When it comes to beauty emergencies, breakouts are definitively code red. Whether it’s a cluster of small bumps that sprung up overnight or just one large, inflamed red pimple (the worst), breakouts can make even the calmest and serenest human subsequently freak out. By now, we know certain triggers like dairy, sugar, or stress can lead to surprise bumps, but what about cases where you’ve been eating like Gwyneth Paltrow and your skin is still freaking out? Ah, you see, there are secret culprits that may be causing your breakouts—and it’s time they were brought to light. From your significant other to your sheets, keep scrolling for five weird (but real) factors that could be causing your breakouts.
Your bed is a place of rest—a safe, happy place. Except, well, it could be the reason you keep waking up with angry red bumps on your face. Here’s the thing: The laundry detergent you wash your sheets with could be irritating your skin and causing you to break out. Most of the time, the artificial fragrances and harsh cleansing agents are to blame, in which case the solution is simple: Switch to a fragrance-free detergent that’s been dermatologist tested and approved for sensitive skin.
So your Tinder date turned into a full-blown relationship. We’re happy for you, we really are, but you may want to research a little something called consort acne—it literally means acne caused by your partner. Sharing towels, sheets, and pillowcases might be a big step for your relationship, but it also exposes you to additional facial oils that are foreign to your skin and can clog your pores. The result? Breakouts. Sadly, kissing can also contribute to consort acne. To prevent it, simply avoid sharing towels and pillowcases. As for the kissing, there’s not much to do there, since kissing less is something we’d never suggest. You can, however, see if your partner uses any specific face products (like beard oils, face oils, perfume, or moisturizers) that may be causing the breakouts.
The water coming out of your tap and shower faucet is filled with things like minerals and chlorine—all of which can dry out your skin and cause irritations like acne or eczema. If you live in an area with hard water or excessively chlorinated water, consider investing in a showerhead filter that removes the majority of chlorine, like T3’s Source Showerhead Shower Filter ($130). You may find that your skin calms down immediately.
We’re forever grateful for the invention that is the air conditioner (holler, 90°-plus L.A. summers), but cranking it up to high isn’t doing your skin any favors. Why? Blasting your face with air conditioning might feel amazing on a hot day, but it will actually dry out your skin over time. Your skin will then go into overdrive and produce more oil, which can ultimately lead to more breakouts. Keep the air conditioner use to a minimum, and counteract the drying effects by using a hydrating serum or sleeping with a humidifier instead.
Aren’t acne-fighting products supposed to be helping your pimple problem? Well, yes, but if you’re pairing them with a heavy-duty cleanser that leaves you with that squeaky-clean feeling, it can actually cause skin irritation and inflammation, according to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mt. Sinai Hospital in NYC. “In reality, harsh cleansers can damage your skin barrier by disrupting your skin’s pH and stripping lipids from your outer skin layer,” he warns. “Acne medications can be irritating, so pair them with gentle skin cleansers that repair and protect your barrier. Otherwise, your breakouts may end up worse, rather than better.” We like Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser ($18) for a gentle clean, along with these cleansers that clean without stripping.
Were you surprised by any of these breakout causes? Tell us below!