Five common habits that cause or worsen acne

Are you sick and tired of your blackheads, white heads, and pimples? Tell me all about it. I know how it feels to try lots of treatments and products, get so hopeful, and still end up where you started. It may be that your acne is a genetic pre-disposition, which means that there's not much that you can do to cure it except lessen the appearance and discomfort.

My ongoing battle with acne

But maybe, just maybe, you are doing a few things that you don't know causes or worsens acne. Acne is generally caused by over-production of oil, bacteria, and uncleared dead skin cells which clog pores. Using the wrong product will trigger acne, but sometimes it's what you do rather than what you use that causes the problem.

Here are five common habits that cause acne. Any of these sound familiar?

1. Over-drying your skin. It sounds like common sense to strip your face of oil to prevent more oil, so a lot of people use drying products such as harsh facial washes, alchohol-based toners, and abrasive exfoliators to get rid of the sebum. But it doesn't work that way. Over-drying your skin can cause it to produce more oil to compensate for the loss. Using gentle products to thoroughly clean your face ought to be enough!

2. Swimming in stress. Yes, it's not a myth. Stress makes our body produce more cortisol, a hormone which can increase sebum production. It may be one of the reasons women in their 20s and beyond still get acne. I'm not saying you should drop everything just so you can avoid those pesky pimples, but try to get as much rest as you can and avoid uneccessary work.

3. Getting your hair and hair products all over your face. Hair also gets oily and horribly dirty, so if you have your locks partying in your face all day, then that can really get the acne going. Tie it up or cut it short. Also be mindful of the products you use on your hair - that includes shampoo, conditioner, and styling products. You may think you've washed them off, but they can leave residue chock full of harmful chemicals on your face.

4. Sleeping on dirty pillow covers and sheets. Cloth is a magnet for dust and grime, just the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. It might not even look dirty, but the nasty stuff will be there if you use it a few times. Change your bed covers at least twice a week. Too inconvenient? Use a clean towel over your pillow and change it every night.

Sleep clean!

5. Touching your face all the time. Putting your chin on your palm, feeling your cheeks...these are unconscious tics that some people may have. Avoid it. Your hands are conduits for transfering bacteria, dead skin, and oil. Surprise surprise.

And that's it. If you do any of the things above, it's time to rethink those habits in order to prevent or at least lessen your acne.
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