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7 Surprising Causes of Acne

If you have acne-prone skin, you know that breakouts are the worst. You are not alone – 40 to 50 million Americans are affected by acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

What causes acne? It is primarily caused by the overproduction of oil and blocked hair follicles that do not allow the oils to exit the pores, leading to a clogged pore that fosters an environment for bacteria to grow inside. Although this is the basic way that acne develops, several factors and genetics can play into how your body reacts to environmental and hormonal factors, which can impact the severity of your acne. Below are some of the most surprising triggers of acne.

Using Too Much Spot Treatment

The overuse of benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and sulfur acne treatments can cause your skin to dry out, encouraging an excessive production of oil and blemishes. These ingredients have the potential to make your blemishes look worse because the active ingredients have the ability to slightly burn the top layer of skin if used too frequently.

The Food You Eat

Spicy foods frequently contain peppers and tomatoes, each of which contains acid lycopene, which is an irritant to some people. This ingredient can trigger breakouts by throwing off pH levels of the skin of sensitive people. Other foods including dairy and bread may also play into how your skin reacts.

Scrubbing Too Hard

Many people think the solution to getting rid of their acne is to scrub their skin hard, possibly hoping to penetrate deep into the pores to rid excess oils, but the more you scrub or use rough exfoliants, the worse your problem may get. When you scrub active acne, the bacteria simply get spread across the rest of your skin, exacerbating your condition.

Your Hair Products

Your shampoo, conditioner and styling products may contain ingredients that can seep into your pores, encouraging clogging and acne along your chest and hairline. These ingredients can include sulfates (which are cleansing agents), silicones and heavy moisturizing agents.

Mr. Sunshine

Sun is not healing to acne, contrary to popular belief. Excess sun exposure can actually make it worse as it causes your skin to dry out, thus triggering extra production of oils, leading to more pimples.

Your Post-Workout Routine

A workout in itself cannot cause acne, but failing to wash your face and body after a right after a workout can allow dirt, makeup and bacteria along with oil that was already present on your skin to mix with sweat, spreading it all around and settling in new pores. This can encourage breakouts.

Pore-Clogging Ingredients

Many lotions and cosmetic products can encourage the growth of acne. Mineral oil is found in many moisturizing lotions, which is known to cause pore blockage. Cosmetics and skin care products may also contain silicones which have the same pore-clogging effect. Look for products that are labeled “non-comedogenic” instead.