They can be frustrating right! Unfortunately we all go through some kind of acne breakout at some point in our lives and for some it can be on a regular basis - But what's causing them? Here are some potential reasons why you're breaking out...
Do you touch your face a lot?
This can be a big problem! If you find that you are 'picking' your skin/pimples this will no doubt spread your spots. Your hands are most probably not clean and then you start picking which is spreading bacteria and germs on to your face. Also, when you pick you are damaging the skin and also making your skin more prone to scarring compared to having a spot extracted properly (by us experts!) Try your best not to pick if you can, this will only worsen the problem.
Have you changed your diet?
A change in diet can also mean a change in your skin. Sometimes when we try and go on a more 'healthy' diet we start including foods that do not always suit our bodies. For example, some people change their breakfasts to yogurt and sugary granola instead of toast that they normally have. Something like this is not a bad thing, but it might mean that you're introducing more dairy into your diet than normal. Dairy can be a big cause of acne lesions - especially around the jawline. Is there anything that you have just introduced to your diet? Maybe it's not suiting you. The biggest culprits are dairy, wheat/gluten and processed sugar. Try your best to avoid these if you are suffering from breakouts and see if your skin changes at all or try and use dairy alternatives, gluten free products and enjoy fruit instead of sugary treats.
Have you been very stressed?
Changed your job? Busy at work? Getting married? Moving house? Stress at home? Any form of stress can bring you out in spots. I usually find clients who are very stressed and not sleeping well can develop breakouts around their chin and jawline. These spots can be big, hard and very sore to touch - like those horrid ones that almost hurt when you smile.
If you are going through stress it can be one of the hardest things to deal with - having somebody telling you to 'stress less' can be so frustrating, but learning to manage your stress is very important for your health more than just your skin. If it is short term stress with an end date (e.g. moving house, getting married etc) sometimes you just have to ride it out. If you find however that your are stressed long-term (chronic stress) it is very important to try to take steps to help yourself. Look into finding a local yoga or meditation class nearby, give yourself at least 30 minutes a week to 'zone out' and chill. It maybe going for a run or having a nice long bath with a book, but you MUST do something to help and hopefully, once you feel that you are more on top of things, your skin will calm down to.
Do you wash your face before bed?
Cleansing at bedtime is super important. I know sometimes it can feel like a chore, but it should take no more than 5 minutes and your skin will really appreciate it. I definitely recommend this if you wear makeup during the day too. Leaving old makeup on the skin will clog pores and cause breakouts - I know if I ever leave my makeup on I can guarantee I will wake up with a pimple! Give your skin a nice cleanse before bed with either an oil based cleanser or a very gentle (alcohol, SLS, mineral oil free) face wash. I'm sure you know by now I'm not the biggest fans of face washes, but do what works for you. If you're unsure come and see me in the clinic for a consultation and I can go through a thorough skin prescription for you.
Are you hormonal?
If you're due on your period or pregnant, your skin can quite easily breakout. This usually happens around the jawline and chin area. It can be a bit of a pain especially when it's once a month but maybe try taking a supplement to help balance your hormones (obviously check with your doctor if you are pregnant) but something like evening primrose oil and starflower (also known as borage oil) may help to reduce the breakouts - they helped me in the past.
Are you taking medication?
Medication can cause lots of skin problems, not just acne related either. Some meds can cause dryness, make your skin dull and also cause spots. Maybe speak to your doctor if you have suddenly had a breakout from taking medicines. Again, maybe it's something that you need to 'ride-out' if its only a short course of tablets, but if it is much longer term, maybe you could try looking into a different path or more of a herbal route. It may be more gentle on your body and also on your skin too.
How often are you changing your pillowcase?
I remember reading a while ago a very scary statistic that one in ten people change their bedsheets once a month! Eeeeeww! Gross! Bedding should be changed ideally once a week, at a push every other week, but never any longer than this. Our bedding can hold so many germs, sweat, skin cells, bacteria, dust and god knows what else! If you are struggling with acne breakouts, make sure your bedding is changed very regularly and your pillow cases even sooner. I would say minimum once a week but maybe twice if you are really breaking out. I always recommend clients to put a clean pillow case on their bed after a facial to keep their skin clean. I would also recommend washing pillows and duvets between 3 and 5 times a year if possible to rid them of bacteria and dirt. There are lots of anti-bacterial products that you can add to your wash to really give them a deep clean and to help prevent any nasty pimples!
I really hope that this post has been useful. Let me know in the comments any thoughts you have or questions regarding acne and I will do my best to answer them.
Thank you for reading!