The Fix: Hidden causes of Breakouts
Are you having trouble identifying the cause of your breakouts? Aside from hormonal imbalance and dietary changes, there could be some simple fixes you can make that could help get rid of those persistent clogged pores and breakouts for good! Before you go down the often frustrating road of identifying hormonal or dietary triggers, first look at your daily habits and products to see if they might be the cause of your breakouts.
HERE ARE 5 HIDDEN CAUSES
OF BREAKOUTS YOU MIGHT BE MISSING:
USING DIRTY MAKEUP BRUSHES
How often do you clean your makeup brushes and sponges? The accumulation of makeup, oil, and dirt on brush bristles and sponges can become a breeding ground for bacteria. This in turn can get into pores and causing congestion and pimples.
Wash your makeup tools regularly. Every week, wash your brushes and sponges using using a mild soap. To clean, massage a small amount of cleanser over bristles and sponges. Rinse thouroughly, squeeze out all excess water, reshape bristles, and let air dry.
COCONUT OIL IN YOUR SKINCARE AND MAKEUP
Just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s right for your skin. Unfortunately, coconut oil has made its way into many natural skincare and makeup products. Coconut oil is very moisturizing and has some anti-bacterial properties, but it can also cause clogged pores and breakouts. When I first started using natural products, even though the overall condition of my skin improved, I noticed clogged pores developing around my chin and mouth. After looking at all ingredients listed on my products, coconut oil became the common denominator.
Read your skincare and makeup labels and avoid using any products that contain coconut oil (including cleansers and hair products). If you’ve noticed persistent clogged pores and small pimples around your face, stop using all products that contain coconut oil for at least 2 weeks to see if you notice an improvement. Look for products that contain non-comedogenic oils instead like jojoba oil, hemp seed oil, and argan oil.
OVER EXFOLIATING WITH FACIAL BRUSHES
The popularization of Clarisonic spin brushes and other facial brushes have made cleansing very easy. If you’re regularly using a Clarisonic with a exfoliating scrub though, you might be over exfoliating your skin. Excessively scrubbing your face can remove the skin’s protective barrier that locks in moisture and keeps bacteria out. This in turn can lead to tight dehydrated pores that trap dirt and bacteria, leading to congestion and pimples. And if you have very red and inflamed breakouts, physically scrubbing your skin can rupture pimples and spread even more bacteria around the face.
Use a spin brush with a gentle SLS free cleanser that doesn’t contain exfoliating beads, and if you have very active breakouts, avoid using facial brushes all together. To help clear your pores, opt to use an alpha hydroxy acid serum like lactic or glycolic acid 1-2x per week instead of using a physical scrub. You can also try gently exfoliating your skin with a dry brush in the morning.
INGRIDIENTS IN YOUR HAIR PRODUCTS:
If you’ve noticed breakouts around your hairline, neck shoulders and upper back it could be ingredients in your styling products. Many hair products contain potentially pore clogging ingredients like mineral oil, coconut oil, lanolin, silicone, and cocoa butter.
Avoid using the ‘suspect’ product for a a week to see if you notice an improvement. If you don’t want to part with your beloved hair products, then make sure all product residue is thoroughly washed off of your face after application, and keep your hair away from the problem areas, especially while sleeping.
MAKEUP REMOVER AND EYE PRODUCTS
You may have noticed hard, white bumps forming around or between your eyes, called milia. These could be from an oil you’re using as a makeup remover, or an under eye cream or concealer that’s too rich for the delicate area. Pores are much smaller around the eyes and can be easily clogged by certain ingredients that are too rich, like coconut oil, silicone, and cocoa butter.
Use light products, like sweet almond oil, to remove eye makeup and opt to use a eye serum or gel instead of a rich eye cream. Milia can be very difficult to remove and may require a professional’s help. You can also gently exfoliate between the eyes and under the eye area using a fruit enzyme peel or alpa hydroxy acid to help clear the pores and smooth the area.
It’s also worth noting that when trying new products, always test one at a time (waiting 1-2 weeks before introducing the next one) so that you can easily identify if a product is causing your skin to react and breakout.
So the next time you’re faced with a mysterious breakout, check to see if the culprit can be fixed using some of these simple tips. A little detective work can go a long way!