Hidden Skincare Dangers. 8 Things that May be Making Your Acne Worse

Hidden Skincare Dangers. 8 Things that May be Making Your Acne Worse

Sometimes, skincare dangers are in the places we least expect. Read on to learn how to save your skin. 

The dirty towel

How many times do your use a towel on your face before you grab a new one? If your answer is anything other than "once," you might want to rethink your habit. Even if you only ever use the towel on freshly cleaned skin, there's a chance your skin isn't 100% free of bacteria. Any residual bacteria can transfer to the towel, and if you use that towel again you're putting it right back on your face. The point is, if you want to keep your face as clean as possible, and thus your skin as clear as possible, err on the side of safety and use a fresh towel every time.

The dirty brush

If you use makeup brushes on a regular basis, you should be washing them regularly to avoid bacteria on your face. Try wiping them with a gentle makeup remover cloth after each use, and deep clean them once a week. For the deep clean, mix some gentle shampoo into the brush head under lukewarm water. Rinse well and allow to air dry.

Old products

It is recommended that all color cosmetics such as eyeliners, blushes (both powder and gels), foundations, powders, lipsticks, bases, etc. are exchanged at LEAST every 6 months after being opened as ingredients in them may change due to oxygenation and become more prone to creating clogs, irritating and even causing allergic reaction.

Your hair (and what goes in it)

Dirty, greasy hair can contribute to your breakouts, as your hair is close to acne-prone areas. Make sure to also keep your hair brush clean for this same reason. Also, if you're using heavy shampoos, pomades, hairsprays or other hair products, especially ones with comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients, that may be exacerbating your acne.

The tanning bed (or too much sun)

There's an unfortunate, and dangerous, rumor that tanning, whether in a tanning bed or under the sun, will help to treat your acne. You might be convinced that the appearance of your acne gets better when you tan, but in reality, you are only making your acne worse. Tanning dries out the skin, so while your acne may be temporarily "dried up," dry skin ultimately produces more sebum (skin oil) to counteract the dryness. So then, you have dry, cracked skin and a whole lot of extra sebum on top of it: the prime conditions for acne. Tanning will only keep you stuck in the cycle of acne, not to mention increase your risk of skin cancer and lead to far more wrinkles than you'll get if you avoid tanning.


The bad ingredients

You might think you're free to use whatever you want on your skin, so long as it's noncomedogenic, but in reality you need to pay attention to every single ingredient in every product you use. Why? Put it this way: that ingredient listed in fine print on the back of your SPF moisturizer? You could be sensitive to it, even if you're not necessarily allergic to it, and any ingredient that you are sensitive to has the capability of making your skin dry, irritated and more prone to acne. If you suspect you might be sensitive to an ingredient or product, try removing it from your routine for a few weeks, and see what happens.  

Pay special attention to the ingredients in your SPF, as this is an often overlooked source of sensitivity, and many ingredients in sunscreen do more harm than good. The main chemical used in sunscreens is octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC), which was found to kill mouse cells, even at low doses. OMC is present in 90% of sunscreen products. Another common ultraviolet filter, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, has also demonstrated toxic properties.

Take a good look at your sunscreen label and beware of the following chemicals:

  •   Para amino benzoic acid
  •   Octyl salicyclat
  •   Avobenzone
  •   Oxybenzone
  •   Cinoxate
  •   Padimate
  •   Dioxybenzone
  •   Homosalate
  •   Phenylbenzimidazole
  •   Sulisobenzone
  •   Menthyl anthranilate
  •   Trolamine salicyclate
  •   Octocrylene  

Two ingredients that are better for you are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

The harsh scrub

Many skincare professionals recommend exfoliating with abrasive ingredients, for example, raw sugar, in order to remove all the dead skin cells. It's true this will effectively remove dead skin, but it will also sensitive the skin and possibly lead to more oil production, or even create abrasions into which bacteria and excess oil will accumulate, leading to more acne. Avoid these scrubs at all costs! Exfoliate gently, and never more than once a week.

The exercise mat

After a good exercise, you might be tempted to stretch, hit the showers and load up on protein and carbs before you go on with your day. But, there is one other thing you need to add to your post-workout routine: cleaning your exercise mat. Before you roll it up, wipe it down with a cleansing wipe or some soap and warm water. Your back-and any other body part that touches that mat-will thank you for it.

Keep your eye out for any other hidden dangers that might be exacerbating your acne--and feel free to sound off in the comments! 

With a Promise of Clear Skin,
Dr. A 

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