Although acne is a genetic condition, breakouts are often triggered by bad habits. Everything from diet to lifestyle can cause or exacerbate acne. In most cases, you may not realize you are doing some of these things, which is why it’s so important to understand the bad habits that can cause acne.
IN A NUTSHELL
Main Takeaways: Food, lifestyle, and even mindlessly touching your face can all cause acne breakouts, which is why it’s important to be aware of them.
Good to Know: Making even small changes, like drinking more water or remembering to wash your face after you’ve been sweating, can make an enormous difference in your skin health.
What Causes Acne and How to Prevent It
Although simple genetics have a lot to do with it, everything from hormones to pregnancy to medication can trigger acne. That said, there are many factors over which we actually do have control that can cause breakouts to happen.
Narrowing down the bad habits that cause acne is a good way to at least lessen your chances of developing it. Let’s talk about some of what causes acne and what you can do to prevent it:
Diet - It’s a fairly simple equation: eating a lot of sugar, oils, fats, and even dairy can trigger breakouts. Most foods that cause acne do so because they cause a rise in blood sugar. When that happens, you release more insulin. More insulin means your oil glands start to work overtime, making you much more prone to breakouts.
One of the best ways to prevent acne is to change your diet. Filling up on foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids is great for your skin health. Salmon, leafy greens like spinach, and nuts like almonds, are full of omega-3 fatty acids.
Touching your face - This is something most of us don’t even realize we’re doing; but in fact, we touch our faces many times a day. In doing so, we’re transferring everything from germs to dirt to oil to the surface of our skin, clogging our pores and encouraging breakouts.
Lack of water - Dehydrated skin can trigger acne by causing your skin to produce more oil to make up for the lack of hydration. The rule of thumb to make sure skin stays hydrated is eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day.
Lack of sleep - When you don’t get enough sleep, the body’s cortisol levels increase, causing an increase in oil production and resulting in clogged pores and breakouts.
Using products for the wrong skin type - Those with oily and sensitive skins are especially vulnerable to this issue. The first step is evaluating your skin type and then buying products that are right for it.
Using certain hair products - Shampoos, conditioners, and other hair care products can cause your face to break out, especially if you have bangs. If your skin keeps breaking out and you can’t figure out why, it might be your hair products. Hair products often contain chemicals and synthetic fragrances that can irritate your skin.
Stress - We realize that stress isn’t necessarily a habit, but sometimes engaging in behavior that causes stress is. Nothing will mess with your hormones like stress, and if you’re like most people, at some point, you’ve experienced breakouts during times of great stress. This is usually caused for the same reason a lack of sleep causes acne--your cortisol levels go up, causing an increase in oil production.
Not washing your face after you sweat - Whether you break a sweat from a workout, a hike, or it’s a result of another heat wave, it is important to be aware of how sweat can affect your skin. Keep a pack of facial wipes in your gym bag, or do a full cleanse after your hike or day out in the sun to keep your pores clean and clear.
We hope this article helps illuminate some of the reasons and habits that can trigger acne breakouts. Thankfully, these are all solvable problems– and for the most part, the solutions take minimal effort.