What’s Causing Your Acne? The Answers May Surprise You

Acne is the single most common skin condition in the United States. In fact, a study from Louisiana State University reveals that it affects nearly 50 million people every year. While it's easy to say that all you have to do is wash your face, the solution isn't always that simple - especially when you can't pinpoint the cause.

From your travel habits to your own diet, the causes behind acne can vary from person to person. If you're suffering from blemishes but aren't sure why, then here are some possible answers that may surprise you.

1. Hair care products.

Breakouts caused by hair products have become so common that they even have their own name: pomade acne. Pomade acne is triggered when styling products (like gel or hair spray) transfer oil onto your forehead, which is what causes the acne-causing bacteria to be trapped under your pores. Some formulas even contain drying ingredients like alcohol, thus stressing your skin further and causing your sebum production to work overtime.

2. Dirty sheets.

Just because your pillows and blankets look spotless, doesn't mean you shouldn't be changing them for weeks. Make-up, bacteria, and oil can build up within days. As such, you should be washing them at least once a week. Dermatologist Debra Jaliman even recommends being mindful of the type of detergent you use, as harsh fragrances can cause sensitive skin to break out. It's a necessary chore that you have to get used to, lest you want to wake up with new blemishes.

3. Ingesting too much sugar.

As discussed in our previous '5 Unhealthy Habits You Need To Ditch Today' post, excessive sugar intake is something you want to avoid. Not only is it bad for your body, it could be wrecking havoc on your skin too! This is due to sugar increasing your insulin levels, which then increases the risk of inflammation and flare-ups on your skin. Before you reach for that extra slice of cake to satisfy your sweet tooth, consider a healthier alternative. Registered dietician Rachel Fine suggests natural sugar sources like fruits.

4. Frequent traveling.

Whether you’re traveling somewhere warm or cold, abrupt changes in climate can trigger acne. And no matter how excited you are for your vacation, your skin is simply not used to the sudden environment shift, so it reacts by breaking out. There’s no real way to avoid acne in this situation, especially if you’re an avid traveler. Instead, doctor Rhonda Klein recommends adjusting your skin care routine accordingly. That means more hydration for lower temperatures, and perhaps some oil control for humid places.

5. Hormones.

Sometimes, the reasons behind a breakout aren’t always evident on the surface—they could be due to something more internal. True enough, an article on Parsley Health states that one of the root causes of cystic acne is often hormones. While it’s common among teenagers undergoing puberty, hormonal acne can happen to adults with fluctuating hormone levels too. Self confirms that hormonal acne typically happens to adults aged 20 to 40 - and even those past it aren’t in the clear. But how exactly can you beat hormones? Well, since you're dealing with something less superficial, you might want to consult your healthcare provider to see if you should make lifestyle changes (such as to your diet), or perhaps there is another underlying health issue to be addressed.

Whenever you’re hit with an unexpected breakout, take a few moments to assess your lifestyle choices and daily habits. Determining its potential causes can help you keep your acne under control and restore your skin to its best state.

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