Breakouts are the bane of our existence—and just when we thought we could blame it on a cocktail of stress, hormones, and a less-than-wholesome diet, we've come to find that flare-up dangers are lurking everywhere.
From your precious headphones that make commuting a breeze to the cell phone that's glued to your hands at all times, here are the blemish-causing things of daily life that you should be wary of:
If you often find youself with red, rash-like bumps around your mouth, it could be the result of a condition called perioral dermatitis. It's not completely proven, but it's said to be an allergy to the fluoride found in toothpaste. "People who brush their teeth with their right hand will invariably develop more perioral dermatitis on the left side of the mouth, so if it's more concentrated there, it might be a sign that it's from your toothpaste," explains celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau. To fight it, try a fluroide-free tooth paste (we love Sensodyne Classic Toothpaste) for a couple of weeks to see if it clears up.
2. Cell Phones.
They're not a cause of breakouts per se, but cell phones have an immeasurable amount of bacteria festering on them, which could cause your existing problem areas to become inflamed. "The bacteria exacerbate acne by getting into the pores," says Rouleau. To clean your phone, take a wet wipe that does not contain alcohol or bleach and wipe the phone thoroughly. Repeat daily or as necessary.
3. Over-the-Ear Headphones.
Much like your cell phone, you take your headphones everywhere and they're collecting tons of bacteria in the process. Plus, by their very nature, they're rubbing against your skin when you put them on and take them off. To keep unsavory transfers to a minimum, clean your headphones daily with an anti-bacterial wipe.
While sleeping 8 hours a night could be great for your health, sleeping on our pillowcases can be detrimental to our complexions. "When we toss around at night, all the oils and dirt from our hair soak into those sheets and can transfer onto our faces," explains Rachel Nazarian, M.D., at Schweiger Dermatology Group. "If you're an on occasional drooler, the enzymes in saliva are incredibly irritating to skin." To help prevent breakouts, change your pillowcase as often as possible to prevent dirty buildup.
5. Significant Others.
Love is pain holds true even for skincare. In fact, your significant other—especially if they happen to be a bearded fellow—could be your worst skin offender. "A scruffy beard on your boyfriend can cause beard burn if it's rubbed on your face, irritating delicate facial skin, and causing red tender skin and acne lesions," says Nazarian. "The same is true for the transfer of their facial sweat, oil, and dirt onto your skin." By no means should you sacrifice your love life, but be sure to calm and clean your skin afterwards with a gentle hydrating cleanser.
6. Hand Cream.
Slathering on hand cream is a common ritual for many women. Alas, the rich formulas may be doing wonders for your hands, but are wreaking havoc on your skin when you touch your face. "You may notice an increase in clogged pores on your face, warns Rouleau. Don't give up hand creams all together, but know that unless necessary, you shouldn't be touching your face at all. That's skincare 101.
A spritz of your signature scent is integral to your beauty routine, but artificial fragrances can cause irritation to your skin—especially if you're spraying it directly on yourself. To avoid remnants ending up your face, spray your perfume neatly on your wrists, then rub them against your neck to ensure there's no excess. You should also be mindful of the fragrances that are added to your laundry detergents and fabric softeners as they can cause inflammation as well.
8. Sports Headbands.
If you're an exercise buff and look to tight headbands to keep your fly-aways at bay, you might be putting yourself at risk for acne flare-ups. Dermatologists call this kind of breakout acne mechanica and it's caused by pressure or irritation on the forehead. "Sweat and lots of bacteria accumulate on gym-items, so keep them loose, and wash them between workouts to decrease the chance of new pimples," says Nazarian.
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