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6 Things You Didn’t Know Are Causing You to Break Out

When you look in the mirror, are you left feeling frustrated by all the acne that is popping up? If so, you aren’t alone. You may be wondering what on earth could be causing these breakouts. After all, you can’t truly stop breakouts if you don’t get to the root of the cause first. We’re sharing six things you didn’t know are causing you to break out to help you get on the path to clear skin. You might be surprised at what could be triggering your recent breakouts! 

1. Pollution

We hate to break it to you, but the environment is one thing that could be causing you to break out. Dealing with pollution in the air can cause uneven skin tone, increase the signs of aging, and could even lead to skin cancer. We can’t avoid all exposure to our environment, but the good news is that you can combat the effects pollution has on your skin if you’re diligent. It all starts with a good skincare routine.


To prevent pollution induced breakouts, you need to take the time to properly cleanse your skin at the end of every day. This helps to remove makeup, dirt, sweat, and any pollution that you’ve encountered. You can also use a moisturizer that is designed to protect your skin from toxins in the environment. Don’t forget to use sunscreen as well!

2. Stress

Stress has been known to cause a variety of issues within our bodies and that includes acne. If you’re struggling to determine what’s causing your breakouts, consider how stressed you’ve been lately. Has there been a lot weighing on your mind? And if so, are you dealing with it properly?

When you’re feeling stressed, your body has an increased level of the hormone, cortisol. This can trigger acne to appear on your face and other parts of your body. When acne appears, you are likely get frustrated and stressed out even more. It’s not good. Instead of letting the cycle take control over your life, find ways to destress. Regular workouts and meditation are perfect for eliminating stress.

3. Your Dirty Smartphone

We’re all attached to our smartphones these days, but have you ever thought to think about how dirty those touch screens actually are? Smartphones can harbor a lot of bacteria and this could contribute to breakouts.

One way to determine if your smartphone is the culprit is to pay attention to where the acne is cropping up on your skin. Are your latest zits located along the side of the face, where you rest your smartphone while chatting with friends and family? If so, that’s a good sign your phone isn’t all that clean. You can find smartphone safe disinfectant wipes to kill any bacteria on your phone, so be sure to do this regularly. It also helps to wash your hand well throughout the day.

4. Scrubbing Your Skin Too Hard

Many of us long to have softer, smoother skin and therefore try a variety of cleansing methods and products to help. However, this might be doing more damage than good. Using a washcloth, harsh exfoliants, or cleansing brushes can really irritate your face. Plus, if you already have active acne on your face, scrubbing inflamed areas will only make the problem much worse. It’ll aggravate the pimples you have and could spread bacteria across your face, thus causing more. Instead of something harsh, consider using a skin-friendly exfoliant like a gommage to gently exfoliate the skin.

5. Overusing Spot Treatments

Are you guilty of slathering on the spot treatments at the first sign of a pimple? If so, you aren’t alone. While it’s great to be proactive about treating acne, it is possible to be too aggressive with your treatments.

Many common topical treatments for acne contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Both of these ingredients are known to dry out the skin, and you don’t want to apply them too often. If the skin becomes too dry, your body will compensate by producing more oil, which can ultimately lead to more blemishes. Plus, overusing spot treatments can leave pimples irritated and even redder than they were before. If you do need to use a spot treatment, pick one that treats the breakout and soothes irritation simultaneously.

6. Your Hair Products Are Clogging Your Pores

When you wash your hair in the shower, you likely wind up with shampoo and conditioner running down your face, chest, and back. This could result in breakouts on your face and body due to the ingredients in your hair products. Many of them contain sulfates and silicones, which ultimately seep into your pores and can clog them.

To prevent this, your best option is to choose hair products that don’t contain ingredients that are harsh on your skin. Try to find sulfate and silicone free options. Alternatively, you can try to be careful not to get shampoo and conditioner suds all over your body. If you do, make sure you cleanse thoroughly to remove them.

Could one of these six things be the cause of your mysterious breakouts? Possibly! Take these tips into consideration to figure out what’s behind the acne that’s been cropping up on your face and body. Once you figure out the main cause, you’ll be able to help clear up your skin.

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Rachel Moffett
Rachel Moffett

Rachel is the blogger behind the lifestyle site, The Haute Notes. She has been blogging since 2009 and loves to use her passion for writing to share fashion advice, beauty tips, and glittery DIYs. Her site aims to help women live fabulous lives, no matter what their budget may be. When she’s not blogging, you will likely find her reading for her book club or having movie marathons with friends.

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