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13 Reasons Why You Are Breaking Out

Pardon the confusion, if any, but I will not be talking about why Hannah Baker did what she did naming all those kids - I refuse to go down that rabbit hole! But what I will tell you guys is the 13 reasons why you are breaking out.

Breakouts usually occur on the face, chest, upper back, and shoulders, the areas where our skin has the most oil glands. When a breakout occurs or acne flares, dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria are deposited in the hair follicle causing inflammation, swelling, and redness. Then, the pores become clogged and their contents are forced to the surface of the skin [1].

Breakouts might not seem like that big a deal, but they can ruin a good day for some (I am some). Whenever you need to look your best, like for a work presentation, date, they pop up.

Even worse, they can hurt and feel like they throb. Trying to disguise them just makes them stand out more - where's the lie right!

Here are 13 reasons why you are breaking out.

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Reason 1: Your skin is drying out

Skin that is dry in general is one of the leading causes of acne, regardless of whether the dryness is caused by genetics, your outdoor habits, or your skincare routine, such as overuse or underuse of certain products [2]. If you tend to apply spot treatments as soon as you detect a bump, you may cause your skin to dry out and be irritated, which may lead to a compromised skin barrier, resulting in breakouts.

Reason 2: Its your face mask

It is likely that you are dealing with mask acne - aka maskne - if you have noticed more breakouts on your chin, jawline, and cheeks after longer periods of wearing your cloth face mask. As a result of sweat, oil, bacteria, and humidity trapped beneath your mask, maskne leads to pimples, dryness, itching, and blotchiness, resulting from friction between your mask and your skin [3].

Reason 3: Not washing your face before bed

Even if you have barely moved from the couch, dirt, oil, and makeup accumulate on your skin during the day. In the event that you do not wash your face before going to bed, you will transfer all of that grime to your pillowcase, which will then be transferred back onto your face the following morning.

Reason 4: Using coarse face scrub

Scrubbing your face every day with a wash-cloth or coarse acne face wash may not only exacerbate current breakouts, but can also cause new breakouts. In addition to creating micro tears and inflammation on your skin, harsh scrubs can also interfere with your skin's protective barrier, leading to breakouts.

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Reason 5: Pore-clogging hair products

While butters and oils (such as jojoba oil, coconut oil, and plum oil) are excellent for softening and smoothing hair, they can potentially cause breakouts when absorbed into the skin and scalp [4].

Reason 6: Acne-causing ingredients in your products

In some cases, acne can be caused by the ingredients in your products clogging your pores. Mineral oil, for example, is a super-thick moisturising agent found in some moisturisers and creams. You may also experience breakouts from coconut oil if you are prone to acne. A number of products contain fragrances and sulphates (an oil-stripping surfactant) which can exacerbate breakouts already present.

Reason 7: Itchy skin from laundry detergent

Several chemicals and fragrances in laundry detergents may be harmful to sensitive skin. The residue left behind on your clothes or bath towels can cause breakouts on your face, back, butt, chest, etc., once you slip on your clothes or use your bath towels. You might have found your problem if you recently switched to a new detergent and noticed some breakouts [5].

Reason 8: It could be your favourite foods

Several foods contribute to acne, including tomatoes and peppers, which contain acidic lycopene. This can upset the skin's pH level and lead to breakouts around the mouth [6].

Some people react negatively to dairy, gluten, and other foods as well. Changes in your eating habits, such as going vegan and eating more carbs, or stopping being vegan after eating plant-based for a long period of time, could also be causing breakouts.

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Reason 9: Smoking damages your skin

When you smoke, you essentially suffocate your skin because you reduce the amount of oxygen that gets to it every time you light up a cigarette. Furthermore, smoking causes collagen and elastin to break down, resulting in wrinkles and enlarged pores. The carcinogens in smoke can also irritate your skin and dry it out, resulting in a build-up of oil and breakouts [7].

Reason 10: Stress and lack of sleep

As a result of stress, your body secretes stress hormones, such as cortisol, that can stimulate your oil glands to overproduce oil, leading to clogged pores. In addition, a lack of sleep may have a similar effect.

Reason 11: Sweaty workouts = Body acne

After a workout, your skin may be covered in sweat and grime, which is understandable. You may experience irritation and clogged pores if you do not rinse this off immediately afterward [8]. As a result, sweaty, sticky clothing becomes an ideal breeding ground for bacteria the faster you stay in them for a period of time.

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Reason 12: When you pick your face, you make your pimples worse

The temptation to pop whiteheads and blackheads is strong. But if you try to press out the blackhead or pus, you may push the bacteria deeper and result in worse breakouts by creating more inflammation and introducing bacteria to your open wound [9].

It has been shown that even touching active breakouts with your fingers, let alone interacting with them, can transmit bacteria onto your face, which can lead to even more acne breakouts.

Reason 13: Wait, is it really acne?

Your usual treatments may not be working if the pimples you're trying to treat aren't acne. You might have folliculitis or fungal acne (aka Malassezia folliculitis) if your breakouts look like small, itchy red or brown bumps that are roughly the same size around your hairline, forehead, chest, or back. It's an inflammation of the hair follicles and requires different treatment [10].

When you wash your face every day, keep your skin moisturised, do not pick or prod at your zits, and also follow a dermatologist's treatment plan, acne can usually disappear on its own.

Story first published: Wednesday, December 7, 2022, 18:10 [IST]
Read more about: break out pimple acne
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