Nobody likes breakouts. They look bad, feel bad, and if the condition gets serious enough, treatment can be fairly expensive. So it isn’t any wonder that people often jump to rid themselves of pimples as soon as they begin showing up.
Just browse the aisles of any drugstore, and you will find dozens upon dozens of products claiming to cure or reduce acne. Yet, no matter what you try, you can’t seem to shake those nagging, recurring breakouts. What’s going on?
As it turns out, there are six behaviors that can actually make your acne worse, and you may be engaging in them without realizing it.
1: You’re Transferring Bacteria to Your Face
Every time flu season rolls around, you’ll see plenty of reminders to wash your hands, and to avoid touching your face. This is for good reason. Your hands come into contact with all types of microbes, which can very easily be transferred to your face when you yawn, check your makeup, or just lean on your hand during a boring class.
But it’s not just the flu that can be transferred into your system. The bacteria that cause breakouts can be transmitted as well. The best thing you can do to combat germs is to adopt good handwashing procedures, wipe down your phone with antibacterial cleanser, always use clean towels and washcloths on your face, and throw out any makeup that is more than three months old.
2: You’re Over Washing
So, we just finished telling you that bacteria can cause breakouts. In that case an antibacterial face wash ought to diminish the chance of pimples, right?
When used as directed, antibacterial face wash can definitely help. The problem is you may be using it too frequently, and believe it or not, that can actually cause more breakouts.
Here’s something to remember: antibacterial or anti-acne face washes can be harsh. Yes, they get rid of the acne-causing bacteria, but they also strip your skin of its natural oils, and can leave your face feeling dry, or irritated. Irritated skin is more susceptible to acne in the first place, and that means you could start seeing more breakouts.
Your best bet here is to follow the directions on products carefully, and only use face washes as recommended.
3: You’re Squeezing and Picking Too Much
It can seem irresistible to squeeze or pick at breakouts on your face, but you’re almost certainly doing more harm than good. First off, remember what we said earlier about touching your face? Your fingers and fingernails could be crawling with bacteria, and you are introducing that bacteria onto your skin every time you fuss with a pimple.
Secondly, squeezing doesn’t always cause blackheads or whiteheads to come out – it can actually make them go further in. This can cause deeper damage to your skin, promote larger, more painful breakouts, and even result in scarring.
If you have a few breakouts, leave them be. But if you have numerous painful pimples on your skin, it’s probably time to see a dermatologist, as you may have more than a simple case of acne.
4: You’re Giving Up on Your Routine Too Quickly
Let’s see if this sounds familiar: you see an advertisement for some miracle acne treatment on TV, you pay loads of money for it, but after a week you don’t see any difference. You toss the whole thing in frustration, and try something else.
If this is your approach to skin care, you are not doing yourself any favors. Some routines require extra time to take effect. If you’re not giving your skin care products enough time to do their thing, you might be making your skin more irritated by continually switching between various products. Try sticking with one approach for at least a month before you decide whether or not you’re seeing any improvement.
5: You’re Using Hair Products Too Close to Your Face
Hair products are designed to work on your hair, not on your skin. The same formulation that seals out moisture, shapes your curls, or combats frizz might wreak havoc on your pores.
If you notice that your breakouts are happening along your hairline, it’s time to get a little more careful with your hair product application. Also, remember to thoroughly rinse any shampoo or conditioner from your hair while you’re in the shower. Leaving traces around your face can also cause breakouts.
6: You’re Skipping Moisturizer
People with acne tend to have oily or combination skin. Because of this, they don’t often feel that they need moisturizer, since their skin is producing enough oil as it is. This is not always the case. Some of the harsh products that are used to fight acne can strip all the oils from the skin, leaving it more prone to breakouts.
Here’s the bottom line: the less you mess with your skin, the better it will be. However, if you notice that your breakouts seem to go a step beyond a simple case of acne, it may be time to get a dermatologist involved. Having a professional diagnose and treat serious acne will be much more effective than you trying to do it at home. Otherwise, just adopt habits that prevent breakouts in the first place, rather than trying to treat them after they show up.