The Unexpected Reasons Why You’re Breaking Out

Hint: One of them has to do with your beloved smartphone


Reason #1: You’re always on your phone

Now that most of us use our phones everywhere (during lunch, at work, while doing a number 2 in the toilet…), it comes as no surprise that our favourite gadgets are cesspools of nasty bacteria. When you answer a call or touch your face after sending a text, bacteria from the phone builds up on your cheeks, chin and mouth area, causing pimples.

What to do: Sanitise your phone — and tablet if you have that too — daily with anti-bacterial wipes (wipe across your phone screen gently to prevent scratches or liquids entering your device), or use this.

Reason #2: You just went on vacation

First off, plane rides can leave skin parched, causing it to overcompensate by producing more sebum. Plus, travelling to a country that has a drastically different climate compared to home can affect your skin condition.

What to do: Bring a gentle yet intensely hydrating moisturiser on board and apply periodically to keep skin looking fresh. If you’re on a long-haul flight, an overnight mask will keep you looking fresh no matter how little sleep you get. Sheet masks are also great to bring along to give your skin a treat after a long day of sightseeing and selfie-taking. 

Reason #3: You work out

Exercising is great for your skin in the long run, but if you’re the type to sit around for a bit before showering, your post-workout sweat, mingled with your natural oils, might be causing you to break out. Another scary tidbit: The gym equipment you use? Yeah, not the cleanest things in the world, considering dozens of people would have used them before you did.

What to do: Try not to exercise with makeup on, since makeup, plus all that sweat and oil, makes for clogged pores. If you’re OCD about germ-y equipment, sanitise your hands after every use, or just try to not touch your face at all. Head to the showers after your workout sesh as soon as possible, after you’ve let your body rest and cool down for 20 minutes. Use a gentle, calming cleanser to soothe the skin, then tone and moisturise.

Reason #4: You like to sleep

Don’t worry fellow sloths, it’s not the sleeping that’s causing you to break out - it’s what you’re sleeping on. Dirt, germs and sweat build up on your pillowcase if you don’t change it often enough. The nasties are then transferred onto your face and body at night while you roll around in bed.

What to do: Since your face would have the most contact with your pillow, change your pillowcase every two to three days, or alternatively just lay a cloth over it and swop that out for a new one every night. Also, try not to sleep with makeup on, no matter how tired you are!

Reason #5: You brush your teeth

We’re not saying you have to throw dental hygiene out the window to keep your skin smooth. If you’re experiencing acne around the mouth, your toothpaste might be the culprit. Toothpaste contains ingredients like fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfate and menthol, all of which can aggravate and dry out skin.

What to do: Always brush your teeth before washing your face to remove any residual toothpaste or germs. While many use toothpaste to treat spots, it’s actually not recommended (unless you’re super, super desperate) because it dries out and irritates your skin, which can then result in more pimples.

Photo: TPG Images

For more on beauty, click here. Or check out ELLE Review: IDS Diamond Dust Perfector or How Much Sunscreen Is Enough?

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