
Self

Are you cleaning your makeup brushes properly?

Breakouts happen. Whether you are prone to acne or not, pimples tend to pop up at the most inopportune times and sometimes for no apparent reason. It often leaves you asking, "Why am I breaking out?" Getting your period? You know to expect a zit on your chin or on the middle of your forehead. Sigh.

And while there are plenty of answers for what causes acne that you probably know about, there are also plenty of things that cause acne that you're not even thinking about. We're here to give you the scoop on super-weird things that could be causing your acne. You can thank us later.

1. Using your cell phone

Believe it or not, using your cell phone can cause you to break out! The surface of your cell phone can become oily as you hold it up to your face, and let's face it: Who is actually cleaning their cell phone on a regular basis (or at all)?

"Pressing the phone against the side of your face makes it oily, causing the area to break out," Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, Caleb Backe, says. Try using headphones or putting your phone on speaker to avoid holding it up to the side of your face.


RELATED: How To Get Clear Skin Fast: 15 Tips For A Smooth, Acne-Free Complexion


2. Your foundation

Makeup can cause breakouts, that much we know. But did you know that the foundation that you are using could be a problem?

"Heavy foundations clog your pores. If you don’t like going bare, try to find a light foundation that does not clog pores and make sure to remove it well at night to give your skin some time to breathe," Backe explains.

3. Your hair

The hair on your head is a trap for oils and other airborne things that can cause breakouts. Something as simple as your hair blowing in your face can cause unwanted oils on your skin and bam! A zit can sprout.

The best thing to do is wear your hair in a ponytail or use a headband to keep it off your face. This is especially key when you're working out.

4. Hair products

Some hair products can be irritating to the skin, and all it takes is a few strands blown from the wind onto your cheek for a breakout to find its footing. Try using lightweight products and limit mousse and hair spray use to make sure that your hair products aren't causing you to break out.

"Hair product can cause acne on your hairline," says Dr. Michael Swann of Swann Dermatology.

5. Your boyfriend's beard

C'mon! That's exactly what we thought when we read this one, but it's true!

"Trauma can also cause inflammation and acne," explains Dr. Swann. Making out with a guy who has a five o'clock shadow might be sexy, but his stubble can irritate your face. Who knew?

6. Perfume

Yes, you read that right. The perfume that you are spritzing all over your body can actually be causing you to break out. So, what can you do? Try spraying your perfume directly on your wrists and then gently tap your décolletage and neck, avoiding your face. 

7. Consuming too much dairy

Milk might do a body good, but it might not be the best thing for your skin.

"Due to the amount of hormones they contain, consuming dairy products can unbalance oil production and lead to greasy skin, which is especially problematic for those who are acne-prone," explains RealSelf Contributor, Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

8. Sunscreen

It's super-important to be wearing sunscreen if you're going to be outdoors, but the sunscreen you're using might actually be what causes acne on your face.

"Sunscreen is a must for everyone regardless of skin type. However, certain sunscreens can leave a greasy residue on the surface of the skin which can lead to blemishes and skin irritations," Dr. Schlessinger advises. He suggests UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 Sunscreen by EltaMD, as it is oil-free and non-comedogenic.


RELATED: How Your Face Changes After 30 Days Of Drinking Water


9. Makeup brushes

If you aren't cleaning your makeup brushes, you could be causing your skin to break out. The brushes that you use on your face collect dirt and oil, so if they aren't regularly cleaned, you're simply transferring that dirt and oil right back onto your face. Eww.

10. New makeup products

It's possible to have a negative skin reaction to new makeup products. While we all love to go to Sephora to play with everything, some makeup products might not agree with your skin. If you've noticed a particularly odd breakout, ask yourself if you've tried any new products lately — you might have your culprit.

11. Lack of sleep

Did you know that not getting enough sleep could be causing your acne?

"Getting enough sleep helps your body rebalance hormones in the middle of the night. Hormones are often a leading factor in acne breakouts for both teens and adults," explains Dr. Hardik Soni, the founder of Calysta Labs.

12. Picking at or itching existing acne

"Picking at your pimples can cause inflammation and your skin may be at risk for developing an infection that can lead to permanent scarring. Try not to pick at your pimples," says board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Joseph Cruise.

13. Chlorine in your shower

"Chlorine is a chemical additive used to treat our tap water and make it safe for drinking. If you’ve ever accidentally inhaled bleach or lost your fingertips because you used it to scrub, you know that it’s a very toxic and abrasive chemical substance that is extremely irritating to human skin and lungs. Yet most people shower in it every day," Dr. Soni warns.

14. Your diet

"A sudden change in diet including an increase in dairy product and high glycemic foods can cause acne. Eat healthy fats in your diet for glowing skin such as walnuts, avocados, and salmon," Dr. Cruise explains.

15. Stress

And last, but certainly not least, stress can cause acne. If you notice that you are particularly stressed out for any reason, try to take some time to yourself to meditate or just have a few minutes of downtime. A face mask might be just the thing you need.

"Everyone’s acne is different, and factors from diet to genetics can play a role," Dr. Schlessinger concludes. Listen to your body and pay attention to your surroundings. If you think you're breaking out for some other unknown reason, you should consult your doctor about your concerns.


RELATED: 16 Things You Do Every. Single. Day. That TORTURE Your Skin


Effie Orfanides has had her finger on the pulse of the celebrity world since 2009. She's also a huge fan of Kylie Jenner lip kits.

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