I have acne-prone skin. What this means for me, is that I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to find out what is causing my breakouts. The smallest things can make my skin get those frustrating bumps that lead to uneven tone, inflammation and discomfort. As an esthetician, I’ve helped many clients discover the root of their breakouts as well.
It can be incredibly frustrating if you’re dealing with regular breakouts. Plus, attempting strong active acne ingredients can cause other irritations such as redness, dryness and sensitivity. I truly believe the only way to completely find peace with your skin is to discover what is causing your breakouts.
This can be a difficult endeavor, but here are some starting points to see if you can assess the issue at home.
STEP 1: Touch causes breakouts
what things touch your face?
Spend a whole day noticing everything that touches your skin. Your hands, phone, sunglasses, washcloths, towels, pillowcase, etc. Make sure that all of these things are cleaned regularly so that the oil and debris doesn’t clog your pores.
what products touch your face?
Sometimes we only think of our skincare products as a problem, and forget the everyday products we apply. Consider your chapstick, haircare products, sunscreen, perfume, etc. No matter how natural, a variety of skincare ingredients can cause breakouts depending on your skin’s sensitivities.
STEP 2- Internal factors can lead to breakouts
I believe that water is essential to the performance of our skin cells. Your body needs water to function at it’s highest level and protect your skin from breakouts. I always say that the best gauge is half your body weight in ounces daily. Also, drinking a good amount of water can detox your body and make sure you aren’t building up toxins.
Tips to get your drinking more water include the following getting a stainless steel bottle to keep it cold while you’re out (my favorite is hydroflask), adding yummy fruits/ veggies/ herbs to encourage you to drink it (one of my favorite recipes) and setting timers on your phone to remind you to drink throughout the day.
Although I could (and probably will) write several posts about how nutrition affects your skin, the following seems to be popular culprits for causing breakouts. There is no real diet that I advocate for because my way is that everyone’s body is unique. from your organs to your hair, what works for you, may not for someone else. The only way to truly customize your diet it to know as much about yourself as possible. Always remember that moderation is key.
Try to avoid the following foods in excess: sugar, dairy, fried foods and processed foods. The main reason to avoids these sources are that they can cause inflammation in the body which can lead to breakouts.
Another aspect of diet you can evaluate is recent change. Has there been a dramatic change in your diet of late that could be adversely affecting your skin?
While some lifestyle factors that shift our hormones cannot be changed, such as pregnancy and breastfeeding, there are others within our control. It’s important to take a hard look at stress and birth control which can cause hormonal disruptions leading to breakouts.
STEP 3- Your routine can lead to breakouts
stripping your skin’s barrier
Avoid abrasive ingredients that strip skin’s natural helpful oils such as sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), retinol or alcohol. Extremely caustic skincare products can leave your skin unprotected when aggravating factors arrive- resulting in breakouts.
It is important to remember that throwing off your pH too dramatically can result in breakouts as well. Commonly used natural ingredients undiluted can especially affect your pH like Apple cider vinegar or witch hazel. Always make sure you’re diluting these ingredients prior to topical use.
In a similar manner, aggressive scrubbing or exfoliating too often can breakdown your skin’s barrier. Pull back to once a week gently to assess if you are over exfoliating.
heavy makeup/ sunscreen
If you are someone who regularly wear makeup or heavy sunscreen be aware that it can clog pores. Try switching out certain products, opting for eyelash extensions over heavy eye makeup or using a lighter zinc oxide sunscreen (like Badger Rose Zinc Oxide).
Have you recently added a new skincare product to your regime? If you have introduced multiple products, pull back and add them back in one at a time to see which one your skin disagrees with or adjust usage amounts/ frequency.
If your breakouts persist and you are not finding an answer through the steps above, it can be helpful to have a third party decipher the issue. If you’re interested in getting an evaluation along with a clarifying treatment and home care recommendations, starting with a 30 minute Refresh Express Facial can be the answer.
As always, contact me with any skin issues you may be experiencing and I’lll do my best to help you find an answer. Everyone deserves clear glowing skin! Plus, with littles running around, no one has time for breakouts!
Breakouts do not have to be a part of your every day life. Even if they are being caused by pregnancy hormones or something outside of your control. There are a great many ways to gently calm the symptoms.